MEN'S VINTAGE WATCHES

Men's vintage 1960's serviced Ricoh all stainless steel automatic 21 jewel wristwatch

$70.00

Shipping to United States: Free
  • Details
    You may not be aware of Ricoh watches but, for a time, they were a strong competitor to Seiko and Citizen in the automatic watch business.

    Manufactured in the 1960's, the all stainless steel case measures 37.3 mm across, excluding crown and 40.2 high and features hidden 18mm lugs and surrounds a white dial with light green subtle sunburst background, once luminous silver hour and minute hands, silver center sweep, large luminous green numbers, black outer chapter and day of the week, day and date windows at 3 o'clock.

    Please note: the button quick set date button does not work but the date can be set by rotating the crown in a clockwise direction until set and then turn the crown counterclockwise to set the day of the week.

    The automatic wind 21 jewel, Japanese movement has been recently professionally oiled, serviced, and adjusted, sets and winds smoothly, is running strong, and keeping good time.

    Please remember that all automatic watches must be hand wound or shaken for a time to apply pressure to the mainspring to start it running when wound down. Once running, while you remain active, the motion of your wrist will continue to spin the rotor to wind it

    It has a screw down back and has been matched with a new Flex-On, black rubber 18 mm strap with stainless buckle.

    STOCK CODE: R-5

    About the Brand
    It appears that, to understand the origins of Ricoh as a watch manufacturer, you must be familiar with both the founder, Kiyoshi Ichimura [or Itimura, in fact, BOTH spellings are used even in the same translation!], and a company called Takano Co., Ltd.


    Takano was in existence as a watch company (or brand, really) only 4 years and 11 months. It's root, according to the Hokkaido Watch Museum was a "High field metallic goods factory" ["high field" seems to be alternatively translated as "industrial"] established to manufacture metallic clocks such as alarm clocks in a "High field (or "Industrial") clock factory" established for the "multiplication clock manufacturing" [mass production of clocks?] in 1899 (and 1913, but no explanation is given of the 2nd year). They amalgamated in 1921 becoming a "High field (Industrial) clock metallic goods factory". Then, the metal goods section was split off April 23, 1938. The Ricoh Fact Book 2006 says "Apr. 1938 - Founded Takano Seimitsu Kogyo Co.,Ltd."

    It must be noted that the word "clock" seems to be used often as the translation for "watch", so it's possible that they are really talking about watches, or possibly BOTH clocks and watches, here.

    Takano was also involved in the production of weaponry from 1938 through and after the end of the Korean War (until 1956).

    Movements for men's and women's watches are purchased from the "[rako-]" {also written there as "RAKO"} (maybe they mean Rado??) Co. in West Germany, to make the best use of equipment for producing munitions (after Korean War ends), and production [though maybe they mean, "development" and/or "pre-production"?] of wristwatches begins in February, 1957. [Ed Note: If anyone does know what this "RAKO" Co. is, feel free to chime in. I'll continue searching & will update w/ the correct name if I find it]

    In July, 1957, a technical tie-up was accomplished with Hamilton Clock of the United States .

    "The wristwatch No.1" of Takano Co., Ltd. (so-called [rako-] type) and "2000 series" are put on the market on September 10, 1957.

    In October, 1959 & afterwards, a thin hand-wind watch, thinnest in the world (as implied in the Hokkaido text), "Chateau", is put on sale. The technology was shown around the world. However, Takano suffered damage of 110 million yen & a one month shutdown of the factory from the Ise bay typhoon in September, 1959. In addition, the achievement [Chateau] suffers due to the immaturity of the sales force. The Chateau used an increased diameter [I interpret the text to mean an increase from 10.5 to 11.5 (lignes) in the Chateau], but thinner, movement from the older models. In a discussion with the Technical Director of Ricoh Watch [see below under Ricoh history section], it is said that the intent of that decision was to improve the "maintenance accuracy" of the movement. Observation of examples of these posted on the net show the dial to be simply labeled as "Chateau" without the "Takano" name (but with an applied logo), but the caseback is labeled as "Takano Precision" which is used as the brand on the dials of other models. Note that the movement inside of the Chateau has a different architecture than the Precision. See links provided below for examples on the net at the time of writing of this article.

    Takano faces the threat of bankruptcy around the summer of 1961.

    On May 8, 1962, Kiyoshi Ichimura assumes the position of the president of "Reason laboratory optical industry (present Ricoh)", and the president of Takano Co., Ltd. Or, as another translation says, "May 1962, appointed President and CEO of Precision Industrial Co., Takano." He changes the name of the company to "Ricoh Watch Ltd." on July 26 of the same year [or from the Ricoh Fact Book, "Ricoh Tokei Co., Ltd." in August '62]. "Tokei" is Japanese for watch. The brand, "Takano", is scheduled to disappear after a run of 11 months & four years. Based on the Sept. 1957 date given as start of public sale of Takanos, this brings us to August of 1962. "Presently" [at least up to the date of posting in the Hokkaido Watch Museum site & the 2006 Ricoh Fact Book], the company is known as Ricoh Elemex Corporation - that name change made in April, 1986. The 2006 Fact Book shows the following profile for it:

    Ricoh Elemex Corporation
    2-14-29 Uchiyama, Chigusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-0075, Japan
    (81) 52-734-0301
    (81) 52-734-0320
    Founded: April 1938
    Products: OA equipment, clocks, watches, and educational equipment

    Following are some pictures of a Takano model, though I don't know exactly which one, courtesy of Hokkaido Watch Museum. These were dead stock in the safe of the Umezawa clock shop closed on May 25, 2005 after a 99 years history.


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