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1939 Hamilton "Otis" Reverso

by ADAM HARRIS

17 Jewels, 980 caliber mechanical movement. Serial No. G233838 dating 1939. Inside the back case is marked: US Pat 1,930,416 – Hamilton Watch Co. Lancaster, PA. On pulling that patent I was astounded to see it is a Chauvet original patent on ‘reverso’.

 

It was first granted in France in 1931, second granted in Switzerland in February 1933, and finally the United States in October 1933. For the invention rights, Chauvet was paid by Jaeger a one-time fee of 10,000 Swiss francs in addition to 2.5 francs for each watch sold. This original contract was signed by Chauvet, Wenger, and De Trey (acting on behalf of Jaeger-Lecoultre who made the case.)

 

This document stated that movements could ONLY be supplied by Tavannes (see below), Movado, or Jaeger-LeCoultre. Hence, Hamilton was forced to cease manufacture.

 

Now based on those patents Jaeger launched their ‘Reverso’ in 1931.  Indeed, at that time Jaeger-Lecoultre NEVER had a movement to fit into the watch; therefore, the first models used a ‘Tavannes’ movement, because it had NO seconds hand. It was NOT until 1933 that Jaeger launched its own movement (Cal. 411-11-UC/USC).  The ‘USC’ in 1933 has a second sweep hand.

 

Hence, a lawsuit: Jaeger (reverso) versus Hamilton (OTIS).

 

Based on the fact that Jaeger had been using this patent since 1931 with the name ‘reverso’ and it had paid Chauvet ‘invention rights,’ the company successfully sued Hamilton, who after three years withdrew its model.

 

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