Croton. A Stainless Steel Clamshell Chronograph with Tachometer and Telemeter Scales
Case No: 886xxx
Mechanical jeweled movement, two-tone silvered dial, luminous Arabic numerals, luminous hands, railway minute divisions, outer telemeter scale in black and tachometer scale in blue, two engine-turned subsidiary dials for 30 minute register and constant seconds, circular case, polished bezel, two round chronograph buttons in the band, case back secured by four screws, case, dial, and movement signed
The Croton Watch Company was founded in 1878 in Switzerland as a family-operated watchmaking business. By the 1940’s, the company was producing automatic wristwatches, advertised as watches “for men who forget to wind watches”. At the same time, another Swiss company, Nivada, had success producing chronographs and dive watches (often with a Valjoux ebauche). Nivada wanted to expand to selling in the United States; however, the company was unable to sell under their own name due to the similarity between their name and that of Movado. Nivada made a deal with Croton to distribute their watches under the Croton Watch Company. Today, watches can be found either under the Nivada name, Croton name, or both.
The present watch features a “clamshell” case, invented and patented in 1936 by Schmitz Freres & Co. This waterproof case features four screws behind the lugs to compress the front and back of the case, and was first used by Fortis in 1937, and in the US by Gallet in 1938. Gallet developed the first waterproof chronograph using this case, called the Clamshell. With the success of the Gallet Clamshell, many other brands began using this type of case, and are often referred to as “clamshells” by collectors. The use of clamshell cases became less frequent with the development of the screw back, which was a better solution for waterproof watches, giving equal pressure around the case back.
The present watch is an attractive example of a classic 1950’s two-register chronograph with a clamshell case. With an eye-catching two-tone dial, and sharp well-preserved case, it commands an overall presence of quality and character.