Minerva Chronograph Cal.13-20 CH 18ct c1950


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Carefully Owned and Lightly Used Example

Wonderful 18ct Yellow Gold Case with Beautiful Ornate Lugs

Correctly Signed Watch Case, Movement & Dial

Original, Unrestored and Untouched Two-Tone, Twin Register Dial

Oversized 18ct Yellow Gold 36mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Crown

Spectacular Minerva Chronograph Cal.13-20 CH Antimagnetic Movement

New, High Quality Black Alligator Strap and Plain Gold-Plated Buckle

Hardwood Presentation Box Included

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: M1557
Price £3,950


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Minerva is storied Swiss watch manufacturer, famous especially for producing chronograph movements and today part of Montblanc in the Richemont group. In 1908 “Robert Frères Villeret” began with the production of chronographs and stopwatches. The first Minerva calibre was a pocket watch movement with cylinder escapement. The company named each major movement sequentially, starting with Calibre number 1 and continuing through number 55 in the classic era.


Here we have wonderful example of a large, 36mm, 18ct yellow gold Minerva Chronograph in original, unrestored and untouched condition. Having just received a full overhaul and service from our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker, this watch is now perfectly suitable for everyday use and will make a wonderful addition to any collection.

The Dial

Even though this watch is over 70 years old, the very clean original twin register to-tone silver-white dial has never been restored or retouched. Original unrestored dials on watches of this age are subject to damage from a combination of sunlight, heat, condensation and pollutants which almost always causes fading, staining and oxidisation in the form of spotting or pitting. Other accidental damage often occurs when servicing a watch in the form of scratches and other marks. However, here the dial is in absolutely wonderful condition and one of the very best we have seen on a watch of this age. As you can see in the images, there are very faint signs of some spotting, but this is evenly spread and very hard to see with the naked eye.

This twin register chronograph dial with beautiful stud hour indices is complemented by the original unrestored yellow gilt ‘leaf’ style hands, which are in wonderful condition. The outer scale in black shows a Tachymeter scale, used in conjunction with the chronograph function to measure speed, or distance travelled. The central, time-only ring uses stud hour indices in yellow gold.  The dial has a highly technical look and the overall style  is beautiful and typical of the period.

As with most chronographs, the left-hand dial is used to continuously read seconds, whether or not the centre seconds hand/chronograph function is operating. The right-hand register records elapsed minutes while the chronograph is running. This, and the centre seconds hand are started as soon as the top pusher is pressed. These are then stopped on this movement by a press of the bottom pusher, to record the elapsed time in seconds and minutes. Both hands are then reset to zero by a single press of the bottom pusher. Each of the pushers works perfectly with a lovely smooth action.

Please note, it is not necessary or wise to leave the chronograph function running while the watch is in normal use, ie simply while wearing the watch. This is because the chronograph function is designed for measuring small time intervals and to leave this running, will cause undue wear on a chronograph movement.

This dial is simply signed ‘Minerva’ and Antimagnetic’.

As this dial is in original and unrestored, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.

Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.

The Movement

This beautiful watch carries the very high grade Calibre 13 – 20 CH, 17 jewel antimagnetic movement, which as can be seen is in sparkling condition.

This movement was also specified to be antimagnetic, to withstand the magnetic flux within the cockpit of jetliners flying over the North Pole. Prior to advances in the design of antimagnetic movements, watches often became erratic or effectively inoperative, during or following exposure to magnetic fields. This typically happened if a watch came too close to electrical equipment or machinery and even a 1950s radio or TV could render a movement inoperative. This was a major issue for watch manufacturers, particularly prior to the introduction of non-magnetic hairsprings.

The movement is in stunning condition and has been fully overhauled and serviced by our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker. This involves the complete dismantling of the movement to each of its component parts, ultrasonic cleaning, microscope inspection and then careful reassembly and oiling, ready for final testing and careful calibration.

Each of the chronograph functions operates perfectly and the centre seconds hand resets itself instantly on pressing the bottom pusher. The normal timekeeping function is running perfectly, having been calibrated and timed at +12 seconds per day, which is truly outstanding for any watch of this age and the watch also has a power reserve of 40 hours in its fully wound state. The movement is correctly signed ‘Minerva Watch Co’, ‘Swiss’ and ‘17 Jewels’ and carries the Calibre number 13-20 CH.

With care and with regular servicing, say every 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run quite happily for many decades to come. Our watchmaker commented that he found the movement to be especially clean and in excellent condition. We are therefore more than happy to offer this watch with our 12 months’ warranty* and to assist with servicing again in the future.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.

The Watch Case

The heavy 18ct yellow gold case is of a two-piece design and at 36mm, excluding the unsigned crown, is a very large-sized watch for the period. It is totally immaculate from every aspect.

This watch case has been carefully inspected for fatigue marks and there are none. It has simply received a light clean and gentle hand-polish, simply to remove any tarnish and to bring back to the almost new condition you see here. Even under close examination, there are no scratches, dings or signs of wear, visible to the naked eye which leads us to suspect that this watch has seen little, if any, use.

The case-back is of full thickness and has never been inscribed. The interior of the case-back is all correct and is signed ‘Minerva Watch Co’ and ‘Swiss’ and carries Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks and the case serial number 698129.

Please note – as ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap and Buckle

The strap fitted is a high quality black alligator strap with a plain gold-plated buckle. If a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry Tan, Conker, Dark Brown and Black in stock and in plain padded leather, or crocodile skin or lizard skin. For a wider selection, please take a look at the wonderful choice of straps offered by our suppliers Watch Obsession here. We will be pleased to order and fit the strap of your choice, within 24 – 48 hours.

Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to c1950.

Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.

The high quality hardwood presentation box in the photographs is included.

Payment and Delivery

If you would like to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and, unfortunately, out of our control.

We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges; however, attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.

For those who happen to visit London on occasion, we are, of course, more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and hand your watch directly to you there.

As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no-quibble sale or return policy.

In Conclusion

A fascinating and truly exceptional vintage Minerva Chronograph in 18ct yellow gold. Wonderful to wear, treasure and enjoy, this will be practical for everyday use, should you so wish.  This watch carries a great deal more style, individuality and panache than a new watch and to buy one of the same quality today would be many times more expensive. If regularly serviced, this will last many more decades to come.

However you may wish to view this watch, as each year goes by and the world market grows ever larger, the limited supply and high demand for fine vintage gold watches will mean prices will inevitably climb ever higher!

A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We, therefore, consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.

Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.

We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.

Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.

Thank you.