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Rone Watches: Nothing to do with Rolex

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I came across a sad remnant of a watch the other day, marked "RONE" and "Swiss Made." It was also designated on the dial as a 17 jewel incabloc model and had a cushion-shaped chromed case with screw-on back. I thought that I would lucky to find out anything about this brand; a second failure in a week as I had also been looking, unsuccessfully, for information about watches marked, "Vinrex." Fortunately, I did manage to come upon references to Rone watches, in addition to quite a few pictures of said watches. So here is my meagre offering on the subject

Rone watches were listed (by Pritchard) as Rone Watch Co. SA, Bole (circumflex on 'o'), Switzerland, and the same source mentions that they were listed again from 1966-1973. Rone watches were seemingly in production from the 1940s until the middle of the 1970s, and I have found references to examples that can be accurately dated for 1946, 1957, 1966, and 1970. A variety of models are found branded, Rone, including some in solid gold, which can have the maker's mark "RWC" or "RWCo" for Rone watch Company. In connection with the designation, RWC, there has been some confusion with Rolex but I can categorically state that Rone watches are not related to Rolex in any way.

The Rone Watch Company also used the brand names, Ronette and Ronet, and it appears that Rone Watch Company did not use its own movements. In the case of two early models, the Rone Seven and the Rone Sportsmans, the movement is marked for Rone with the brand and model names. In the mid-1960s, Rone was certainly using an automatic caliber by Anton Schild for at least some of its watches.

Rone Watch Company has been called a typical "assembler" of watches, and it is probably the case that Rone was not an in-house manufacturer of watches or movements. Nevertheless, the number and variety of surviving Rone branded watches bears testament to a firm that was fully engaged in producing watches for the general public over a long period of time, and it probably had input into the design and componentry decisions of its products.

Having stated what we know about the Rone Watch Company, let us look at some pictures to get some idea of the product range before forming some sort of conclusion:

 

 

Nine-carat gold rectangular Rone gents handwind wristwatch with hallmarks for Rone Watch Company, 1946, and powered by a 15 jewel caliber 812 Swiss movement (pic from images.antiquesatlas.com):

Vintage_9ct_gold_Rone_15_wrist_as170a511

 

 

Gold-cased Rone Sportsmans hand-wind wrist watch from about 1950 (pic from s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com):

774-2013215183023_original.jpg

 

 

a gold-plated Rone Sportsmans wrist watch with 31mm case, lumed hands and numbers, and Swiss hand-wind movement (pic from images.antiquesatlas.com):

Gents_1950s_Rone_Sportsmans_wa_as170a141

 

15 jewel movement from a Rone Sportsmans (pic from thumbs.worthpoint.com):

vintage-rone-sportsman-15j-cushion_360_a

 

 

Rone stainless steel automatic gents wristwatch from the late period of production, the 1970s (pic from brittons-watches.co.uk):

1438.jpg

 

 

Rone LCD digital watch from about the mid to late 1970s (pic from thumbs.ebaystatic.com):

mZpKr1IxZmIvpSpSd1NR4Fw.jpg

 

 

Rone gold-cased 17 jewel Incabloc hand-wind gents wristwatch, c.1955-60 (pic from walshbros-jewellers.co.uk):

vintage-watches-rone-mechanical-gold-wat

 

 

Rone early-mid 1970s gents hand-wind chronograph wristwatch with gold-plated case, screw-down back, and tritium lume. The two registers are for running seconds and minutes (pic from brittons-watches.co.uk):

1437.jpg

 

 

Elegant Rone gents 9-carat gold hand-wind wristwatch hallmarked for London, 1957 and with a 33mm case (pic from i.ebayimg.com):

$_57.JPG

 

 

Chrome plated Rone hand-wind caliber 1057 17 jewel wristwatch with sunburst dial and designated as being "waterproof." Early 1950s (pic from i.ebayimg.com):

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

I have heard it posited that there may be a British link with regard to Rone Watch Company, perhaps because the gold examples seem often to be hallmarked for London. What is clear from the extant examples is that Rone Watch Company had a long life and had even started producing quartz watches before it went out of business. The product range of the firm was quite varied and in terms of quality parameters, these were quite wide. Indeed, I must apologise for not showing any pictures of Rone ladies' watches, which were no doubt produced right through the life of the company.

I would certainly suggest that Rone watches would make a nice collection, being representative of popular Swiss watches from just after the War until the quartz crisis had taken hold and was starting to shake the Swiss watch industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good read Honour.....lot of research :thumbsup:

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Great article, I came looking for info on a charity shop find and as usual you did not disappoint. I think this is a gents watch and I thought id add the image to your article if that's ok....

its running to time and I love the Hands and dial, They have a nice quality to them imho.. I'm Guessing 1940s...

2017-11-14_12-54-35

 

Edited by Spandy
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Rone was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1944 and was raised in Venezuela. She later attended Barnard Collegeand Rutgers University Law School. She was an outspoken critic of the development of the oil infrastructure in East Africa, which she believes often comes at the expense of the local population, rather than to their benefit.

Rone begins Human Rights investigations, and has overseen investigations in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and been involved with monitoring human rights in 24 different countries.

Rone died on July 29, 2015 in Washington, D.C. from ovarian cancer at the age of 71.

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