Newport

The movement in this electric Newport watch is marked “R.Gsell and Co” and a quick search in Google reveals the following:

Roland A. Gsell , a retired jeweler and watch importer, died on Thursday at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y. He was 95 years old. Mr. Gsell died in his sleep of natural causes, said his son, Cyril.

Born in St. Imier, Switzerland, Mr. Gsell came to the United States in 1918 and started his own watch importing business, R. Gsell & Company, on Maiden Lane in Manhattan. He became an American citizen in 1922 and was active in the jewelry and watch industry throughout his life. He retired in the mid-1970’s. He was a president and board member of the Jewelers Security Alliance for many years. During World War II, Mr. Gsell served on the War Production Board in Washington.

Besides his son, Cyril G. of Rye Brook, N.Y., he is survived by his wife. the former Freya Ulrich; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. NY Times 20th July 1991

The movement is actually made by the East German company, UMF / Ruhla. They were known for making rather cheap, pin pallet movements: at their peak, the factory turned out 25,000 Ruhla Calibre 24 movements per day!

But this watch houses the much rarer UMF Calibre 26; in fact, it seems to be very rare! It is also a quality movement that is fully jewelled. This true electric movement (no electronics) is very similiar to the Hamilton 505 and, in some design areas, is better than the Hamilton.

The UMF Cal 26 is very similar to the UMF Cal 25 — the latter being found in the Champion and Services watches, but while the Cal 25 resonates at 2.5 Hz, the Cal 26 is rated at 4 Hz, hence the “Ultra High Frequency” tag on the dial.

First up is my chrome cased Newport:

The second set of photographs are of a large batch of new-old-stock gold cased Newports. Interestingly, some feature a date although still retain the same calibre number. The date functionality is provided by an additional plate and complication that bolts directly on top of the unmodified UMF 26….so these watches are much thicker than the non-date versions.

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