1. september 2018

Wittnauer 2000 and 2002 - everything you need to know!

Here you can find a lot of info about the Wittnauer 2000 and 2002 Day-Date Automatic Watch with Perpetual Calendar - aka the ”Time Machine” - and some about the Orient Multi-Year watches. Wittnauer was American watch importer Longines-Wittnauer's own brand. If you want to know more about Wittnauer you can find my post about Wittnauer's history right here.

I love the Wittnauer 2000. Flat, elegant, shiny, large. And though it is more than 45 years old you can still be lucky to find specimens in mint condition. Mine even came with the original box and with the original metal bracelet with the W on the clasp.

The watch case is made from stainless steel. Besides the multi-year calendar in the top and the bottom of the dial it has both a date and weekday indicator. It has a selfwinding movement and still a very low profile. It feels like quite a quality watch compared to other cheaper watches from the early seventies. In fact it was a product from japanese watch company Orient – more on this later. The Wittnauer was introduced in 1970/71 and lasted to 1975 when a new version was launched.

My Wittnauer 2000 from early 1970s in almost mint condition with the original metal bracelet. Steel case and silver dial.

Dimensions of the Wittnauer 2000 and 2002
Width w/o crown: 42,0 mm
Width with crown: 45,2 mm
Length: 45,1 mm
Depth: 11,6 mm
Lugs: 19 mm

There was both a ”Wittnauer 2000” which had a steel case and a ”Wittnauer 2002” with a golden case. The number can be found on the back case of the watches. It seems that the Wittnauer 2000 with steel case and blue dial was the most common model.

In total these combinations can be found:
Steel case / dark blue dial (Wittnauer 2000)
Steel case / silver dial (Wittnauer 2000)
Steel case / golden dial (Wittnauer 2000)
Golden case / golden dial (Wittnauer 2002)
Golden case / green dial (Wittnauer 2002)

Wittnauer 2000. Steel case and dark blue dial.

Wittnauer 2000. Steel case and silver dial.

Wittnauer 2000. Steel case and golden dial.
(Only example I have seen. Maybe a very rare combination or a franken.)

Wittnauer 2002. Golden case and golden dial.
(The price tag here could be original for the watch. The price seems to match other sources ranging from 90 USD to 110 USD.)

Wittnauer 2002. Golden case and green dial. Fantastic!

Note a small difference between the bezels on the two models. 2000 has black hour markings on the silver bezel while the 2002 hasn’t got these markings.

Also a womens version were made measuring 32 mm in diameter. The ladies version had only the date on the dial – and not the weekday – due to the smaller size. I have seen these two versions:
Steel case / dark blue dial (Wittnauer 3000)
Golden case / golden dial (Wittnauer 3002)

Wittnauer 3000 ladies. Steel case and dark blue dial. Only 32 mm.

Wittnauer 3002 ladies. Golden case and golden dial. Only 32 mm.

Wittnauer 2000/2002 in ads
Luckily I have found some ads and materials that can be used to document the model. E.g. notice that the Wittnauer 2000 always was promoted with the metal bracelet as often can be found on the watches that has survived the past 45 years. Furthermore the materials tells the Wittnauer 2000 was also advertised in tv commercials.

Ad for Wittnauer 2000. Notice that the watch is here called ”Time Machine” and has a ”perpetual calendar”.
Year: Unknow. Source

Ad for what appears to be a gold Wittnauer 2002. Sadly the body copy is not readable here.
Year: 1974. Source

Ad for Wittnauer 2002. Published December 8, 1974.
Could be found in several newspapers, e.g. The Cincinnati Enquirer. Source

A lightbox ad for the Wittnauer 2000 in the version with steel case and dark blue dial.
Year: Unknown. Source

Wittnauer 3000 ladies. Notice that is was sold with a milanese type bracelet.
Year: Unknown. Source

The full package
The watch came in a plastic box labeled ”Wittnauer 2000” and inside ”A Longines-Wittnauer Product”. There seems to have been a silver version of the box for Wittnauer 2000 and a gold for the 2002 versions. It had a an outer box made of cardboard.

Wittnauer 2000 with the original boxes.

Wittnauer 2000 with the original boxes. Slightly different than the previous.

Wittnauer 2002 in a golden box. Notice the date on the original guarantee form. The watch was purchased August 9th, 1974.

It often came with a small booklet with instructions – see the images and click on them to see larger versions and read the text. Source

Wittnauer 2000 instructions leaflet, one side

Wittnauer 2000 instructions leaflet, other side.

On the front the watch is called ”perpetual calendar” but in the booklet Wittnauer correctly states that ”thus you can see any day and its corresponding date for any month up to the year 2015.” They are clearly aware that the ”perpetual” part is not totally correct.

Also note that it says in the instructions ”if bracelet model”. This indicates that the Wittnauer 2000 also were sold in non bracelet versions. We have however no documentation of what kind of watch band it alternatively could have.

Contents of the generic Longines-Wittnauer guarantee and instructions brochure.

Here the original hang tag and the sticker on the back case of a Wittnauer 2002 can be seen.

Wittnauer 2000/2002 also came with a tool to shorten the bracelet.

Small changes from first to later versions
The first generation had ”Patent Pending” on the back of the case and ”JAPAN Y6404-013” at the bottom of the dial. Probably after the patent was granted the back case was changed to ”U.S. Patent NO. 3621648” and on the dial it now only said ”JAPAN”.
I have only seen the ”Patent Pending” version on watches with the steel watch case (2000). Maybe the golden versions (2002) were introduced at a later point when the patent was granted.

Wittnauer 2000, first generation with "Patent Pending".
Note that the model number 2000/2002/3000/3002 was printed on the back as well.

Wittnauer 2000, first generation, with "JAPAN Y6404-013" on the dial.

Wittnauer 2000, second generation, with "U.S. Patent No. 3621648".

Wittnauer 2000, second generation, with "JAPAN" on the dial.

The patented calendar
The patent can be seen here. The patent was granted 23 November 1970.

The drawing in the patent application from 1970. Click to enlarge.

Note that in the drawing the first year on the calendar was 1960 and the last 1981. In reality it was produced in the Wittnauer-version covering the years from 1971 to 2015. In the description it says: ”the calendar device according to the present invention can be used for about 20 years or even longer as illustrated in the drawings.” How the marketing people were allowed to promote this as a ”perpetual calendar” must be due to the good old American tradition of advertising exaggeration.

From the materials it is clear that the inventor was named Tooru Takagi and was from Orient Watch Co in Japan.

So how does the calendar work?
It is very simple. Rotate the crown located at 4 o’clock and set the present year under the current month (shown in the bottom of the dial). In the top of dial you will then have a calendar showing the dates and the corresponding weekdays for the month. Is 12th October 1980 a Sunday? You will be able to answer that question in a matter of seconds by rotating the crown and changing the year and month (yes, it was a Sunday ;-)

Set the year under the month in the bottom - and you have a calendar with dates and weekdays for the current month in the top. 

The only problem is that the info on the dial is very small, so this was not a watch for people with reduced vision.

The Japanese connection
On the rotor in the movement it says ”Wittnauer Watch Co.” and ”W102”. In the movement it further says: ”Seventeen, 17 Jewels, Unadjusted, Japan”. On the metal bracelet it says: ”Stainless steel. Made in Japan.” Not hiding the japanese connection.

The movement in the Wittnauer 2000/2002. It says "W102" and is probably a rebranded Orient 42972.

The Wittnauer 2000 and 2002 was a white label product from Orient. Orient had a similar model called the ”Y469672-4A”. The Orient normally had a 46941 movement with 21 jewels. I am not an expert on Orient movements but it seems that the Wittnauer W102 movements is in fact a rebranded Orient 42972.

Orient Multi-Year Y469672-4A the same as the Wittnauer 2000.

The movement in the original Orient version had 27 jewels.
This source claims that the jewel count were reduced on the Wittnauer version for import duties reasons.

The first Orient Multi-Year Calendar watch
The Orient Y469672-4A from the 1970s can be traced back to an even older model from Orient called ”Multi-Year Calendar”. The dial had almost the same layout as the later Orient/Wittnauer model but the watchcase was only 39 mm in diameter. Note the years in the calendar – they start at 1960 – indicating that the calendar concept had existed for 10 years in Japan before being exported to America.

Orient Multi-Year Calendar 39 mm from the 1960s. Source

Orient Multi-Year Calendar 39 mm from the 1960s. Predecessor to the Wittnauer 2000/2002.

Successor from Wittnauer
A couple years later, around 1976, Wittnauer released a new version of the ”Time Machine” with a calendar on the dial. This time it was correctly advertised as having ”thirty years of calendar days and dates” and not as a perpetual calendar. I have only seen few examples of this watch (on eBay) and it can not have been nearly as popular as the predecessor. Size unknown.

Ad with a Wittnauer Time Machine from 1976. (Not a Wittnauer 2000/2002).

An European version: Interpol
I have found this very interesting Interpol Multi-Year calendar watch. Interpol was a brand from swiss Oberon Watch SA (more on this in a future post ;-). The dial on the watch is exactly the same as the original 39 mm Orient and the watch case seems also to be identical. The hands are a little different and the movement in the Interpol is a Baumgartner 158. And on the dial it now says ”Swiss Made”. It can have been a copy - my best bet is that Oberon sourced some parts from Orient, fitted another movement and sold it as ”Swiss Made”.

Interpol/Oberon Multi-Year watch similar to the original Orient. Not a LARGE vintage watch.

Newer versions
The russians made ”shameless” copies of the Orient concept. See here for some Raketa’s and a Luch.

Luch produced from 2003 had a quartz movement. It was almost identical in design to the Wittnauer from the 1970s.
Orient themselves has also used the calendar concept in several newer watches.

A brand new Orient Multi-Year watch building on the principles from the 1960s. Source

Final words
If you ever get the opportunity to buy a Wittnauer 2000/2002 at a reasonable price – do it!

More sources 


11 kommentarer:

  1. Hi, what would be a "reasonable price" to buy a Wittnauer 2002 (not in mint condition).

  2. Hola, en nuestro país he visto estos modelos entre US900 y US1.300. es un modelo realmente interesante, se ve bien y cómodo de usar.

  3. Hi, I'm about to see one on ebay if you are interested. The listing will go live tonight. and be listed under "Interpol Multi-Year Calendar Watch Steel case / Silver Dial"

    1. Thanks for the info. The Interpol version is a rare beast.

  4. Just came into 2 of the 2000s with blue dial. Great information, glad I found your blog.

  5. Fabulous article. Just snagged myself a Wittnauer 2002 in excellent condition. This piece has helped me terrifically.

    Thank you.

  6. Great information, well researched. I was glad to find this post after buying a 2000 . . . even the instructions on how to remove links from the bracelet! One minor correction, it looks to me that, while the patent was applied for in 1970, it was granted in 1971.

  7. Lots of info, lot of work, thanks a lot for it. Any way to "modernize" a vintage such watch by changing its year wheel?

  8. My 90 year old father has a beautiful Wittnauer perpetual he still uses. As of late it refuses to stay wound up. The jeweller said the worsting wheel needs to be replaced. He wants to take the entire thing apart & clean & oil it for $500.00. I’m just wondering if it isn’t slowing down because he is? He is still very active & goes for daily walks but is that enough? How much motion is needed to keep it going? Thanks for any thoughts you are able to offer.
    I found this article excellent. So much useful information. Thanks for all the work you put into it.

  9. I have one of those watches how much is it worth


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