Ranfft Sunset

This has been noted on other forums, but not yet on WatchCrunch, but Dr. Roland Ranfft died on June 15, 2023. He was 72 years old. He compiled the most complete watch movement database on the internet. For those of us who can't tell an A.S. 1187 from an FHF 97 from muscle memory, his site was invaluable. It stopped working over the holidays.

There are two ways to still access the data. The Wayback Machine has captured it, but there won't be any real search feature. Also, a clever computer engineer planned for this exact moment and created a back-up. Bookmark these for future reference.

We should all thank Dr. Ranfft for the service that he provided to this community and the collectors that he never knew. His database retained knowledge that was being lost at an alarming rate. If you ever asked a question about an old watch chances are that the answer that you received was based in part on what was in the Ranfft database.

There really should be a push to get one of our organizations devoted to this history such as the NAWCC or AWCI to maintain such a database. It could be financed and supported by the Swatch Group, Seiko, Citizen, and Rolex as part of their commitment to the community. It should not just rely on the work of one man.

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Sounds like this gentleman was a legend of epic stature and great renown. May his memory be blessing to all who knew and loved him.

Thanks Aurelian for commemorating his passing. His site is/was/is filled with horological history. I looked up my J80 680.70 and the JLC ebauche 450 there; like you said, hopefully his work will be continued!

Do you know if the database information was ever submitted to NAWCC? I think that is how the acquire much of their information.

If only one of those prolific YouTubers that are in it "for the Love of the hobby" could step up and become a good steward of this project....

ImNevix

Do you know if the database information was ever submitted to NAWCC? I think that is how the acquire much of their information.

I have seen discussion in their forums that they don't have the funds for this sort of work. Sounds like they need a grant writer.

Aurelian

I have seen discussion in their forums that they don't have the funds for this sort of work. Sounds like they need a grant writer.

I have not been on there forums as much as I should. I joined a year ago to help support them and the museum and will continue to do so.

Wow, thank you for telling us about him. That's awesome work. Nearly 11.000 items in his list.

RIP Dr. Ranfft

I used the "advanced search" function to identify hundreds of movements. It was an innovative idea - filter movements by their design characteristics - beautifully executed. Not only did he photograph and list all those movements, he also recorded a ton of metadata for each one - what design of hairspring stud, what winding mechanism, what location of balance and stem release. Plus tons of info about production dates and variations to bridges and finishing.

He also catalogued, with commentary, many vintage watches offered on ebay as well as just movements.

An absolute giant. I doubt we'll see his like again.

A significant loss for everyone who