Let's Talk About Enicar!

Now for a brief review of one of the more enigmatic brands in Swiss watchmaking - vastly underappreciated and misunderstood, but now commanding some serious prices for certain references that have become Instagram popular being spotted on the arms on celebrities like Ed Sheeran - I bring you the Racine family's Enicar (get it - Racine in reverse).

Enicar - in 1913 a husband and wife team Ariste Racine and Emma Blatt founded their brand in their home in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Ariste could not use the family name because it had already been trademarked, so Emma came up with the idea of reversing their surname and thus was born Enicar. Ariste was the salesman and Emma the watch technician. Together they created a brand that lasted until the impact of the 1970s quartz crisis resulted in the company's liquidation in 1987. In 1988 the brand was acquired by a Hong Kong businessman as the Enicar brand was immensely popular in China. Rather than regurgitate the rest of the history, I have included some excellent links below that will serve you better. 

For more on Enicar, with some great photos make sure to check out the article on Rescapement here:

https://www.rescapement.com/blog/so-youre-curious-about-enicar-huh

And this excellent history here:

Enicar Vintage Watches: History & Iconic Models

Also, check out the most comprehensive history of the company in this fabulous book: 

Enicar Book, brand new and smoking hot | Time for a Change

Here are some vintage examples from my collection:

Enicar Ultrasonic Chronograph (1960s) Movement: Manual Valjoux 92 Case size: 36.5mm Condition: Very good - all original except replacement strap 

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Enicar Sherpa D Star (1960s) Ref. 165-54-03 Movement: Automatic Enicar AR 165 Case size: 37mm Condition: NOS - all original except vintage Morrelato replacement strap

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Enicar Ocean Pearl (1970s) Ref. 165-39-18 Movement: Automatic Enicar AR 165 Case size: 36mm Condition: NOS - all original including original vintage Tropic Star rubber strap and full tags  

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Enicar Ocean Pearl (1970s) Ref. 167-01-39 Movement: Automatic Enicar AR 167 Case size: 35mm Condition: NOS - all original except replacement strap  

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Enicar Ocean Pearl (1970s) Ref. 160-21-08 Movement: Automatic Enicar AR 160 Case size: 36mm Condition: Very good - all original including original stainless steel bracelet   

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Another addition to the collection - Enicar Sherpa Star Diver running the automatic Enicar caliber AR167 with massive case size for a 1960s watch of 43.7mm...

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I’ve found Enicar pretty hit and miss. I’m always never sure what is genuine, and what is franken, especially at the bottom of the market. I’ve owned a few, and often avoid now, but I just picked up the top one with a throwaway bid and think it’s powered with an Enicar 412 / Durowe 420. The latter is supposed to be rare, yet the user who stated that was met with the photo of mine as a response - practically identical, so not that rare really. Plus you have a brown dialled version above, so guess not. Mine is in pretty good condition, so that’s nice. It’s also a bit of a dog, with a crown pull-out date change that is genuinely annoying. It’s the one watch in my collection that setting the time on is a chore rather than a pleasure.

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I would love a Sherpa Guide, but they have always been too battered for too expensive, so it’s admiration from afar.

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chronotriggered

I’ve found Enicar pretty hit and miss. I’m always never sure what is genuine, and what is franken, especially at the bottom of the market. I’ve owned a few, and often avoid now, but I just picked up the top one with a throwaway bid and think it’s powered with an Enicar 412 / Durowe 420. The latter is supposed to be rare, yet the user who stated that was met with the photo of mine as a response - practically identical, so not that rare really. Plus you have a brown dialled version above, so guess not. Mine is in pretty good condition, so that’s nice. It’s also a bit of a dog, with a crown pull-out date change that is genuinely annoying. It’s the one watch in my collection that setting the time on is a chore rather than a pleasure.

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I would love a Sherpa Guide, but they have always been too battered for too expensive, so it’s admiration from afar.

Yes - this is our challenge in collecting vintage watches...how to avoid the frankenwatch or watch that appears nice but fails miserably when put into service.

I have found the more I can find reliable vintage dealers, the more likely I will be a repeat customer and pay a small premium for the assurance that what I am adding to the collection is the real deal.

But to your point...it is a minefield...fortunately we don't lose any body parts when we hit them, just a little cash.