Wakmann - Icko Wakmann, a Russian emigre of Jewish background, began his watch business in Portugal in 1943 during WWII selling high-end European watch brands. When the US imposed the Swiss Watch Import Act, Wakmann moved his business to New York City to take advantage of the loopholes in the import act. The import act is why you see the US imported versions of Swiss and other European watch brands from this time with only 17 jewels instead of the more common 24 or 25 jewels for the same watch references sold in Europe, as the rubies were taxed as part of the import duties. Wakmann began operations in 1946 in New York City where he was appointed official producer and deliverer for the US Military during WWII. As a result of this success The Wakmann Watch Company became a publicly listed company and was able to negotiate a joint venture with Breitling in 1947 - the Breitling Watch Corporation of America. Since the Act applied to complete watches imported, Wakmann imported the unassembled parts manufactured by Breitling in Switzerland, and then assembled them in the US using the Wakmann brand name on the dial and avoided customs duties. These watches are essentially Breitling watches in all but the name on the dial - important point as you can usually acquire them for a nice discount off the price of a similar Breitling branded reference. Wakmann assembled a variety of high quality watches with all Swiss made parts. Some of its most famous references included the Triple Calendar Chronograph and its Regatta Yachting Chronograph. Wakmann also sold co-branded chronographs with Charles Gigandet, an well-established Swiss brand, these can be found with the Gigandet brand name on the dial. Unfortunately, like its partner Breitling, Wakmann was a casualty of the 1970s quartz crisis. Both the Breitling and Wakmann brand names have been resurrected from their deaths at the end of the 1970s, however, it is the modern Breitling name that is the more familiar and desirable. Wakmann are still producing Swiss-made watches, but these are not regularly seen in the US.
Here are some vintage examples from my collection:
Wakmann Regatta Yachting Chronograph (late 1960s) ref. 9804 Movement: Automatic Lemania Caliber 1341 Case size: 42mm Condition: Like New - all original except replacement strap
Wakmann Chronograph (1960s) ref. 1376 Movement: Manual Valjoux 7733 Case size: 36mm Condition: NOS never worn - all original except replacement strap. Note the similarity to the Breitling Top Time reference.
Wakmann Diver Chronograph (1960s) ref. 314 11 Movement: Manual Landeron 248 Case size: 39mm Note the similarity to the Le Jour and Yema references from this period. These references were imported from France and produced by Yema.
Wakmann Triple Calendar Chronograph (1960s) ref. 71.1311.21 Movement: Manual Valjoux 723R Case size: 37.7mm Note these were produced with Charles Gigandet for Wakmann - you can see the famous Gigandet ship on the caseback
Wakmann Chronograph (1969) ref. 188 Movement: Manual Lemania caliber 3872 (Omega 930) Case size: 37mm
Wakmann Triple Calendar Chronograph (1970s) "Jumbo" ref. 1315.30.74 Movement: Manual Valjoux 730 Case size: 39mm Condition: Lightly used all original except replacement strap. Note these were produced with Charles Gigandet for Wakmann - you can see the famous Gigandet ship on the caseback and brand name on the inside of the caseback
Wakmann Chronograph (1970s) ref. 188 Movement: Manual Venus 188 Case size: 37mm