The Dubey & Schaldenbrand Limited Edition Aerodyn Venus

by Richard Paige

In my quest to introduce to the TimeZone reader, watches of particular interest in a Limited Edition series, I felt that other watch manufactures besides the “Great Houses” were certainly deserving of our attentions.

One of these watches is a particular favorite of mine, The Limited Edition Aerodyn Venus, by Dubey & Schaldenbrand.

Historically, D&S, is an an anomaly in the Swiss watch Industry. The present owner of the company, Cinette Robert, is the only woman in a watch world dominated by men: bear in mind that women were only allowed to vote in Switzerland in 1971. She purchased the company in 1995 from the former employees of Mr Dubey (Mr. Schaldenbrand had passed away), and then moved the company to her native village: Les Ponts de Martel (2000 inhabitants) located within the “gold triangle” of La Chaux de Fonds, Le Locle and Neuchatel. Mrs. Robert proved to be a visionary of sorts and an astute businesswoman, when back int the 1970’s she toured many Swiss manufacturers and began purchasing a commodity that most felt had absolutely no future- old mechanical movements. After the Japanese Quartz Invasion, it seemed only a lunatic would find value in old mechanical movements and most companies were happy to sell off these “relics” of the past. Cinette amassed a collection of over 6,000 vintage movements, and as we entered into the mid 1990’s she had a solid brand name to market these watches under: Dubey & Schaldenbrand.

One series of movements acquired by Mrs. Robert, was 100 “tonneau” shaped Venus mechanical movements produced somewhere between 1935 and 1942. This odd shaped movement was produced during the time of experimentation in the watch market, that is, getting away from the round designs evolved from the miniaturization of the pocket watch into a wristwatch. This “oval rectangle” design allowed for watch cases to be produced in more flowing ergonomics. Out of these 100 hand-engraved movements, only 90 were able to be salvaged, thus a worldwide edition of 90 was born.

The 90 watches were produced in steel and 18kt rose gold with two distinct dial versions.

60 watches in steel: 30 in black matte dials, and 30 in silver Guilloche: numbered 01 to 60. Each with these amazingly beautiful “Art Nouveau” styled dial.

30 watches in 18kt Rose Gold. 15 with the matte black dials, and 15 with silver guilloche: numbered respectively from 01 to 30.

Manual wind caliber Venus, 15 jewels, hand engraved, Tonneau shape movement in production from 1935 to 1942, exhibition back with curved sapphire crystal.

$4,500 in steel and $8,500 in 18kt rose gold.

 The whole edition was sold out within 3 months of delivery, and were very difficult to get if you didn’t pre-order. Several TimeZoners are in possession of these watches, and many more are still hoping to buy them in the secondary market.

The PK Time Group are the distributors in the USA, and the owner, Pierre Halimi, had the foresight to purchase all 90 pieces from D&S. The final tally was 28 gold pieces sold through retail stores (2 gold ones went to the partners of the PK Time group), and 52 steel pieces, of which Mrs. Roberts kept 2, PK Time group kept one, and 2 were held back by a retailer for their personal collection…so only 47 steel versions were actually sold through retail stores (the other 8 had movement problems and were kept for spare parts)

This Limited edition watch is a true limited edition in the very real sense. A rare vintage movement that theoretically can only be found in this particular modern watch (rather than a valjoux 7750 or ETA 2892, which is extremely abundant, but can be found in several other Limited edition watches). A very small number in the edition, ironically due to the number of movements that were available. And a very small number of different variations: only 15 in gold with silver dial, 15 with gold and black dial, and 26 of steel with silver dial, 26 with black dial.

Depending on how Dubey &Schaldenbrand chooses to further market Limited Edition watches, which could dilute the D&S collector market if they produce too many new releases of Limited Edition watches per year, it would appear that this particular LE watch may have a strong resale value, and potential for appreciation later on in time.

Hope you enjoyed this article.

Best Regards,
Richard Paige