Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Louis Brandt and Frère (Omega) "Labrador" movement.

Labrador 15J movement 1897/8
The restoration of a  watch by Louis Brandt and Frère with their "Labrador" movement dating from 1897/8 has prompted this post to correct a misapprehension by some - at least by some sellers on eBay - that the "Labrador" was a brand name used by the company to sell their Omega watches in North America. Whilst the movements were  sold there, that is not what the Labrador was about.

Like most companies Louis Brandt and Frère made a range of movements, in 1889 the 19 ligne (close to a Lancashire size 16) Labrador movement was introduced and in 1894 the 19 ligne Omega.
Omega 15J movement 1910

As can bee seen from the pictures (click on them for a larger view)  there is not a lot of difference in the basic construction and in fact most parts are interchangeable between the two types of movements if they are from around the same date. This includes the double action winding and setting mechanism which helped the watch be accepted for railroad use in some countries (not N. America).

Apart from a few cosmetic changes the differences are that the Labrador has screw set jewels and micro adjusted regulation whilst the Omega has machine set jewels and a standard index regulator. Both normally have a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance with double roller.

A 1901 Labrador type movement
stamped "Omega" just below the
"click" on the winding gear.

The cheaper Omega became very popular and in 1903 the company changed it's name to the Omega Watch Company but continued to make the Labrador either branded as such or sometimes as an Omega.

The Labrador was certainly still in production in 1905 but the latest I have seen is from 1904.

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