Bienne Gems, Episode 2: Ebel, Mido and Rolex Pre-Owned Finds

I wanted to get in a second episode of Bienne Gems in time for the holiday season. Of course, I realize a mechanical watch is typically not what most people get under the tree. For most folks, a nice watch is for a special occasion, a personal milestone. And for obsessive enthusiasts, such as yours truly, watch season is always on, at least in theory (finances is another matter). Still, it felt right, in the spirit of this series, to provide a micro catalogue of some sort.

As usual, I went around on a stroll across the town to spot what I found to be the most interesting opportunities on the second hand market. Once again, the rule is that the brand must be from Bienne (past or present). As a reminder, I’m doing this just for fun, with no financial connection to the sellers. Without further ado, let’s look at the watches!

PS: Apologies, this was pretty serendipitous, I didn’t have my camera, just my phone.

Ebel 1911 Le Modulor Cal 137

The basics:

  • Reference: 9137240/4535
  • Movement: COSC Ebel Caliber 137
  • Diameter: 41.5 mm
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Year: est. early 2000s (the original warranty is not dated)
  • Comes with: original box and papers
  • Condition: extremely good, minor scratches only, appears unpolished
  • All parts appear to be original; the Ebel strap, while worn, is in such good condition that it may have been changed over the years
  • Worth noting the box for some reason only opens to about three quarters
  • Seller: Cash Converters Bienne
  • Price: 1,799 CHF

Why I picked it: First, I think this is an extremely elegant looking watch. There are many other variations of this model that, in my view, have not aged nearly as gracefuly. Beyond the external looks, the movement is the real attraction here. The Lemania-based Cal 137 is fantastic, often considered as good as it gets for cam lever chronographs. It’s no coincidence that Ulysse Nardin has since bought the rights to it. The experience handling it when I tested was extremely smooth and pleasant. The price seemed to me very fair for what it is, and also compared to the rare similar offerings online.

Mido Multifort Powerwind Limited Edition

The basics:

  • Reference: M040.408.11.041.00
  • Movement: Automatic ETA 2836-2 COSC
  • Limited Edition 1954 pieces
  • Diameter: 40 mm
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Year: 2022
  • Comes with: original box and papers, 3 year warranty starting Sept 2022
  • Condition: as new (after all, it is 3 months old), with the exception of some scratches on the caseback likely due to friction from the bracelet in storage
  • Seller: Cash Converters Bienne
  • For full specs, you can refer to the Mido site
  • Price: 599 CHF

Why I picked it: Price is never the only driver in my pics. I need to really like the watch, and here, I do. The dial and hands offer a unique and tasteful color combination of blue, orange and gilt. The beads of rice bracelet nicely completes the 1950s look. My photos don’t do justice so please check the Mido website. The watch has a lot to offer for its segment, being a COSC-certified limited and numbered edition with a day-date function. Also, it has a solid caseback, a real plus in my view when there is nothing special about the movement. But what made me decide to feature it is also that I think the price is great: it was released just a few months ago and you can get it basically as new for half the retail price.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Green Dial

The basics:

  • Reference: M040.408.11.041.00
  • Movement: Caliber 3230
  • Diameter: 36 mm
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Year: 2020
  • Condition: very good although typical signs of wear on the bracelet, in particular the clasp
  • Comes with: original box, original papers, complete links (warranty runs until 2025)
  • Sold by: Tempus La Boutique
  • Price: 9,000 CHF (I explain below why I decided to feature a watch selling for 64% over retail)

Why I picked it: I must say I hesitated a bit, because I personally wouldn’t buy a watch that is still in the catalogue above retail, full stop. That said, I am of course aware of the realities of the market, even if there are signs that some of the craziness is, fortunately, slowing down. Also, after I published the first episode, I received requests for featuring a Rolex. In this particular case, well, first, green is my favorite color and I love this watch. The variations of tones depending on the light is pretty amazing, and we all know how much we can trust the overall construction quality. Then, the price, while of course steep compared to the 5,500 CHF in catalog, is actually 10% less than anything else I could find in Switzerland full set. Because the condition is good and there’s the benefit of going to see it for yourself at an established shop on one of Bienne’s main commercial street, I decided to include it.

Link to episode 1

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11 months ago

Great selection but no ladies watches this time…

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