Buying an Enicar watch is an adventure. With hundreds of different models produced between 1913 and 1987, there is an Enicar for every taste and budget. At the same time, a vintage Enicar purchase can be confusing and frustrating. Less than 50% of Enicar’s watch portfolio is documented nowadays. Catalog pages, brochures and advertisements can be found in the Enicar book, this blog and on the excellent website enicar101.com, but these sources do not cover everything.
To prevent yourself from a disappointment, there are a few pointers to help you spot the most common errors, forgeries and butcher jobs. This list may be expended in the future, so please keep an eye out.
1. Check the Enicar logo
The Saturn symbol is present on most Enicar watches from the fifties till the mid eighties. Older models simply had ‘Enicar’ printed (or hand painted) on the dial. Some models from the late seventies and eighties have an applied ‘Enicar’ on the dial (check this chapter for an overview). If you have an Enicar that shows the planet Saturn, make sure the logo isn’t repainted. The dials of the watches depicted below are incorrect, because the top part of the ring should not be visible.
2. Check the lugs
Enicar Sherpa models produced between 1958 and (roughly) 1969 come in an EPSA (super)compressor case, measuring 35, 36, 40 or 42 millimeters in diameter. These cases are incredible for their ingenious design that guarantees water resistance. They are also striking in their finishing quality of the lugs, beautifully sculpted with sharp edges. Of course these lugs can show traces of use after all these decades. But when they’re polished to death, that’s obviously a red flag. Also make very sure that each lug is straight, because it is virtually impossible to bend a lug back into its original position. EPSA cases for the Sherpa models have become very hard to find. And if you do happen to track down one, they are pricey.
3. Check the inner bezel
The Enicar Sherpa Super-Divette, Jet, Super-Jet, Super-Dive, OPS and Ultradive are equipped with an inner bezel that can be operated by the upper crown. Dive watches contain a ring with chapters and numbers (10, 20, 30, 40, 50). The GMT models have a 24hrs scale beneath the crystal. So when you spot a model that has a diver reference on the dial in a case with a GMT bezel, something went wrong (either recase or redial).
Watch out for sloppy looking bezels too. Numbers on original Enicar Sherpa bezels are always sharp and balanced, and not stretched out like the ones on the Super-Jet depicted below. By the way, that particular watch has another issue: the case is too small.
4. Check the dial for über-funky colors
Enicar watches are attractive because of their vibrant colors. Just take a look at the Sherpa Guide, 3 register Ocean Pearl chronographs or the Grapho-matic and you’ll know what I mean. But sometimes, a seller of an Enicar watch has decided to add some extra juice. Luckily, these repainted dials are very often done by, as it appears, a drunken chimpansee with a dirty toothbrush, so you’ll easily spot a retouched dial. A piece of advise: if the watch ships from Mumbai, be very suspicious.
5. Check the case back
9 out of 10 Enicars have a jumping shark, an oyster or a radiating Saturn engraved on the case back. Models that date from before the mid fifties should at least show a clover leaf or the brand name and a reference code. If the case back is blank (with the exception of the earliest Enicar watches from the 20s till the late 40s), you may assume it has been replaced and that raises the next question: what else is wrong?
A well known exception is the case back of some of the Sherpa Super-Dive models. This diver model was issued to navy forces, for instance the Polish Navy. I have seen many examples of this model with what appears to be a shaved case back, so a military reference number could be engraved later. Also Enicar pocket watches from the WWII era carry military engravings.
What else to look for?
Always ask your seller to show a photo of the watch movement. It should be Enicar signed (Enicar Watch Co. or just Enicar) and underneath the balance wheel there should be the a movement number that is preceded by ‘AR’, referring to Ariste Racine. This basic rule applies to 95% of all Enicar watches from the mid 50s till the mid 80s. Older models may carry a movement from a third party (Anton Schild, or, if it is a chronograph, brands like Minerva, Venus and Valjoux).
I get many questions regarding hour, minute and seconds hands. These hands are very often interchangeable. When is a configuration original and/or authentic? It’s hard to say. A photo in an advert or catalog doesn’t always provide the answer, because variations can (and will) exist. I am happy to have a look at your watch and share my opinion. Either send me a message of give me a shout on Insta: @vandervenus.
To be continued 🙂