The Valjoux 72: A masterpiece of mechanical wristwatch movement known only to those in the know

What is the Valjoux 72?

The Valjoux 72 is a movement with the highest quality of workmanship among chronographs. When it comes to movements of this class, many people find more value in the internal movement than in the watch itself, and this is another example of the high level of perfection of the Valjoux 72.
The caliber on which the Valjoux 72 is based is called the Valjoux 22, an old model that began production in 1914. Historically, it is said that wristwatches began to spread in popularity around the time of World War I, and the Valjoux 22 is a movement manufactured in the early stages when the market was expanding from pocket watches to wristwatches.
This remained in use for a long time, and its successor, the Valjoux 72, began production in 1938 (some say 1943). The Valjoux 72 was about 29.25mm in size, which was a convenient and just the right size.

The Valjoux 72 and its Derivatives

The biggest change from the Valjoux 22 and 23 to the 72 is not the size, but the inclusion of a 12-hour counter that can measure 12-hour time. As a result, the Valjoux 72 has two pushers (note) and three subdials, including a seconds counter, a 30-minute counter, and a 12-hour counter.

The Valjoux 72 is 6.25mm thick and has high performance, operating continuously for up to 46 hours. In 1949, the Valjoux 72 and its derivative Valjoux 88 with calendar and moon phase functions were both honored as excellent watches in the esteemed watch industry books of the time.
Since then, the Valjoux 72 has developed into a foundation for various functions, and in 1946, the 72c model was produced, which was equipped with a calendar function. This model was passed down to various companies' products, and eventually developed into the perpetual calendar that is still in use today. In particular, it was adopted by the famous Rolex, which shows the excellent quality of this product.

The Valjoux 72 and the movements derived from it were renowned masterpieces that were used for many years, but in the 1970s, the emergence of quartz watches and the competition between mechanical watches and quartz wristwatches led to the abandonment of the movement.
However, the Valjoux 72 was a popular model that was used by between 17 and 19 factories and manufacturers during its long production life, including Eterna, Longines, Wittner, Wackmann, and Patek Philippe.
It is said that as many as 750,000 Valjoux 72s were produced there, which is yet another indication of the high level of perfection of this movement.

A highly sought-after and excellent movement

The Rolex Daytona Paul Newman and Cosmograph Daytona, which were recently sold at auction for 2 billion yen, are equipped with the Valjoux 72 as their power source, and both the watches and their movements are quite popular.

As such, the Valjoux 72, a masterpiece movement also used by Rolex, is a highly refined product that is loved by many people even in today's world where watch technology has advanced.

(Note) Pusher: A button used to start, stop, and reset a chronograph. Also called a push button or push piece.


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