The history of Angelus, a prestigious manufacturer of complicated watches, in chronograph wristwatches

"A forgotten manufacture discovered by enthusiasts"

I think this is the best way to describe Angelus.

Click here to watch a video about the history of Angelus.

History of the Angelus

The company was founded in 1891 by three brothers, Albert, Gustav and Charles, in Le Locle, Switzerland.

In the beginning, the company was just part of a division of labor system that assembled and delivered watch parts, but it absorbed the technology gained from this system and created new things.

Angelus Founder

1900 Angelus clock wins gold medal at the Paris World's Fair

1904: In-house movement production begins

At the time, the watches we handled were specialized in chronographs and watches with repeater functions.

It is said that the company has had high technical capabilities since its founding.

05 Belgium World Expo
06 Milan Expo
14. Bern World Expo, Switzerland

We will achieve excellent results.

Focus on chronograph watches

Angelus Single Push Chronograph

1925: The single push-button chronograph wristwatch is released.

Although it has been 10 years since the release of Longines' in-house movements such as the 13zn and Valjoux 22, it is surprising, or rather surprising, that they have released a small in-house movement of around 30mm at such an early stage.

And because it was an in-house movement, it was likely that they already had high technical capabilities.

There are many other watch brands in Switzerland, but there are very few companies that can create their own original chronograph movements like this.

This is because its structure is too complex and it is a different entity compared to the movement of a three-hand watch.

Therefore, there were not many manufacturers capable of designing chronograph movements.

Angelus thus began to increase its presence in the wristwatch market, and in 1935 released a two-push button chronograph.

Angelus 2-push chronograph

Breitling released the Premier in 1933, so it cannot be said to be the world's first two-push watch, but the Breitling model was a prototype rather than a mass-produced model, and it was the well-known ``Universal Geneve'' and the surprising ``Angelus'' that were the first to establish mass production.

So how did other companies sell chronographs? As I mentioned earlier, a movement with a chronograph function is a complicated mechanism.

Therefore, basically, they purchased movements from companies such as Valjoux and Venus, which specialize in the design and development of movements, and then converted those movements for their own use before installing them in their own watches.

In short, Angelus and other companies active around the same time, such as Lemania, Minerva, and Excelsior Park, were among the few independent manufacturers capable of producing their own chronograph movements.

As Angelus' skills were recognized, in 1939 it began supplying military watches to various countries, including the Italian Navy.

Panerai watches equipped with Angelus movement Cal.240

A typical example is the Luminor Marina, a Panerai watch equipped with the Angelus Cal. 240 movement for the Italian Navy in 1954, which many of you have probably seen.

If something is to be adopted for military use, it needs to have reliable precision and robustness, and they appear to have achieved both.

In reality, it looks like this.

This is a revived product that was revived in 2005 in a limited edition of 150 pieces.

Panerai Angelus Movement Cal240 Reissue Watch

By the way, a Luminormal Marina that was actually used by the Italian Navy in the 1950s was put up for auction at a Hong Kong auction in November 2020, and was sold for nearly 20 million yen.

Wow, that's amazing!

Panerai Official Website Hong Kong Auction

1942 Chronodate launched

Angelus Chronodate

In addition to the chronograph mechanism, it had a month display at the 12 o'clock position, a day of the week display at the 6 o'clock position, and a triple calendar with a pointer date in the center.

Furthermore, this is the world's first general-use feature.

While chronographs are already complex mechanisms, Angelus was able to create an ultra-complex mechanism by adding a date display to the mix, and although it has now become a brand known only to a select few, it was probably one of the most cutting-edge brands at the time.

1948: Release of the Datrux based on Cal.250

Angelus Datrux

The Datrux is an evolution of the 250, and is equipped with a big date, day display, and moon phase mechanism.

Ange Rasu was the first watch in the world to be equipped with a date display (numeric date), and this also shows the company's unrivaled technological superiority.

After that, a date alarm was released in 1956, and a chronograph with a pulsometer was released in 1960, but in the 1970s, Angelus effectively went out of business in the wake of the quartz shock.

The brand was revived in 2015 and released new watches, but it is still undeniable that it does not have the brand power to rival other companies.

Angelus Movement

1939 Cal.210 Chronograph

This is the first caliber released by Angelus.
The basic specs are as follows:

Angelus Caliber 210 basic specifications

Angelus Cal.210

※Angelus Cal.210

1940: At almost the same time, the next generation 215 was introduced.
This suggests that the 210 was more of a prototype.
It is almost the same as the 210, but the shape of the reset hammer and other parts are slightly different, improving durability.

The difference between the Angelus Caliber 210 and 215

210 Chronograph 45 counters
215 Chronograph 45 Counter
216 Omitted due to three-hand clock
217 Chronograph Triple Calendar 45-minute Totalizer Point Date
The 217 is the 215 with the addition of a tri-calculator mechanism.

Variations of the Angelus 210 series

The next generation 250 series was introduced in 1948.
Let's take a look at the basic specs of the 250 series.

Angelus 250 series caliber basic specifications

This succeeded in further miniaturizing the 215 movement, which was 33.3 mm in size.

The size has been downsized to 26.6mm.

Angelus Caliber 250

*Caliber 250

This is a 250 movement that was equipped with a chronograph and date display, and also features a moon phase function.

Angelus Caliber 252 with moon phase mechanism

*Caliber 252 equipped with moon phase mechanism

This movement is said to have been successfully downsized and its parts simplified, but due to its complex mechanism, it is not actually suitable for mass production, and even among Angelus models, it is even more difficult to obtain than the Cal. 210.

Let's take a look at the variations in the 250 series.
There are models 250 to 258, but in reality only the 250 and 252 are chronographs.

Angelus Movement 250 Series Variations

Angelus Rare Movement Ranking

Next, we will announce the Angelus rarity ranking.

This is just my personal opinion, but number 1 is the hardest to obtain.

5th most difficult to obtain cal.215
4th place 217
3rd place: 210
2nd place: 250
1st place 252

I think my feeling is probably the same as everyone else's, but I hardly ever see the 250 and 252.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, Angelus is now able to produce its own movements, and so they also supply them to other companies.

For this reason, watches equipped with the Angelus are made by many different manufacturers, such as Panerai, so it can be interesting to look for combinations of watch brands and Angelus movements.

By the way, I get excited whenever I see a watch with Angelus movement and Minerva brand.

Minerva brand Angelus movement equipped chronograph 1

Minerva Brand Angelus Movement Chronograph Cal215

The reason is that although both are minor brands, I believe that by combining the two companies, they could produce a watch that rivals Omega level.

Although it is not what is commonly called a double-name watch, its rarity means that it surpasses popular chronographs from major brands.

Angelus In my opinion, Angelus watches from the early to mid-1900s had technical capabilities comparable to Longines.

It's a shame that it couldn't survive the Quartz Shock, but when you look at it as a vintage watch, you can still see the greatness of the brand.