Enicar was founded in 1913 by husband and wife duo Ariste Racine and Emma Blatt – the Racine family, with their long and storied history of artisans had by the early 1900s trademarked the family name; Ariste creatively reversed the name and trademarked it – and thus, Enicar was born.
Several decades subsequent, Ariste’s son, Ariste Jr, joined the company effort in 1934 as an accomplished salesman – and the perfect partner to sell Enicar’s in-house movements at a price point significantly under their Swiss competitors. After World War II, under the leadership of his son, Enicar modernized and expanded production. The company continued producing their own movements in-house, with as many as 70,000 produced annually in the early 1950's. Enicar movements were rather accurate, with their Calibre 1010 winning chronometer certification by the Neuchâtel Observatory for the first time in 1954.
The company boasted their movements were cleaned in a laboratory, leading to the “Ultrasonic” signature found on many watches in the 1950's and 1960's. Many Enicar watches – like the example here – have this term printed on the dial, underneath the logo. This didn’t refer to a model line, rather it was the name of a technological procedure introduced by Enicar in 1953 – the company installed a series of machines in a new factory in Oensingen to clean unassembled watch movement parts with the help of ultrasonic waves. This procedure, developed and designed by the Federal Institute of Physics’ industrial research section in Zürich, was enhanced by adding a special chemical coating to every part. The coating prevented lubricant from dispersing, retaining oil at the desired place and greatly extending its lifespan, with no maintenance needed for three years or more.
Enicar, thus blessed, expanded rapidly and into mountaineering, racing, aviation, diving, and military sectors. Akin to Jack Heuer, Enicar was highly talented at brand name placement in highly visible places, promoting themselves in such diverse efforts as sponsoring a group of Swiss alpinists in their attempt to scale Mount Everest, various race car teams, and lashing one of their dive watches to the rudder of the Mayflower II during a cross-ocean voyage – efforts that repeatedly got the company name in the press.
While these publicity stunts resulted in rapid business growth, there was a behemoth lurking in the background gathering speed few in the watch industry forsaw - the 1970s Quartz Crisis. Enicar like many other manufactures of the time found itself gravely threatened by cheap imports utilizing quartz movements. In 1981, Enicar was forced into bankruptcy and sold all of its assets, to include its naming right in 1988 to a separate company in an auction, which failed to use the same manufacturing process or anything else that would tie the new entity to the old Enicar – separate from the using the same name, the two were entirely different companies.
This Enicar comes with a leather strap, leather NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
1950's Enicar Ultrasonic Manual-Winding Watch
DIAL: Gold Enicar Ultrasonic-signed dial, with faint patina and gold handset
CASE: Gold case measures 35mm x 40.5mm, gold is uniform throughout the case.
CRYSTAL: Domed acrylic crystal; no scratches or cracks.
BAND: This Enicar comes with a brown leather rally strap, with gold-plated hardware. It also comes with a black leather NATO strap, also with gold-plated hardware.
MOVEMENT: Enicar 1200 manual-winding movement.
CROWN: Gold crown, unsigned.