Roamer Mustang Indianapolis (MST Cal. 478)…
Roamer is another new brand on the blog, and this Mustang Indianapolis is one of their models from the 1970’s.
(Click pictures to enlarge)
Roamer was started in 1888 in Solothurn, Switzerland by Fritz Meyer, who specialized in producing cylinder escapements for sale to other watchmakers. By 1895 the company had grown to 60 employees, but it was in 1905 that things really started to take off when Meyer formed a partnership with the watchmaker Johann Studeli to create Meyer-Studeli (MST) – the brand name ‘Roamer’ was registered in 1908.
The company moved into a larger factory in 1906 and production increased dramatically. By 1923 the company was producing 1,000,000 units per year, with all components being produced in-house.
However, despite enjoying decades of success, like many others Roamer were “steam rollered” by the quartz revolution, and as demand for mechanical watches plummeted, the in-house production of parts ceased in 1975. The company stayed in the Meyer family until 1983, before being bought by the Swatch group, who then sold it on to the Hong Kong based Chung Nam Company in 1994.
In something of a resurgence, mechanical watches were re-introduced into the line-up in 2003, and in 2009 the Swatch group bought back a 50% share in the company, thus guaranteeing supply of ETA calibres. If you would like to see their current models, check out the website www.roamer.ch.
Getting back to the subject of this post, the Mustang range was produced between 1967 and 1975, and the additional Indianapolis branding on this model was to celebrate Roamer’s sponsorship of the Indianapolis Raceway Park during the early 1970’s. The final piece of main dial text, the “D+D”, signifies that this is a day and date model.
As well as the Mustang, Roamer’s other recognisable vintage ranges were the Stingray, Anfibio, Searock and Rockshell, most of which had distinctive case and caseback designs – the Mustang in this post is pretty typical of the style.
The watch is housed in a one-piece case patented by Roamer, and used extensively throughout their model ranges. Like a traditional one-piece case, the stem must be separated to remove the watch from the case, but rather than using an internal tension ring crystal, the crystal sits over the main case, like a lid, and the case top is pressed over it, sealing the watch inside. I have another Roamer model coming up in the next few posts, so I’ll be sure to include some pictures of the case then. (Post now written – see here)
The movement inside is a MST Cal. 478, which is essentially an ETA Cal. 2638R re-finished and re-branded at the Roamer factory. The movement wasn’t running on arrival, but needed no more than a service to get it up and running again.
Cosmetically the watch was in decent condition throughout, needing little more than a thorough cleaning, a light re-brush for the case top and a polish for the crystal. The watch still has its original NSA bracelet too which is a bonus.
** Many thanks to Ulf Stornebel for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **