BRAND / Enicar

A Buying Guide to Enicars Watches

Enicar Watch Buyer's Guide

        
Enicar Watch Buyer's Guide

In particular at forefront of this rise in popularity the EPSA cased double crown divers and Jet series. Note too there are two case sizes for these watches. The Super Divette and the Jet are the smaller cased 36mm versions and command less money than the larger "Super" versions -- Super Dive, Super Jet,. There are two other versions with large crown guards called the UltraDive and the black OPS.

Here is an example of Sherpa black OPS with its crown guard:

Enicar Sherpa Ops 

Reference: 144/35/03.
Functions: Date Calendar, Luminous hands
Case Diameter: 40 mm
Winding: Self-winding
Case Material: Steel
Strap/Bracelet: Leather
Dial Colour: Black
Crystal: Plexiglass

The Sherpa OPS comes with the same case except it is usually marked with an A to denote the black coating. Enicars watches are also quite modular, meaning they have a high inter-changeability factor across them. Dials can be substituted as well as whole movements coming from donors.

Even the Enicar's own advertisements show reference numbers which helps identifying their correct provenience and history, there great sites collecting old ads which help those wanting to navigate the vintage diver. For further proof, crystal makers used those same case reference numbers for their ordering catalogs,

Sherpa Jets are easier to service and fix as they have the 24 hour hand complication with their movements: 1126, 1146, and 166 calibers while a bit tougher with the diver models though. Super Divettes are called that to differentiate from the EPSA single crown version called a Divette that mistankely gets called like “Submariner”.

Enicar was many things but being Swiss, they did not mess with key characteristics of their models such as putting "Super Dive" or "Super Jet" dials in smaller cases. This consistency helps to track the vintage Enicar while searching for rare finds. The Larger EPSA dual crown cases have notable difference in the size of the inner bezel and wider than the small cases.

Enicar EPSA Dual Crown EPSA

Enicar EPSA Dual Crown 

Functions: Date, Calendar
Case Diameter: 40 mm
Winding: Self-winding
Case Material: Steel
Lugs Width: 20 mm
Strap/Bracelet: Leather
Dial Colour: Black
Crystal: Plexiglass

Sherpa diver models:

So here are the reference numbers for corresponding Sherpa Divers

  • Super Divette: 125-04 / 144-35-01 / 145-003 / 145-004 / 165-35-05
  • Super Dive: 125-006 / 144-35-02 / 167-08-02
  • OPS (Black Case): 144-35-03A 165-35-03
  • Ultra Dive 144-35-03 / 165-35-03

A Super Divette:

Enicar Sherpa Super Divette


Enicar Sherpa Super Divette

Reference: 144-35-01
Caliber: 1145 B
Functions: Date, Calendar
Case Diameter: 36 mm
Winding: Self-winding
Case Material: Steel
Strap/Bracelet: Leather
Dial Colour: Black
Crystal: Plexiglass

A Sherpa Divette:

Enicar Sherpa Divette

Enicar Sherpa Divette

Reference: 144-37-01
Caliber: AR1145
Functions: Central seconds, Luminous hands, Rotating Bezel, Only Original Parts, Luminous indices
Case Diameter: 36 mm
Power Reserve: 45 hours
Winding: Self-winding
Case Material: Steel
Lugs Width: 18 mm
Frequency: 18,000 Hz
Jewels: 24
Water Resistance: 15 ATM
Strap/Bracelet: Leather
Dial Colour: Black
Crystal: Plexiglass

The exception being the later OPS model with the 165 movement. Logic says the "A" on the earlier OPS model carried over to the ordering of the newer ones. By then, their dealers knew what to do or it was clearly marked on an order form. In the vintage market there are often dials from the larger, more expensive Super Dive or Jet on a smaller case used for the Super Divette or Jet undermining the value of watch. Of all things that be said to repurpose dials across models, for Enicars this happened in lights of several innocent reasons. During the ‘60s, when these watches were used as intended, they were truly put to the test, beat up and abused resulting crystals smashed and dials scratched. Dealers would have to address the issue of servicing by either ordering a part or replacing the broken part with something on hand and the client agreed for time's sake. Enicars had zero collectable value back then, so who cared if you put a Super Jet dial into a Jet case? The watch was fixed and out the door in matters of days.

Then enter the next phase. Enicar went bankrupt and watch repairmen were faced with obtaining parts. Anything might do, and frankly, anything probably did happen -- except those reference numbers, which are the only guide they would have for parts. So, a vintage seller may be completely clueless about originality and sees what "Supers" sell for and list accordingly. In short, do your own diligence before making a move to a vintage watch.

The rise of Sherpa Graph

The Enicar's Sherpa Graph is noticing a dramatic uptick in prices due to the Jim Clark the renowned British Formula 1 driver Jim Clark OBE, who was repeatedly photographed wearing the reference. This reference comes with case with crown and two pushers, plexiglass crystal fittend with a manual winding Valjoux movement, a distinct red lollipop hand.

With a case diameter approx. 41mm this remains on of the highly sought after watches and rare to find in the vintage market.

Enicar Sherpa Graph 

Reference: 07202-01
Caliber: Valjoux 72
Functions: Date, Chronograph
Case Diameter: 40 mm
Winding: Manual winding
Case Material: Steel
Strap/Bracelet: Leather
Dial Colour: Black
Crystal: Plexiglass

Brand Story

Enicar Watches have a colorful history behind them. Founded on October 1, 1913 Ariste Racine (1889 - 1958) and his wife founded Manufacture d'Horlogerie Ariste Racine' in the Rue du Crêt 24 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. As the Racine name was already in use by Jules Racine, Sr., Ariste used an anagram: Enicar is inverted of Racine for his company name and Enicar was registered on January 6, 1914. The company sold millions of watches in Asia (China, India, Indonesia) so any listing describing any other model than a Sherpa, chronometer, or Supertest model as being rare is almost certainly not.

In 1988, the company went bankrupt. Later that same year, the brand was bought by a Chinese investor who now markets new versions almost exclusively in Asia.

More details on the watches and history are available in the following site:

Truly rare Enicars are the Sherpa EPSA Super Compressor-cased versions. After the early 1960s though, Enicar was naming almost anything Sherpa so the value is not as high.

Enicar catalogs and advertisements of the era do not show "UFO," "Rocket," "Club-Star," "Extra Flat," "Galaxy," "Colombo" or "Colomba" Style, or "Universal" models.

None of the Enicar ads or catalogs we've ever seen show a dial with "Unbreakable Mainspring," or "Geneva." The logo is the planet Saturn and not a UFO. As such, they are not "limited editions."

Enicar collectors do not refer to thin case models as UFOs. Always pay attention to the quality of the dial printing.

Look at plenty of photos and you will better recognize the redials and fakes. Fakes look like a hand drawing versus clear sharp printing by a machine. Most early non-Sherpa or non-SeaPearl 600 Enicars were rarely delivered with colored dials!

There is a trend among Indian sellers to refinish/recolor dials and call them, "rare." Their value is nowhere near a pristine original example with a golden or Pearl White (Argenté White).

From the 1960s onward, Enicar created more colored dials. Mostly blue and few greens. Gold as well. Dials age over time. If the dial looks perfect on a 60 year old Enicar, assume it is a redial. Very rarely will one find a perfectly preserved dial. One reason is that Enicar used radium for their luminescent material, which "burns" the surrounding area over time. Enicar had a rather large radium production facility at one time so they tended to lather it on for some dials such as the early Seapearl and Sherpa 600s.

They switched to other materials in the late fifties and early sixties. Also, look closely at the printing on the dial. The print should be very sharp and even. Again, the best advice is to look at a lots of dials so you can spot the fakes or redials. The fakes popping up right now have a poorly printed "Enicar" logo font. A clear warning sign is a pristine dial with a dirty movement or case. It follows that a perfect dial would have a perfect movement. Again, Indian sellers seem to be the most prolific at selling "100% Original" Enicars with exactly that problem.

Look at the case condition too. If it looks wrong, it usually is black dials are the most common refinished versions as it hides a multitude of sins. (Notable exceptions are the Seapearl 600 and Super Compressor Sherpas with their black dials.)

One telltale sign is to look at the ring of Saturn in the logo. If it is missing, it is a redial and worth far less money.

Black and blue dials are found on square and rectangular Enicars from the 40s and 50s. When in doubt, ask the seller if the dial is refinished so they are on record. We see the vast majority of refinished black dials from India and now from the UK and a few from the USA. Case backs without reference numbers.

(Usually shaved around the outer portion where the numbers would be found.) This is usually done to clean up scratches and gouges from inexperienced owners or watch makers trying to open a bayonet or screw back case.

Always be wary with these examples. Gilt/gold movements should be the same color. Different colored gilt usually means a movement made from parts of different calibers. The finish should be very similar too. Enicars officially imported into the USA will have a three letter code stamped on the movement -- EZR. They are usually stamped "unadjusted." An example would be the 1124 vs 1145 movements. The former are almost always a rose gold tint while the latter are yellow gold tint.

Crowns should show the Enicar Saturn with a ring logo. If not, then it is almost always a replacement crown and reduces the value.

Any Enicar being promoted as "completely authentic" should have a signed crown. Rare? Millions of manual and automatic "Star Jewels" were sold in Asia so they are hardly rare.

The term refers to a special oiling system and a patented process to prevent watch oils from sticking to areas of the movement not needing oiling. The more a listing says rare, assume it is not.

Lately, there are Enicars listed many platforms with new non-Enicar cases and shaved Enicar casebacks. Some have generic movements listed as original. You can spot them by the lack of original signed crowns,

"Base Metal Bezel", and movements without the typical Enicar fit and finish.

No photos of the movement and the shaved case backs are dead giveaways. Another tactic to deceive is an out of focus photo of the case back but the band is in focus. Another dead giveaway are multiple listings from the same seller showing different dials but the same case. Always ask to see photos of the movement before bidding.

A legitimate seller should have no problem offering one. There are circumstances where the seller may not have the appropriate case tool to open the watch. However, if the watch is listed as like new or new, opening the case is easy.

If they sell a lot of watches, they should have the ability to open the case (or have it opened for them) for a photo. Given the recent price increases of certain models, sellers should invest in having a watchmaker open their case and take photos.Enicar Supertest movements are considered the highest grade the company made

How to spot a Enicar Vintage Watch with potential troubles:

Enicar catalogs and advertisements of the era do not show "UFO," "Rocket," "Club-Star," "Extra Flat," "Galaxy," "Colombo" or "Colomba" Style, or "Universal" models. None of the Enicar ads or catalogs we've ever seen show a dial with "Unbreakable Mainspring," or "Geneva." The logo is the planet Saturn and not a UFO. As such, they are not "limited editions." Enicar collectors do not refer to thin case models as UFOs. Always pay attention to the quality of the dial printing. Look at plenty of photos and you will better recognize the redials and fakes. Fakes look like a hand drawing versus clear sharp printing by a machine. Most early non-Sherpa or non-SeaPearl 600 Enicars were rarely delivered with colored dials! Black dials are the most common refinished versions as it hides a multitude of sins. (Notable exceptions are the Seapearl 600 and Super Compressor Sherpas with their black dials.) One telltale sign is to look at the ring of Saturn in the logo. If it is missing, it is a redial and worth far less money. Black and blue dials are found on square and rectangular Enicars from the 40s and 50s. When in doubt, ask the seller if the dial is refinished so they are on record. We see the vast majority of refinished black dials from India and now from the UK and a few from the USA. Case backs without reference numbers. 

(Usually shaved around the outer portion where the numbers would be found.) This is usually done to clean up scratches and gouges from inexperienced owners or watch makers trying to open a bayonet or screw back case. Always be wary with these examples. Gilt/gold movements should be the same color. Different colored gilt usually means a movement made from parts of different calibers. The finish should be very similar too. 

Enicars officially imported into the USA will have a three letter code stamped on the movement -- EZR. They are usually stamped "unadjusted." An example would be the 1124 vs 1145 movements.

The former are almost always a rose gold tint while the latter are yellow gold tint. Crowns should show the Enicar Saturn with a ring logo. If not, then it is almost always a replacement crown and reduces the value. Any Enicar being promoted as "completely authentic" should have a signed crown. Rare? Millions of manual and automatic "Star Jewels" were sold in Asia so they are hardly rare. The term refers to a special oiling system and a patented process to prevent watch oils from sticking to areas of the movement not needing oiling.

Serial Numbers

1145 automatic movement. The movement number is usually stamped under the balance wheel and usually shows 'AR' and the number below it. Enicar had movements made by other manufacturers and stamped with the Enicar logo - Felsa, A Schild (AS) and ETA. Example: Enicar 1171 = ETA 2502. In the late 70s and into the 80s, they mainly bought movements from FHF and ETA. These are marked with a 2 in front of the caliber such as 2165. The following list of movement numbers not complete but should give an indication of the number they used: 

  • 0355 
  • 0374 
  • 072 1-3 
  • 1000 1000 1002 1009 1010 1012 102 1020 
  • 1034/5 (Also used for their Chronometer-grade movement) 
  • 112 1120 1121 1124 1125 1126 (Used in Guide and Jet models.) 
  • 1130 1140 1141 1143 1145 1145B 1145C 1146 (Used in Guide, Jet, and Super Jet models. All of them should have a 24 hour hand.) 
  • 1146B and C  (Used in Guide, Jet, and Super Jet models.All of them should have a 24 hour hand.)

All these are used in Guide, Jet and super Jet Models:

  • 1147B 
  • 1147C 
  • 1150 
  • 1152 
  • 1160 
  • 1161 
  • 1163 
  • 1165 
  • 1166 
1120 124/5/6 = cal. 1124/5/6

(If the movement has a serial number, it is their top-grade Supertest caliber.) 144 = cal. 1144 or 1145 146 or 148 = cal. 1146 (Later Sherpa Jet cases show 148 as an example) 165 = cal. 165 1000 = cal. 1290 (This was one of the largest wristwatch calibers they offered. 13L in size.) 1064 = cal.

1291/2

(The largest caliber at 13.5L. It has a sub-second hand instead of a central second hand.) 072 = Valjoux 72 Note that case numbers may only indicate the movement range inside. For example, 144-06-39 could have a cal. 1145 automatic movement. The movement number is usually stamped under the balance wheel and usually shows 'AR' and the number below it. Enicar had movements made by other manufacturers and stamped with the Enicar logo - Felsa, A Schild (AS) and ETA. Example: Enicar 1171 = ETA 2502.

In the late 70s and into the 80s,

(they mainly bought movements from FHF and ETA. These are marked with a 2 in front of the caliber such as 2165. The following list of movement numbers not complete but should give an indication of the number they used: 0355 0374 072 1-3 1000 1000 1002 1009 1010 1012 102 1020 1034/5 (Also used for their Chronometer-grade movement) 112 1120 1121 1124 1125 1126 (Used in Guide and Jet models.) 1130 1140 1141 1143 1145 1145B 1145C 1146 (Used in Guide, Jet, and Super Jet models. All of them should have a 24 hour hand.) 1146B (Used in Guide, Jet, and Super Jet models.

Futher References:

https://enicar101.com/

https://thespringbar.com/blogs/guides/enicar-graph-collectors-guide-1/

https://www.heuerchrono.com/other-brands-vintage/enicar-yachting/

https://omegaforums.net/threads/enicar-sherpa-divette.90485/

https://enicar.org/

https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/joy-collecting-vintage-enicar-watches-726015.html

Find out more:

Official Enicar site here