Despite the fact that I’ve gone digital for the bulk of my reading materials (primarily to reduce the amount of “bulk” in my life), a good watch book is something that will always have a place on my shelf. “Time For a Change: Discovering Vintage Enicar,” looks like it will be the kind of tome that will easily earn its place next to some of all-time watch-related favorites. I had the chance to chat with the author and creator of this project, Martijn van der Ven (@vandervenus on Instagram), and his dedication to documenting his favorite brand goes well beyond the norm. In fact, after just a short few sentences, I decided to whip out my credit card and back his project, which debuted yesterday on Kickstarter. At 65 Euros plus 25 Euros for shipping, this was a no-brainer. As of a day later, the 29,500 Euro project is about 25% funded, so get out there and help! This looks like a good one.
“Time For a Change: Discovering Vintage Enicar,” will be a coffee table book when it is released in January 2020. Weighing in at nearly 1.5kg (that’s roughly 3 lbs for us baseball fans) and sized at 25cm x 25cm (a foot by a foot), the hardcover book promises to cover the history, stories and people related to the once-flourishing brand. There will be interviews with the likes of Stirling Moss, information gleaned from the grandson of the founder Ariste Racine, and more. van der Ven has traveled extensively to Biel and Lengnau, Switzerland to obtain stories about the brand and to photograph various aspects of the brand including the old factory and to “recreate” some of the vintage advertisements by using vintage Enicars.
In talking to Martijn, I was blown away to find out that he left his full-time job last September in order to dedicate his time to “Time For a Change: Discovering Vintage Enicar.” For him, it’s definitely a passion project to document, for the first time, a brand that ceased to exist in 1984. He even spent 3 weeks in Biel on the project. You may not realize this but Enicar, at the height of its popularity, employed nearly 750 people, produced over 800,000 watches annually, and designed and manufactured its own movements. Touchingly, Martijn mentioned that he’s from Eindhoven, which also happens to be a “company town”; it’s where Philips Corporation is headquartered. Martijn recalls when Philips almost went under in the 90’s and how it affected the local population to such a large degree; the company was really the backbone of the city’s social structure. So, he could imagine what the closure of Enicar meant to the Swiss town.
As an aside, I own a couple Enicars: an early Sherpa Graph with an adjusted Valjoux 72 and a Sherpa Super Jet with an in-house caliber. There’s little doubt in my mind that Enicar was playing in the top tier back in the 60’s when looking at other sports watch makers. Their dedication to details, quality finishing, and innovation was truly impressive. Yes, the collector market went nuts for these watches and perhaps things even became a bit overheated, but they’re fine watches worth collecting, and they should be remembered. It’s about time that someone pulled together an appropriate dedication to the brand; I’ll be waiting to get my hands on a copy of “Time For a Change: Discovering Vintage Enicar”.
If you’re interested in purchasing “Time For a Change: Discovering Vintage Enicar,” head to Kickstarter and choose from a selection of options to help support the project.
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became... read more