In 1913, just one year after their marriage, Emma and Ariste Racine-Blatt established Manufacture d'Horlogerie Ariste Racine in one of the most celebrated watchmaking centers of the world, La Chaux-de-Fonds. Within one year, the founders would relocate to Lengnau and decide to use an alternative to their family name for their watches under the anagram Enicar (Racine spelled backwards). A few decades would pass and the manufacturer would become a major force in the Swiss watchmaking industry, selling approximately 800.000 watches per year in over 90 countries. By the 1960s, Enicar would become an ambitious marketer with campaigns centered around international bicyclist teams, automotive racing, tennis, as well as arctic and underwater exhibitions. As the eras changed, styles shifted from the more rugged sports-oriented models to the more retro aesthetics. One distinctive model that epitomizes this era of adventurous wristwatches is none other than the Sherpa Super Jet, the toolwatch for airline crews and international businessmen.
Over the recent years, Enicar has seen a surge in admiration resulting in it becoming one of the hot brands to keep an eye on. While the chronographs have often been the most coveted, both seasoned and new collectors have begun to gravitate towards the diving models due to their comparable sizes and more inviting price points. Additionally, the wide range of dial variants and hand combinations allow collectors to become deeply enthralled in the everlasting hunt for subtle details.
The very stunning Enicar Super Jet GMT with interesting provenance.
More details to come below:
During the early 1960s, the Sherpa line firmly represented the brand’s top models of chronographs, dive watches and GMT watches. Enicar would begin to transition their branding into the format of an “isolated Saturn” as seen in the present model. The hour markers retain strong intact lume. The exterior of the dial features a black and white 24-hour rotating wheel to accommodate a second reference time, which can be operated by the crown at 2 o'clock. Other GMT wheel variants of the smaller Jet (36mm) will include colors such as yellow, red or blue. The red and black GMT or “roulette” hand is accompanied with a cone shaped seconds hand offering a touch of vibrancy to the overall clean aesthetic within the white dial. As mentioned earlier, the subtle differences (such as lollipop seconds) can really differentiate the watches and elevate the experience of hunting vintage Enicar.
Somewhat living under the shadow of the more recognized Sherpa Graphs, the Jets maintain all the attractive elements whether it be the distinguished broad lugs or hefty Ervin Piquerez case. Built with purpose in mind, the super compressor cases are regarded as one of the great advancements in hermetically sealed case designs. Featuring the attractive aesthetic of dual crowns, the watch is a great addition to any collection that is missing the likes of such divers or alarm watches, Despite being over 50 years old, the watch doesn’t look dated in even the slightest sense. The Sherpa Super Jet is a large 40mm case, compared to the smaller 36mm Sherpa Jet. While both versions of the Jet wear large on the wrist, partially due to the domed crystal, the Sherpa Super Jet certainly maintains a modern presence and could be the slight difference maker to those wanting the complete feel for a modern sports watch.
In regard to the collector appeal, Martijn van der Ven (collector, author and one of the leading voices in the Enicar community) offered insight on the nuance found within the Jets. “To compare the dial and hand variations within Sherpa Jets and Super Jets, there is MORE variety found in the later model (24 hrs bezels variations, black dial, albino, rally dial). In addition, the “albino” Sherpa Jets are more common than the handful of examples known in Super Jets.” As far as mainstream appeal, the Super Jets haven’t taken off just yet. However, with one recently being featured on an episode of Talking Watches, it is safe to assume they will soon be on the radar of many more enthusiasts.
This particular Super Jet example comes from a passionate North American Enicar collector and scholar, and prior to that, it was featured within Martijn van der Ven’s preeminent book Enicar: Time For A Change. It can be seen within the celebrated book’s first edition towards the acknowledgement section. The most recent collector actually contributed to the Enicar book but has decided the time has come for the watch to find a new home, “It wasn't easy to part with” the collector recently explained. “It was one of the watches that I unfortunately had to part with to make room for a grail of mine” (a Zenith Chronograph). Although his love for the Langeau based brand is far from fading. When asked which Enicar models could potentially fill the void of the watch he was parting with, he emphasized “I’m definitely still heavily focused on Enicar. I’m hoping to eventually find a Super Graph or possibly an Aqua Graph with a white or blue dial.”
For more information on the Super Jet available for purchase check out the full listing.