Engraving on the back says “for appreciation of your help at the gold cup, Guy Lombardo”
I believe it was originally acquired in the New York / Long Island area
Thank you for sending in this vintage wristwatch to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Gent’s, 14K yellow gold, manually wound, water resistant, wristwatch with square button chronograph, registers and telemeter, ‘Presentation’ on back cover from Guy Lombardo, winner of the Gold Cup of speedboat racing (1946), made for the retailer Tiffany & Company, New York City, reference 9029 when signed Movado or 49020 when made for Tiffany & Co. by the Movado Watch Company, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, circa 1946-1950.
CASE – This is a 35 mm diameter, three leaf, polished 14k yellow gold wristwatch with square chronograph pushers and fluted crown, inclined and fluted bezel, fluted gold ‘claw’ lugs. The screwed down back cover carries the inscription, “In appreciation of your Help in the Gold Cup” (see History below). The watch appears to be paired with an ebonized gilt and steel mid-20th century flexible bracelet. . .
DIAL – Gilt dial with radium-coated luminous upright Arabic hour indices, outer bar minutes/seconds track divided into fifths of a second with Arabic five minutes/seconds markers, an outermost concentric blue painted telemeter scale (1-12), gilt guilloche subsidiary dials for continuous seconds @9 with steel pointer, 60-minute register @3 and 12-hour register @6, the latter two with steel “serpent” hands. Radium coated blued steel “Feuille” (Leaf) hands. The upper dial is marked for the retailer, Tiffany & Co. . .
MOVEMENT – Not shown but most likely contains the Movado calibre 90/93, a rhodium plated, 17 jewel, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance, self-compensating Breguet balance-spring and index regulator. (Most likely marked Tiffany rather than Movado.)
Case – The gold case appears to be in good-very good condition with a legible Presentation engraving on the back cover. The Presentation is not to a specific individual and one would assume that Mr. Lombardo had a number of these made for any significant part of his team, both aboard the boat as well as on shore. I am assuming the inside of the cover (not shown) carries the Swiss hallmark for 14k gold (a squirrel).
Dial – The gilt dial is genuine and does have areas of some wear, but generally is preserved in very good condition. The areas covered by the radium for luminosity has darkened in the hour numerals nicely but has made the Feuille hands appear black.
Movement – Although not shown I will assume the movement to be original to this case, genuine and functioning. Overall in very good condition. I do not know if the flexible band was part of the package with the watch or not.
GUY LOMBARDO - Guy Lombardo (June 19, 1902 – November 5, 1977) was Canadian-American born and was a famous leader of the Royal Canadian Band during the years of the great-band era of the 1920s-1940s. He was also a violinist. He formed the band with his brothers Carmen, Lebert and Victor, and other musicians from his hometown. They billed themselves as creating "the sweetest music this side of Heaven". The Lombardos are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million records during their lifetimes.
THE GOLD CUP - Gold Cup, premier annual motorboat-racing prize in the United States, (still ongoing) instituted by the American Power Boat Association in 1904. The first race for the cup was held on the Hudson River and was won by C.C. Riotte’s Standard with the fastest heat of 23.6 miles (38 km) per hour. The winning boats since 1911 have been hydroplanes, usually of unlimited engine displacement. The Gold Cup is one of a series of unlimited hydroplane races sponsored annually by the American Power Boat Association and culminating with the award of a national championship.
LOMBARDO AND THE GOLD CUP in 1946 – In 1920, Gar Wood drove a 30-mile Gold Cup heat in ‘Miss America’ at an even 70 miles an hour. It was good enough to set a speed record, for winning the Gold Cup and was one of five straight victories for Mr. Wood. On Labor Day, 1946, Wood stood in the stands and watched Guy Lombardo break that record by a scant 89 hundredths of a mile an hour for the bandleader to win the Gold Cup himself (along with his crew) driving his speedboat the “G-13 Tempo VI”.
Shortly thereafter Mr. Lombardo had a number of these watches made with his engraved signature and handed them out to all who helped with this boating achievement.
https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/movado-ref-49020-91-c-29746378a6 (sold in 2015 for $3000 as ref. 49020 made by Movado for Tiffany)
https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/movado-produced-in-the-1940-s-retailed-by-tiffany-and-co-fine-14k-yellow-gold-gentleman-s-wristwatch-with-square-button-chronograph-and-register-r-73pQX48h (sold in 2002, before the jump in gold prices, for
https://catalog.antiquorum.swiss/en/lots/movado-ref-49020-lot-290-91?browse_all=1&page=1&q=Tiffany+%26+Co++gold+chronograph+1940s (sold in 2015 for $3750)
https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/movado-chronograph-non-magnetic-yellow-gold-movado-chronograph-non-magnetic-case-no-103162-ref-9020-made-in-the-1940s-fine-18k-yellow-gold-wristwatch-with-square-button-chronograp-M3M0KIUZ4 (This is the Movado ref. 9020 in 18k gold offered at auction in 2015 but withdrawn after the bidding went to $5335 in 2015)
The RETAIL value of the 14k gold Movado triple register wrist chronograph made by Movado for Tiffany(either reference 9029 or 49020) is about $6000-$7500 in very good condition. In view of knowing the retail value and these auction findings, if Guy Lombardo WAS NOT involved, I would place a FAIR MARKET VALUE on this 14k gold Movado wrist chronograph made for Tiffany & Company during the late 1940s at $4000-$4500 today.
Putting Guy Lombardo’s signature on the watch makes the discussion of value much more interesting. It also reflects his interest in speed boat racing. His signed personalized photographs do not bring much more than $100+/- at auction today and his signed memorabilia do not sell for very much today.
However, two auctions played a major role in influencing my decision to see what his name means in terms of value. SEE:
~https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/gentleman-s-gold-ultrapiatto-wristwatch-vacheron-and-constantin-ref-6351 (This is a 14k and 18k Vacheron Constantin wristwatch from the 1960s and carries the inscription, "To Guy Lombardo in Grateful Appreciation from the New York Yankees, August 8, 1964". It sold in 2016 for $4000.)
~https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/guy-lombardo-s-copper-and-brass-cruise-ship-model-vdzOIZ3GZ (This was a gift from Guy Lombardo to an electrician who worked at the Guy Lombardo marina. One has to assume that Lombardo had a collection of marine items kept at his marina. It sold in 2016 for $1200)
Therefore, I have decided to place a fair market value on his having his signature on a few select pieces made for those who helped him win the Gold Cup, so I have decided to add $2500 to the value of the Movado for Tiffany gold watch bringing its value at auction into the range of $6500-$7000. If a retailer would be selling this it would be somewhat higher of course.
Thank you again for using meaerto.com for this most interesting appraisal.