TROY WATCH WORKS
The Troy Watch Works was a South African watch retailer operating from one location in Johannesburg, on the corner of Eloff and Pritchard street- In the Johannesburg Central Business District. The company was a retailer for many brands, but most notably Lemania, for which they were the sole retailer in South Africa.
TROY was often printed on the dial, alongside or without Lemania,and in some cases the company for which the watches were made too.
Troy Watch Works was opened in 1897 when E. Nicole and his wife moved from Switzerland to South Africa. The name Troy was adopted from the exact measurement of weight- “troy” as in a troy ounce. This was fitting because of the fact that Troy watch sold many special gold watches and troy was a popular measurement of weight of these precious metals.
Anglo American Company, A British multi-national mining company, based in Johannesburg had a great relationship with Troy Watch and would frequently place orders of Lemania Stopwatches for use in mines. The Anglo American Company (AAC) also commissioned watches which they awarded to employees for 25 years of service. These watches would have AAC lettered and bordered with gold inserts at the top of the dial, With both Lemania and TROY displayed at the bottom of the dial.
Only 400 of these watches were produced, but sadly many have been melted down for their gold value and a lot fewer remain, especially in such good condition. The watch houses Lemania’s Automatic Caliber 4651 movement.
Two Lemania stopwatches Co-Branded ‘TROY’ – Sold by Troy Watch.
Another example of Troy’s gold watches is this Lemania with a CH27 movement (most popularly known as the Omega 321)- Branded by TROY and housed in an elegant 18 karat gold case.
The Piguet family maintained close ties to Lemania and, two generations down the line, John Piguet of Piguet-Kahn Jewellers was back in Switzerland with his two brothers, doing a watchmaking apprenticeship next to the Lemania factory- where they spent a lot of time.
It is unclear whether Troy Watch was responsible for supplying was the South African Air Force with their infamous Lemania 5012, the Lemania 1872 and the Lemania 2220. An automatic chronograph, a manual wind chronograph and a single-pusher, manual wind chronograph respectively. It is possible that the SAAF Ordered their Lemania 5012, Lemania 1872 and Lemania 2220 straight from Lemania Watch Co in Switzerland. TROY Watch did supply pilots with dash clocks.
Troy Watch would have sold similar models to these, Such as the Lemania 5100, Civilian versions of the 1872 and possibly 2220s as well.
TROY WATCH WORKS also branded their own watch straps. On the left and center are two Troy watch straps, On the right is a New Old Stock Solvil watch with a ‘Troy Watch‘ branded strap (Center and right)
(Above: A large TROY watch with an Eta caliber movement.)
Troy Watch closed in 2000 after over a century of providing beautiful dress watches and essential tool watches as well as timekeepers to the mines, military and many others. As more of these interesting and rare timepieces surface, they are becoming much more sought after by South African history enthusiasts and watch collectors alike.
As more of these interesting timepieces, as well as the information regarding them surfaces, more will be added to the article.
Should you have anything to contribute, It would be greatly appreciated. Please contact me on James@origintime.co.za or 0027 066-200-1272.
Many thanks to John Piguet of Piguet-Kahn Jewellers for sharing your knowledge on the topic.