Based in the watchmaking town of Besançon, LIP is a French watch brand most associated with its unique 1970s designs, but its history reaches back much further to the 19th century. The range of interesting and often colorful LIP styles one can find on the vintage market today can be dazzling, and it seems there is even some NOS (new-old stock) floating around. The cool finds below are just a taste of what’s out there, and each shows a very different side of the brand. Like several other once-prolific companies active in the 1960s and ’70s that later shuttered, LIP is back today and producing affordable watches based on its heritage.
LIP Racing Chronograph
What We Like: This is just one example of LIP chronographs with wildly vibrant designs from the 1970s. Not only will it stand out for its colors and unusual shape, but its thick and angular case is sure to wear prominently at around 42mm — considered “oversized” for vintage watches from this era and even on the large side today. Partly responsible for its stocky profile is the Valjoux (probably 7734) manually-wound chronograph movement inside.
From the Seller: Serviced and working good, chrono ok. This watch is like new.
LIP Nautic-Ski Electronic
What We Like: Separately, but on the same day in 1952, LIP and Elgin were together the first brands to introduce working prototypes of “electronic” battery-powered watches (this was still pre-quartz). Cutting-edge at the time, electronic LIP watches were worn by the likes of Charles de Gaulle and Dwight Eisenhower. This Nautic-Ski is acutally from the 1970s, when such watches were becoming more widely available, but the brand’s pioneering role in the technology makes this “electro-mechanical” LIP watch particularly cool. With a 37mm super-compressor-style case, it’s well sized and eye-catching.
From the Seller: Beautifully glistening steel super compressor case, lighting bolt second hand, and exotic dial all looking close to pristine. This watch is keeping accurate time.
LIP Art Deco Silver Tank
What We Like: Everything about this very Art Deco LIP watch from the 1940s looks beautiful and elegant, from the shape of its hands and the font of its numerals to its dial texture and sub-dial design. The only problem might be quickly distinguishing between the hour and minute hands which are of a similar length — but who cares: the watch is pretty as hell! With a manually-wound movement inside, its dimensions of 24mm wide by 38mm long might have been large for its era, but this makes it pretty wearable on wrists of today for a rectangular watch.
From the Seller: The watch is running well, is in very good condition and extremely rare. The movement is unsigned, which is common for the era.