This time we are introducing five the most common vintage watch brands in Finland. There is not much information about Finnish watch brand in English. These brands are mainly sold in 60-70´s in Finland and in some cases in Sweden also. We are introducing five the most common vintage watch brand in this article. These brands are Leijona, Cardinal, Milljonär, Leopard and Tiger.

Watches in this post are from my private collection. Photo quality is not the best because these photos has taken a long time ago, before posting. Copyrights remains to the owner. 

Leijona:

Definitely number one of Finnish watch brand is Leijona. Leijona has established in 1907 and trademark is still working. Leijona is the most known, most popular and most used Finnish watch brand. Leijona watches has always designed in Finland. Leijona watches has designed for everyday use and you can wear watches in every situation.

Small story of Leijona´s history. The J.W. Lindroos watch wholesaler in Tampere (Finland), started to sell Leijona watches in 1910. 1918 brothers Jalo, Urho ja Oiva Perkko established Perkko Corporation in Helsinki. Perkko bought J.W. Lindroos company in 1919. In the beginning of Leijona history watches were manufactured in Switzerland and most of the watches were pocket watches. In 1920´s it started to come more and more wristwatches to markets for men and women. Even before 2nd world war they were wide range of mechanical wristwatches, pocketwatches and wall clocks. After war there became more selection with waterproof watches and other stainless steel and silver watches.

1970´s quartz watches replace mechanical watches in markets. In this stage Leijona quartz watches was manufactured in Japan. Nowdays Leijona watch collection consist of about 350 different types of wrist- and pocketwatches for men, women and children. There has been high level quality control since beginning and all watches has to fulfill hard requirements conserning of materials and production.

Cardinal: Cardinal was the brand of Kellotuomi co. ,the Finnish wholesaler, which built Cardinal on the example of Leijona brand. Cardinal came to the market on a trajectory, in the late 60´s when the production of cheap watches came to the transit stage. That is why there are much less Cardinal watches in the world if compared to Leijona. Mechanical watches did not sell in the 70´s, then at the end of the decade came the transition to quartz watches, first to the Swiss ones and early 80´s to Japanese Miyota movements. When Kellotuomi co. stopped operating -92, Exact Oy continued as a trademark holder. In the 80´s Cardinal had about 15% share of watch markets in Finland. Few years Cardinal was most sold watch in Finland.

Cardinal watches

Milljonär:

Milljonär watches were sold in postal sales between 1950s and 1970s. Probably watches were sold also in some retail stores. Tähti-Tuonti co in Helsinki started mail order business in 1958 and in the end of 60´s company started to advertise Milljonär watches in different magazines. Also the company called Swiss-kellot sold Milljonär watches in 1977 through mail order sales. According to the advertisements, the watches had AS, FHF, ETA and UT movements. Milljonär brand is probably a Finnish / Swedish marketing name, which is likely to be marketed only in the Nordic countries.

Milljonär Scandinavic

Leopard:

The brand was Sylvester Korhonen co. own brand in Finland. It was the largest players in the watch industry in Finland at the end of the 60´s. The brand may have been born in the early 50’s. Sylvester Korhonen’s wholesale went bankruptcy in the 70’s because of the quartz crisis, partly also by generation change problems. Sylvester continued its operations as a watch shop in Espoo, after a generation change.

Leopard watches have been assembled with the brand name in watchmaking companies in Switzerland. The operating model was very similar to Leijona brand. The Leopard brand went down with the Sylvester Korhonen wholesale company.

Tiger:

Tiger was a trademark of Aseman Kello co located in Helsinki. Tiger followed Leijona brand footsteps. According to the available information, watches were mainly manufactured by the Swiss watchmaker Mildia SA. The oldest Tiger watches from 60´s had FHF and ST handwinding movements or AS and ETA automatic movements. Tiger is much less sold than the other mentioned watch brands in Finland because it was sold only at watch shops of Asema Kello in Helsinki and Tampere and also in watch shop chain of Velikulta.

Check also other posts in our blog: https://www.timemachine.fi/en/blog

If you are intrested about watches and need something for yourself, check our onlinestore were we are selling nice collection of watches, watch accessories and other fashion products: www.timemachine.fi/en

Cheers,

Timemachine.fi

🙂


When you want to replace new strap for your watch, the first thing to do is to purchase proper spring bar tool. There is a lot of different types and quality levels in watch tools. Cheapest and poorest ones are commonly made in China. It is commonly known that Swiss made high quality tools are more expensive, but they will last longer and working process is much easier with well-made tools. If you are just beginner watch hobbiest, you can start working with chinese tools if you keep mind that they will break easily and it will take more time and effort to do anything with those kind of tools. 

Overall picture of materials

Changing strap for your watch is pretty easy job. Strap change can be completed in less than 10 minutes for a beginner and 2-3 minutes for someone with more experience. Choose your work area carefully so there is enough space for watch and protect glass side for example with towel. You should work from the back side of your watch. This ensure that if your tool accidentally slips, it will not scratch visible side of your precious watch.

In this post we will use famous swiss made manufacturer Bergeon´s watch tools. 

Poljot 3133 and Bergeon 6767-S

Changing strap process:

  1. From the back side of your watch, insert the forked end of Bergeon spring bar tool in between the strap and the watch lug. The spring bar has a ridge that the tool will grab, allowing it to compress.
  2. Gently apply pressure inwards and towards the strap (away from the watch) to depress the spring bar. At the same time, apply some downward pressure so the bar will popout. If you press to hard/fast, the tool may slip and damage your strap or scratch your watch. 
  3. Repeat on the other side, and you are all done! Remove the spring bars from the old strap. It is recommended to replace old spring bars with new ones.
Spring bar tool
Strap removed
Spring bar removed

There are different types of spring bars available. The differences can be found in end styles of bar and thicknesses. Most common types are double flange and single flange. Old watches might have some other types also. Normally spring bar diameter is 1,5mm, but if watch is heavy, it is recommended to use diameter of 1,8mm. Thicker spring bar is more durable and longlasting.

Old and new spring bar

Adjusting metal strap length:

  1. When you need to adjust the length of your metal watch band by removing links, you should first measure diameter of your wrist to ensure how many links you need to remove. Once you know how many links you need to remove, you need to decide how many links you are removing from each side of the band. Remember that anytime you are removing more than one link, you should split the total to be removed between both sides of the clasp so you can keep it center of your wrist.
  2. Next you will have to check and be sure which side of the watch band you want to start removing links. When you have decided where you want to remove link, examine the back of the watch strap. You should see several small arrows that show which way the pins need to be pushed out of the band. Sometimes there are not arrows showing push direction as here our bracelet in following pictures.
  3. Now, when you know which link(s) has to be removed, use your bracelet pin remover tool to push pin away located in link you are removing. Every link is attached with two pins, which have to removed when shorten bracelet. We are using in this post swiss made Bergeon 7230 tool, which can be found in our webstore. 
  4. Now when you have removed whole link from metal strap and strap is now seperated for two parts, you need to install strap (joint) back together with pin by reverse method. Now you have removed link and assembled strap back to one piece and strap is shortened. Well done!

See step by step instruction from the photos below the see how work is done. If you liked the tools shown in this post, you can find them and many more items in our webstore: www.timemachine.fi

Bergeon 7230 bracele pin remover and golden stainless steel strap
Pin holes of strap
Removing pin
Strap separated
Link removed
Installing pin
Pin installed