Wyler Lifeguard Valjoux 72

Wyler is definitively not what we call a “hot” brand in today’s vintage market.

Having said that, Wyler is not a brand without any interest ! Ok, they don’t have dozens of high end chronograph or famous actors wearing their watches but they developed two revolutionaries innovations back in the 20’s and 30’s which deserve some attention.

Quickly after its creation by Paul Wyler, they presented their first watch in 1926 with a very innovative shock protected balance wheel: the incaflex.

The revolutionary design of this balance wheel stands in two “elastic” arms protecting it against shocks. Like big names of that period, Wyler produced its own calibers but also used calibers from large-scale suppliers like Valjoux. However, those movements were more or less heavily modified, especially by changing the balance wheel for the famous incaflex.

In 1937, a second innovation was presented: an improved waterproof monobloc case not using the typical soft gasket solution. The glass was indeed pressed in between the edge of the case and a pressed or screwed bezel, creating tightness.

The robustness of the incaflex balance wheel was demonstrated in 1956 when two watches were dropped from the Eiffel Tower and continued to function!

The Wyler Lifeguard integrates the two innovations cited above which makes it a very interesting watch on its own.

On top of that, it is a nice looking chronograph, with a very contemporary 37 diameter and with 18mm lugs space.

Let’s have a closer look to it.

The case:

As already said, it is an attractive case of 37mm with nicely faceted and robust lugs.

We can see the intermediate layer between the case and the besel which provides  improved waterproofness:

Side view of the intermediate layer of the Wyler Lifeguard

Details of faceted lugs of the Wyler Lifeguard

Details of the brushed caseback of the Wyler Lifeguard

The dial and hands:

The dial of the Lifeguard is for me what makes this watch really interesting: it is a one of a kind design.

First, the Lifeguard was available either with black dial/white subs or white dial/grey subs.

White dial Wyler Lifeguard
Source: Equation of Time

Note that the besel should be missing

I have seen both swiss signed and unsigned white dials…

Something not seen too often is that each subdial has its own esthetic:

The one at 3 o’clock is a classical 30min counter, with straight markers. 

The one at 6 o’clock is a 12 hours recorder but this time it is made of straight markers and points. 

And, the most interesting, the one at 9 o’clock is the sweep second subdial, smaller than the two others with a very funny and uncommon double hand, while it is not clear for which purpose it really was…

Something pretty interesting is also the red insert inside hour and minute hands…Discret but nice detail echoing to the chrono hand red arrow and providing a killer look with the patinated lume of hands and hour markers.

At the end, the dial of this Lifeguard is full of high quality details (note the applied name and the 12) which makes it definitively different from its competitors.

The movement:

Ok, as said, it’s a monobloc case so I don’t open this watch, but, the movement inside is the famous Valjoux 72, with modified incaflex balance wheel. You can noticed that by the upper pusher being closer to the crown.

The Wyler lifeguard is gaining some interest nowadays within collector’s community and is each day more difficult to find in nice original condition, especially with it’s original besel.

Some pics…