In the colorful history of wristwatches, the 1960s emerge as a period reminiscent of the Wild West in terms of both design and functionality. During this era, contract manufacturing was prevalent, allowing even smaller watch brands to create limited-run timepieces by combining various elements, from dials to cases, and incorporating unique complications simply because they had the freedom to do so. While contract manufacturing still exists today, the 1960s can be considered the true golden age of innovation and industry in watchmaking.
Reflucta, a relatively obscure brand based in Essen, Germany, left a lasting impression during this period. Their brochure proudly proclaimed, “Not everyone will be able to own a Reflucta because their production is limited,” unwittingly foreshadowing their future status as a true rarity in the market. The brochure went on to emphasize that “every part of a Reflucta is made in Switzerland by artisans who have dedicated their lives to crafting exceptional timepieces. These individuals view watchmaking as not just a profession but as an art form.”
Certainly, there’s a touch of whimsy in creating a watch with a moonphase indicator, a feature with limited practical use in today’s world, except for specific professions like farming or fishing. It’s highly likely that Reflucta designed this watch with fishermen in mind, evident not only by the moonphase indicator but also the inclusion of a tide indicator.
As it was the 1960s, the movement, an ETA 2836 movement, found its home in a robust Movado-style cushion case, featuring crisp bevels, pointed crown guards, and a rotating timing bezel. This design concept may evoke memories of the Seafarer, albeit without chronograph functionality, and with a distinctive aesthetic of its own. While the Seafarer positioned the tide indicator in a subdial at 9 o’clock, Reflucta opted for a unique placement of the moonphase indicator at the center of the dial, encircled by the tide indicator—a rare configuration that adds to the watch’s uniqueness.
Unfortunately, information about Reflucta remains scarce. It’s likely one of those German brands that faded into obscurity after the fall of the Wall. Nevertheless, watches like this one endure as relics from an era when meticulous craftsmanship, skilled hands, and a clear vision reigned supreme in the world of watchmaking.”