Found: A Vintage 1936 Luxury Catalog, From A Great But Forgotten Paris Retailer Of Rolex, Omega, And Jaeger-LeCoultre (And Many Other Exceptional Objects)

Found: A Vintage 1936 Luxury Catalog, From A Great But Forgotten Paris Retailer Of Rolex, Omega, And Jaeger-LeCoultre (And Many Other Exceptional Objects)

Kirby, Beard & Co. is an intriguing name with regards to itself – certainly not French in spite of the Paris area of the retail chain. An individual named William Cowcher began pin-production tasks in Gloucester, England, in 1743. His activities flourished, his youngsters joined the business, and in the mid 1800s they ultimately welcomed a few accomplices on, named Robert Kirby and George Beard . The company took its last name a century after its founding. 

Despite its exceptionally British roots, the company consistently had a foot in the French market, and as such took an interest in the 1855 and 1878 Universal Exhibitions in Paris. It is in reality in 1878 that their iconic location in Paris, 5 regret Auber, shows up authoritatively interestingly. Generally, this Parisian location, close to the Opera bodes well: Paris was the capital of extravagance (no boasting here; envision when Hermès, Cartier, and the style fashioner Charles Frederick Worth all began there) and the Opera was of course, a significant social community, and as such one for extravagance products also. This assists with clarifying why in 1868, Tiffany & Co. had likewise opened its first store outside the US, in exactly the same area.

What the Kirby, Beard and Co. store looked like close to the Opera, note the deliberately picked corner emplacement.

Kirby, Beard & Co. conveyed considerably more than a tingling sensation, offering an immense determination that included what intrigues us the most: watches. Mid 1900s Omega would already be able to be discovered, twofold endorsed with the retailer’s name, and through the following many years, other driving brands joined the positions. This 1936 index shows Rolex, Omega and Jaeger-LeCoultre; Corum ,  Movado and Universal Genève  were likewise retailed through time. Curiously, it appears Jaeger-LeCoultre made Kirby, Beard & Co. its favored retailer for the Atmos after the store demonstrated fruitful at selling this progressive clock with exclusively its own marking, since the commercial dispatch in 1929 – Jaeger-LeCoultre just gained the patent from the Swiss designer Jean-Léon Reutter in 1935. In itself, this vouches for the compass of this Parisian retailer headed by an Englishman, Sir Alfred St Valery Tebbitt , who was Managing Director in the 1930s.

1906 Omega chronograph with twofold signature.

Atmos promotion from Jaeger-LeCoultre portraying Kirby, Beard and Co. as the most current watch retailer in Paris.

The nature of the things Kirby, Beard & Co. conveyed was not confined to watches and tickers, of course. The inventory shows that you could discover anything a refined man could want, from French-made razors ( truly collectible these days ) to calfskin bound scratch pad. One of their devoted clients was the commended writer Marcel Proust, which clarifies how a 1906 Kirby, Beard & Co. plan sold for more than $150,000 at sell off in 2013. Because of our list, we can see that such an “Plan De Luxe” (with its excellent cowhide cover) was sold new for 45 Francs somewhere in the range of 30 years later.

“The Art Of Shaving Well”, guarantees this 1936 catalog.

Marcel Proust purchased his plan and scratch pad at Kirby, Beard and Co., with this one selling for more than $166,000 at Christie’s in 2013.

The store had its prime during the 1930s, which is effectively reasonable when seeing this index. It was all the while fabricating a portion of its items in England (most eminently, flatware) and sourcing the rest from the best providers around; Rolex, Omega and Jaeger-LeCoultre for the watches, yet in addition Puiforcat (potentially the most prestigious Art Deco silversmith) for some different things; and it’s nothing unexpected that their impeccable calfskin merchandise came from Hermès just as other regarded French producers. While the English manufacturing plant was annihilated during the Second World War, the Parisian store kept its distinction and notoriety; the future President of France, Charles de Gaulle, would buy conciliatory endowments there before true outings, and the Kirby Beard & Co. mark can in any case be found on numerous watches and tickers through the 1950s. It appears to be the company was bought by a competitor in the last part of the 1950s, and the Paris store ultimately shut during the next decade – no exact date can be found except for the area is presently involved (ordinarily) by a bank.

Kirby, Beard and Co. was a vital retailer for Omega until the 1950s.

The list from 1936 shows the incredible significance of watches; every one of the brand included has a full twofold page spread. All together, Rolex goes before Omega, and Jaeger completes the triplet, directly in the center of the booklet. However, Omega is the brand most broadly connected with Kirby Beard Co. since it was Omega’s principle retailer for over a long time (since the mid 1900s). The Rolex watches exhibited are among the most costly created by the Swiss brand at that point, with the gold Prince valued over 1,250 francs; an Oyster Perpetual in similar metal cost 2,950 francs. In comparison, the men’s wristwatches from Omega (with the expression: “The specific hour forever”) accentuated their open evaluating, on account of the way that their cases were made out of less valuable metals.

Jaeger showed the broadness of its manifestations with wristwatches like the Reverso and the Uniplan, and numerous clocks, from the Atmos (for 1,500 francs) to the Ados, which came in numerous sizes for the voyaging respectable man. Curiously, Jaeger offered a 2-year ensure, with free fix during that period, for any of their watches. 

The scope of Rolex wristwatches for men, including a gold Oyster Perpetual being by a wide margin the most costly model carried.

Another page, telling the best way to go in style.

Some 80 years after the fact, the curation of the products offered still intrigues; this store really gave all you required to a refined life. The greater part of the things really came without marking; the clients just confided in the great taste and nature of the determinations, “for a blessing you won’t ever lament” as one of Kirby’s slogans read. What’s more, a considerable lot of the items were celebrated for their development and usability, from a misleadingly straightforward yet astute tea kettle , to the really never-ending Atmos clock . In such manner, this setup of watches from 1936 is additionally very uncovering: the quantity of accessible pocket watches diminished to make space for the recently embraced wristwatches – strangely, evaluated a lot less expensive when it came to Omega and Jaeger. 

The Jaeger page shows the variety of marking; now and then Jaeger, now and then LeCoultre, or now and then explicit models concerning the Reverso and the Atmos.

It is likewise surprising to understand that every one of the three brands offered in 1936 were really manufactures (at a time where this qualification was not a measures for clients, nor a genuine advertising selling point). Also, it probably won’t be a coincidence that they all endure the Quartz Crisis of the twentieth Century, and stayed a reference in their own privileges until the present time – frequently with pieces that you would already be able to find in the index, for example, the Reverso and the Oyster Perpetual. Accordingly, this list could be depicted as extremely current, if not avant-garde. There is little uncertainty that in those years, the store’s support was fundamental for the perceivability and accomplishment of such momentous things in France. 

Contemplating this matured booklet, I arrived at the conclusion that it was presumably the best $30 I had at any point spent. I couldn’t have ever speculated that a solitary Ebay buy could show me such a lot of the historical backdrop of extravagance in my country, and the advancement of my passion.

Omega makes reference to gladly its situation as the authority chronometer of the 1936 Olympic Games, showing the exactness of its watches.