Rodania Geometer

Many of you reading this site are well aware of the original Omega Speedmaster, the reference 2915-1. What you may not know anything about, however, is the Geometer, which was conceived by a little brand named Rodania in 1954. Now, if you’ve done your Speedy homework but didn’t know of the Geometer until now, your brain might’ve just turned into a pretzel. 1954? Yes, you read that correctly. The Geometer was produced a full three years before the original Speedmaster! The Geometer is as difficult to find as an original 2915 Speedmaster, but carries one decidedly great advantage: it won’t cost you $100,000+ to add it to your watch box.

If you weren’t aware of the Geometer before seeing it here, don’t feel bad. Rodania never achieved stardom as a brand and outside of the Geometer, their vintage offerings haven’t been particularly notable from a collectability standpoint. The brand was nearly wiped out by the infamous quartz crisis and exists in a diminished capacity today, so suffice to say that Rodania’s record keeping is less robust than some of its peers. Unfortunately, that makes researching the Geometer extremely difficult.

When I originally sat down to write about my Geometer, I had grandiose plans of writing a comprehensive history of the reference in order to shed some light on its place in the sports watch pantheon. Those plans quickly hit a serious snag, though: there’s practically no information about the brand or the watch, outside of random posts on forums throughout the years. When my internet searches failed to produce any definitive resource, I tried reaching out directly to Rodania on the off chance there was a brand historian who could help out. Shockingly, they did not respond. Alas, I can only tell you two things about the Geometer – it’s super rare, and it was made in 1954. That’s the depth of my knowledge. Hopefully in the years to come, somebody will be able to peel back the layers and shed a little more light on these fantastic watches from a little-known corner of the Swiss watch world.

This particular example came to me thanks to four very important letters – DIBS. If you’re unfamiliar with the Law Of Dibs on various online forums, it’s exactly what you think it would be: someone posts a watch they own, you digitally shout “dibs!” over a chorus of other members shouting the same thing, and then you hope that if the owner ever sells the watch, they’ll offer it to each person in the dibs line before listing it publicly. Usually, time passes and both parties forget the long list of informal dibs (something I’m especially bad about). The prior owner (@Faz on Omega Forums) was diligent about his list, however, and remembered that almost two years ago, I had been the first person to proclaim “DIBS!” on a thread where he had posted the Geometer. I was truly shocked (and overjoyed) when Faz privately messaged me to offer the watch, and even though Mrs. Bazamu had put me in watch time-out, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to add this one to my collection.

The Fine Print

The Geometer is a watch that’s so rare, it makes it hard to be picky about condition. Thankfully, I didn’t really have to be picky about this example. The collector who sold the watch had taken exceptionally good care of it and serviced the Geometer a few years ago, ensuring that all the functions were still working smoothly and correctly. Of particular note is the movement – which is a Valjoux 72, adjusted in three positions to provide superior performance. While the Valjoux 72 was ubiquitous throughout the 1950’s-1970’s, it’s rare to see them heavily modified by the manufacturer (with the exception of Rolex). The dauphin hands display a slightly darker shade of lume and gorgeously evoke the 2915 Speedmasters, along with the dial. The case has a diameter of 38mm and a lug width of 20mm, making it a perfect companion for just about every wrist out there. The only nit that I can pick relates to the sub-dial and chrono hands, which are stainless steel. If viewed in low light, it can be difficult to quickly assess the elapsed time – something that Omega clearly noted and changed in it’s own Speedmaster line.

One final note on the rarity of this piece: before purchasing my own Geometer, I would often search the hashtag #geometer on Instagram to drool over other collectors’ examples. On that hashtag, there are only six pieces that make appearances (the lucky owners are / were: @tomvox1, @jason.fried, @subsea57, @capt.seagar, @aroundtwice, and @chronoaddict). Obviously there are a number of them in circulation that haven’t ever been posted to social media – and looking at one hashtag on Instagram is far from definitive research – but it would not surprise me if the number of Geometers owned by collectors is less than 100 pieces.

A Post-Script

Since writing this post originally, I’ve been lucky enough to have taken in two additional examples of the Rodania Geometer. Each example that surfaces provides more perspective and research, which is invaluable for brands and references that are seldom seen.