Watch Week: Marcel Boucher Jump Hour Watch

Two interesting things about this space age superstar: It bears the name of imminent jewellery designer Marcel Boucher and its a mechanical digital watch.

Boucher got his start in the fine jewellery world, apprenticing at Cartier (his wife Sandra was a designer for Harry Winston and Tiffany). In 1936, at the height of the Depression, he decided to launch a collection of bejewelled, three-dimensional costume jewelry brooches with naturalistic subjects.

Boucher died in 1965, but his widow kept the company running until around 1970. At that time Marcel Boucher became a subsidiary of Dovorn Industries, a watch maker.

Which brings us to the watch pictured above. Jump hour (aka direct read) watches displays with numerals like a digital watch, unlike an analog watch which points at the number printed on a dial. They were first invented in the 1880s, had a brief revival in the 1920s, and then were resurrected in the 1970s, when the watch industry was at wits end trying to battle quartz watches and inexpensive Timexes and Japanese imports.

Both Boucher jewellery and and jump hour watches are very collectible today (I sold the one pictured above to a nice man in the Netherlands).

Fun Fact:
Even though he had his own line, Boucher still freelanced for other jewellery makers – including an outfit called Avon of Belleville, which was made in Belleville, Ont. Not to be confused with Avon the cosmetics company’s costume jewellery offerings, Avon of Belleville is signed “Avon” in script or all caps followed with Boucher’s four-digit inventory number.