Leonidas founded by Julien Bourquin in 1841 in the city of St.Imier. Leonidas’s name comes from the Greek King of Sparta, famously depicted in the 2006 Hollywood film 300. In 1912 Constant Jeanneret-Droz purchased the company. He was one of Jules Frédéric Jeanneret’s sons, founder of Excelsior Park, one of the world’s most outstanding chronograph manufacturers. Providing movements for Girard Perregaux, Gallet and Zenith and many others. During the war years, Leonidas supplied watches to the German, and Italian Armies. They merged with Heuer in 1962, producing for a short while under the name Heuer-Leonidas. Sadly in 1984 when Heuer was brought by TAG, the name Leonidas disappeared.
Our Leonidas Reference CP-2 was created to meet the specification of the Italian Army. Interestingly Zenith and Universal Genève also produced watches for them. Many were used by pilots of the Italian Navy and Air Force. At 43mm stainless steel round case, a lug to a lug length of 51mm and a thickness of 12.5mm has an excellent wrist presence. Angled beveled lugs provide a comfortable fit. Piston pushers and a large crown are positioned along the right side. An oversized, bi-directional black bezel with 60 minutes markings holds the slightly domed plexiglass crystal. A black dial with a 60 minutes chapter ring, Tritium, coated Arabic numeral indices.
At 3 o’clock a 30-minute register, at 9 o'clock a continuous 60 seconds register. The slim sword hands are coated in Tritium. On the reverse, a plain stainless steel screw-down case back. It was not unheard of for military watches to be “Civilianised.” Meaning the military markings have been removed or that the watch was never intended for the military, we, unfortunately, will never know which is correct. A. Cairelli of Roma was a retailer connected with distributing these watches and Zenith produced 2500 CP-2 watches for the Italian military and 500 were sold to the public, which supports the theory that not all the watches were for military use. Inside is a Manually Wound Valjoux 222, 17 Jewels, 18,000 beats per hour. The Valjoux 222 is a modified Valjoux 22 with the addition of a flyback function. It was in production for 60 years from 1914 until 1974. This Calibre was first used by Breguet and another type 20 watches issued to the French Air Force. The watch comes fitted on a 20mm black strap.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original Landeron box or paperwork. The watch comes paired on a nice fitting black leather strap and a black NATO strap is also included with the watch. The watch is from Circa. 1960s and is sold in worn, vintage condition, but overall this is in fantastic, original condition for its age as you can see. The watch comes with our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.
A truly spectacular watch from an even more spectacular brand, I was excited when the opportunity came to bring this watch to the market as I believe it is one of the very nicest examples currently for sale and has beautiful, and even, patina. It is rare to find watches like this in general, but it is extra special when you find them as well preserved like this, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better example anytime soon.