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2.0401 UNO ‘FREEMASON’ mechanical, SWISS 1980s

£255.00 (incl. VAT) £229.50 (incl. VAT)

A unique piece from our collection, this manual wind Uno from the 1980’s is embellished with symbols associated with the mysterious Freemasons, a fraternal organisation of stonemasons that dates all the way back to the 13th century. Adorning the dial in place of numerals is a set of tiny drawings, representing masonic tools that all hold some significance within the brotherhood. Why Uno produced such a watch, we can’t say! Truly an enigmatic piece.

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Key Features

The mysterious nature of this watch and unusual symbols in place of numerals or indices makes this a highly collectible piece. It’s powered by a Swiss-made FHF/ST 96 calibre manual wind movement, with a healthy 48hr power reserve, a quality movement that performs well after servicing. Housing the movement is an original unpolished gold-plated case, with an acrylic crystal. You would be pleased to see these details in any affordable manual wind, but of course the star of the show here is the Masonic dial.

The Freemasons are a fraternal organisation that dates back to the later half of the 13th century, making them the oldest known fraternal organisation in the world. Highly enigmatic in their practices and purpose, the group have been the subject of endless conspiracy, including everything from pulling the strings of government and planning assassinations. Historical figures such as the Founding Fathers, politicians, and celebrities of past and present have been suspected of being members of this male-exclusive organisation.

Uno is a Swiss brand with little available history online. They appear to have been active as early as the 1930’s, and have since vanished as a manufacturer, perhaps succumbing to the Quartz Crisis or being absorbed into a larger company. We don’t know why this Masonic watch was created, perhaps it was privately commissioned. In any case, our personal research at Horological Underground has deciphered the meaning of each of the symbols that constitute the hour markers on the dial:

  1. The Ruler. As far as we can tell, this symbols significance is that it is a tool of a stonemason. No further meaning could be extrapolated from our research.
  2. The Gavel. To remind Masons to shape themselves into the perfect ‘ashlar’, which is a style of masonry involving the use of square-cut stones. Men are depicted as rough hewn, ‘imperfect’ ashlars before they join the organisation, and are encouraged to ‘sharpen the edges’ of their character.
  3. The Setting Maul. This symbol, along with the coffin, shovel, and spring of acacia, are all ‘symbols of the grave’ that serve as a memento mori, a reminder of your mortality.
  4. The Square. Perhaps most recognisable when paired with the compass as the defining symbol of Freemasonry, it reminds the Masons to, quite literally, ‘square’ there virtues against the morality of mankind.
  5. The Level. This highly ornate symbol depicts some variety of ancient level, a device used to measure the levelness of horizontal surfaces. Supposedly it reminds Masons that they live inextricably upon the level passage of time.
  6. The Moon. This symbol, along with the Sun and Stars, are entities that serve God, and remind Masons to govern with regularity.
  7. The Pillars. Two pillars are often depicted in Freemason symbology, which represent a Mason’s passing through Middle Chamber of Solomon’s Temple, a right of passage in Freemasonry that hold some significance in the group. Individually they represent strength and establishment.
  8. Truthfully, we’re not sure what this represents! Initially our research suggested it might be the Plumb, but further research has made this difficult to confirm. It appears to be some sort of cable-winding tool.
  9. See 7.
  10. The Compass. The usual partner of the Square, the compass reminds Masons to explore their desires, but wisely and conducted with care. Looked as a pair, the Square and Compass inspire Masons to live passionately, but morally.
  11. Jacob’s Ladder. In the book of Genesis, the patriarch Jason is said to have seen a ladder stretching all the way to Heaven, with angels climbing up and down it. This symbol usually is depicted with a set amount of rungs, with each representing a separate virtue, but one can interpret this as a reminder to be generally virtuous in order for a Mason to become their best self.
  12. See 6.

Servicing and Guarantee

This timepiece has been serviced with full disassembly. There is a 12-month guarantee, subject to the usage and care guidelines. The watch comes with a classic, genuine brown leather strap.

Overview

Case and Strap

  • Original gold plated case.
  • Stainless steel snap-off caseback.
  • Original winding crown.
  • New black leather strap.

Dimensions:

  • Width w/o crown: 33mm
  • Width w/crown: 35mm
  • Height: 39mm
  • Thickness: 9mm
  • Strap width: 18mm

Dial and Hands

  • Ceramic white dial.
  • Black applied Masonic symbols in place of numerals.
  • Black pencil-style hands, thin black seconds hand.
  • Signed ‘Uno’ below 12 position.

Movement

  • Swiss made movement.
  • FHF 96 calibre.
  • Manual wind.
  • 17 jewels.
  • 48 hr power reserve.

Testing Results

  • Testing duration: 1 week cyclic test.
  • Average timekeeping range: 15-40 sec/day.

Servicing and Guarantee

  • Fully serviced with disassembly in our Bristol shop.
  • Mechanics in full working order.
  • Classic black, genuine leather strap.
  • 6-month warranty.
  • Guarantee Terms and Conditions. 
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