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Forum Home > Non-Seiko 7Axx Discussion Area (Re-branded mvmt's) > FRED Force 10 - another French Fashion Faux Pas, perhaps ?

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Seiko7A38 at September 4, 2014 at 6:57 AM

Indeed, researching Henri Samuel is logically the next direction to follow. Having been at the helm of FRED until 1996, no doubt he holds all the answers. However, getting in contact with him may be another thing altogether. But I may have found something else.

In their June 1992 Nº 7 'Summer Special' issue, La Revue Des Montres - a French watch magazine, published an article about him. 

It's entitled: Henri Samuel - Du Côté de Chez Fred and starts on page 96  and possibly runs for 4 pages.

If any readers had clicked on the link included in my previous post, you'll have seen I'd actually found a copy of La Revue Des Montres issue Nº 7. Except I wasn't about to pay 20 Euros (plus presumably postage on top) for a secondhand copy of a 25-year old French magazine on the off-chance that it might contain what I was looking for. So on Friday, I'd emailed (in French) explaining that before I committed to buy the magazine, I'd like to know if there was a photo of a Fred Force 10 day / date chronograph included in that article (attaching a photo of the ex-eBay dial). Further emails bounced back and forward. This was their third reply:

L’article correspond à cette montre et commence à la page 96 celui-ci est disponible en ligne avec ce lien (same link I'd already seen). :roll:

Late this morning, in sheer frustration, I caved in and phoned them. Now bearing in mind that my spoken French is a bit rusty and that the gentleman I talked to spoke little English, what I believe we established is: that the article on Henri Samuel is only 3 pages long; there are several mentions of 'Fred Force 10' and a photo of a watch is included in that article - but not the one I'm looking for. :(

But I don't give up that easily .... ;)

September 8, 2014 at 4:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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I'd already sussed that La Revue Des Montres was a publication of Jalou Media Group ....

and that they had a pretty comprehensive online archive of most of their magazines:

So naturally had I been able to, I'd have checked out their archive copy of La Revue Des Montres issue Nº 7 1992 for myself ....

Unfortunately, Éditions Jalou's '1990's archive for La Revue Des Montres only covers 1999:

But once again, googling Henri Samuel (+ Joaillier) accidentally pointed me in the right direction. :)

Don't ask me, but somehow I arrived here:

It's an article about Golf (handicaps) in another Éditions Jalou publication - L'officiel Hommes - basically a men's fashion magazine.

Henri Samuel is pictured top left (page 110). Now I have absolutely NO interest in Golf whatsoever (better things to do with my time).

But if you click on the link I posted above and scroll through the pages (by clicking on the left or right page) starting on page 34, you'll find an 8-page article on luxury watches, including a solid 18ct gold Jean Lassale Thalassa 7A74 (on a leather strap) on page 41.

There's also a full page black and white FRED advert for their 'La Tigresse' range of watches on page 20 (which I'd seen before).

So you can guess what came next - I spent a couple of leisurely hours browsing through their 1988 and 1989 archives.

To save you doing the same, unless you happen to have time to kill, here's a link to L'officiel Hommes issue Nº 75 of 1989:

.... and there, on page 41 in a similar 11-page watch article is where I finally found an online image of the Fred Force 10 '7A38'. :D

The text squeezed into the top R.H. corner of page 41 reads: De haute en bas, le temps s'écoule inexorablement ....

Chrono Force 10 en acier et or 18 carats, mouvement à quartz, rattrapante 5/100e de second, jour, date, étanche à 50 metres ....

Belated Edit: Added Hi-res image of page 41 only (Éditions Jalou's original 'zoom' .jpg file measures 1493 x 2000 pixels / 411KB):

September 8, 2014 at 5:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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So, having wasted hours upon hours researching this watch, in my efforts to find any image of it, what's the conclusion ? :|

Exactly the same damning verdict that I passed on its 1988 Fred Force 10 stablemate .... Pretty or tasteful it ain't !  

Indeed, the 18ct faux rivet / stainless wire rope bezel design is virtually identical - just scaled up. That the Fred Force 10 '7A38' (or at least the version I've found), came on a leather strap, as opposed to a stainless wire rope bracelet, is absolutely no surprise to me. 8)

That screen print from the YouTube video of Ari Vatanen, wearing his prototype Fred Force 10 '7A38' on the 1988 Paris Dakar might not be the clearest, but I'd studied the footage (full screen, freeze frame) and already primed myself to expect such a leather strap.

But the best bit (as far as I was concerned) came from my 'rambling musings' post on the previous page - about the Tachymetre ring:

What if, when it's fitted in the Fred Force 10 '7A38', all you could see through the crystal was the inner part which I've ringed in red ....

.... and the rest of it was actually hidden under the bezel ? :/

Just like it turned out to be. 

Don't think I was too far out in my choice of wording for the topic title, either. 

FRED Force 10 - another French Fashion Faux Pas, perhaps ?

To quote Julia Roberts from 'Pretty Woman' .... Big mistake. Big. Huge.

September 8, 2014 at 8:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Seiko7A38 at August 9, 2014 at 6:53 AM

My frustration continues unabated.

Earlier in the week, I'd sent Ari Vatanen a polite 'chaser' email (asking again if he could kindly supply some photos of his Fred '7A38').

I'd noticed from his Facebook page: that on 27th July, he'd written:

Last Sunday, I was lucky enough to follow the Gap-Nimes étape with the Tour de France boss, Christian Prudhomme, my pal from Dakar.

So I'd assumed that he was back home (Ari has a farmhouse and winery in the south of France). Apparently not. :/ He wrote back:

It is not that easy. I'm in Finland for the summer and the watch is in France.

You need to be patient...

Kind regards,


But patience isn't a virtue that I'm known for.  I suspect now that he won't be back home until the grape harvest in mid-September.

Having found an image of the Fred '7A38' in that 1989 archived copy of L'officiel Hommes, my frustration has somewhat abated. :)

However, I'll admit I'm still rather disappointed by the lack of response (in the form of photos) from prototype owner Ari Vatanen. :(

Especially remembering my correspondence with French astronaut Michel Tognini last year; how helpful and obliging he'd been. :/

It's 3 months to the day since I first contacted Ari Vatanen.

Summer (in Finland) is most definitely over. I asked a Finnish work colleage yesterday - they're already seeing early morning frosts.

Ari hasn't updated his Facebook page since that last entry on 27th July. He's obviously pre-occupied dabbling in motorsport politics:

Jean Todt ally Ari Vatanen calls for Russian Grand Prix to be cancelled over Ukraine incursion

FIA president's friend and colleague has publicly told Bernie Ecclestone, F1's and the teams' owners to scrap the race over 'unprecedented' actions of Vladimir Putin ....

Stalking horse: Ari Vatanen, a close ally of FIA president Jean Todt, says the Russian GP should be cancelled Photo: GETTY IMAGES

So perhaps someone else might fancy dropping him an email. Hint. ;)

September 27, 2014 at 8:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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After disappearing from social media for a couple of months, yesterday evening Ari Vatanen finally updated his Facebook page:


Bonsoir! My apologies - I'm just hopeless with social media (and with many other things...). One of the highlights of life in France ....

Yes, I think we've gleaned that much, Ari. :roll:

October 18, 2014 at 5:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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As readers may have gathered from the sarcastic tone of some of my previous posts, I'd almost given up hope on Ari Vatanen.

Then, this afternoon, better late than never, I received an email from him, with three photos of his Fred Force 10 '7A38' attached. :)


Hi from Provence!


I receive all kinds of messages but you go a step further by bombarding me simultaneously from the UK and Finland...


I should be now with my family instead of writing watch descriptions but here we go!


I was a Fred 'Force 10' ambassadeur a long time ago and the watch is used every now and then by my wife Rita.

Normally she does not bump into another lady wearing the same watch. :)

In any case most of the ladies wear far too small watches...


The diameter is 37-38mm, the weight is 88 gr (and it is not for sale).

I was also promoting Force 10 sunglasses (do not ask for a photo, I must have lost them) in Paris-Dakar rally.

I remember wearing them once proudly at the finish line of the long special stage in front of the photographers.

Only afterwards I realised that the other lens had come off....


Fred took me to Basel Watch Fair in the late eighties and ever since I have had a very high respect and admiration for watch making. 

I just remind you Paul that the best watches are made by a Finn, Kari Voutilainen... 

Have fun with your hobby - and drive carefully!


Kind regards,

Ari Vatanen

October 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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So, with the help of a Finnish forum member - thanks, Mikko ;) having eventually coerced Ari Vatanen into sending me these three photos (if you look at the filenames / original file sizes, he must have put some effort into taking them) what more have I learned ? :| Apart from 'Patience is a virtue' (if not one of mine) .... not a lot actually. :/

Firstly not to make assumptions based on 25 year-old grainy footage on YouTube - even zooming in on freeze frame. :roll:

Ari never did actually confirm in any of his earlier messages that the watch he was wearing on the 1988 Paris Dakar was this one.

Although the version shown in the 1989 L'officiel Hommes article has a leather strap fitted, Ari's watch is on the classic 'Force 10' stainless braided wire bracelet, which I'd previously seen on that other 1988 non-chrono' Force 10 model. A nice touch - and quite possibly pure coincidence, but this bracelet has 10 strands of braided wire per side (compared to only 9 strands of that other).

Again, that French magazine image partly confused me into believing the hands were painted black, whereas in Ari's head-on photo it now appears they are actually gold plated. As I'd already surmised, the watch case design is very much a case of 'form over function'; the braiding around the circumference certainly wouldn't make for easy or positive chronograph operation. The bezel on Ari's watch does a good job of hiding the six cut-outs around the perimeter of the Tachymetre ring, so I'm still none the wiser. :/

The biggest disappointment for me was the case-back. I was hoping there would be a model number stamped on it. There isn't. :(

Like other French made Fred Force 10's (of more anon) the engravings simply read:

ETANCHE A 5 METRES; FABRIQUE EN FRANCE, the FRED logo ©, F 10 and a 5-digit serial number beginning 88xxx.

October 31, 2014 at 7:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I'm going to re-order the last couple of posts  - not only to group the most recent 'Ari Vatanen' posts together, but ....

.... in an attempt to produce a somewhat postscript. Hopefully it will make more sense when I've finished writing it up.

Originally posted by myself on September 29, 2014 at 6:30 PM:

I'm still running searches on eBay, LeBonCoin, etc. just in case (in the unlikely event) a Fred  '7A38' should ever turn up on there.

Nothing like, so far, needless to say. However one of my searches did find this FRED watch box listed yesterday by a US seller:

For your consideration: 

An Exquisite FRED (PARIS) Watch or Bracelet Box 

Crafted for the "Force 10" Jewelry Collection

This modern style box comes in a beautiful Navy Blue leather finish 

It features a Golden trim around the edges 

It opens up to reveal a watch or bracelet holder resting on a padded felt interior 

It is marked "Fred - Paris" on the inside 

It is marked "Fred Joaillier - Collection Force 10" on the outer lid 

It measures 2 1/8" High x 4" Square 

It weighs: 4 3/4 Ounces 

It is in Excellent, Barely Used, Vintage Condition 

What a lovely, genuine and authentic Collectible /Gift Box

It is ideal for safe keeping of your FRED Jewels! 

Nice indeed, perhaps, if you had a FRED Force 10 '7A38' to keep inside it - but not for me at $79, thank you very much. :/


I've since carried on running searches on eBay and LeBonCoin on 'Fred Force 10' in the vain hope of eventually spotting a '7A38' ....

In doing so, I've learned that the above Fred presentation box, listed by the US eBay seller, described as Watch or Bracelet Box is actually meant for a Force 10 bracelet - even though it's deep enough to take a watch. I'd seen a couple more, with F10 bracelets (which look a little lost in them) listed on LeBonCoin. Then I came across a Force 10 ladies watch on there - dingy photos, but it's pretty obvious that the pukka Fred Force 10 watch box is considerably larger than the bracelet box and opens as a 'double clamshell':

Last weekend, a would-be UK seller listed a similar-looking men's moonphase calendar Fred Force 10 watch on eBay.

It went unsold: - and has just been re-listed:

It's allegedly NOS, complete with the same larger clamshell presentation box. The seller has included more photos besides these few:

Points of interest: it's SWISS MADE. I don't recognise the calibre from the unusal sub-dial layout, but I think it's safe to assume it's an obscure off-the-shelf ETA quartz movement. Unlike the French made Fred Force 10 watches, this one has a model number engraved at the bottom of the case-back. Above that, though almost obscured by reflection, there's a similar 5-digit serial number F10 24919.


This is another Fred Force 10 which was listed on eBay in France last week, that I'd added to my eBay watching page out of interest. It's very similar (if not identical) to the 1988 model I'd found previously, but with a champagne coloured dial. The auction ended earlier this morning @ 11:30, with some late bids and a last second snipe pushing the final price up to a respectable 351 Euros:

Apart from my own interest in gauging what any of these very dated 1980's Fred Force 10 Fashion Faux Pas might be worth ....

The seller's photos include some details of the (9 strand) braided wire bracelet and clasp not clearly visible in Ari Vatanen's photos.

November 2, 2014 at 6:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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The search continues ....

I'm still running searches on eBay, LeBonCoin, etc. just in case (in the unlikely event) a Fred '7A38' should ever turn up on there.

But I'm getting closer. :)

This Fred quartz chronograph, certainly the nearest thing to a 7Axx I've found so far, was listed on LeBonCoin yesterday evening:

Montre fred modele "chrono aventure"

Pierre - Mise en ligne le 13 novembre à 21:22.

Prix : 550 €

Ville : Paris

Code postal : 75001 

Description :

Je vends une montre homme acheté dans les années 90 chez FRED au 6 rue Royale à PARIS 8ème, bracelet en cuir noir, dans son écrin d'origine.

Modèle chrono aventure numéroté

Le chrono ne fonctionne pas

Modèle très rare et introuvable!

Montre Fred de collection

No cartier, Boucheron, Hermès, Baume et mercier.

D'autres photos, et lunettes/ montres sont disponibles

Whether this is a pukka Fred 7A28 (powered presumably by a Shimauchi V905 re-branded movement) or another of those wannabe clones which should more correctly belong in this thread in another section - I'm undecided at the moment. When I tried zooming in on the seller's small primary image the sub-dial markings disappeared into a blur. Funnily enough, it bears a resemblence to this Yema.

That small image (saved from an eBay listing in March 2011) comes from my fourth post in that other thread, where I wrote:

It's a (French-made) Yema, but typically Italian in style - very ornate, with it's gold-tone fluted case and Mother of Pearl inlay sub-dials.

My first thoughts were that it was another N7 (7A28 equivalent), but closer examination (of other larger photos) proved otherwise. Again, the minute sub-dial reads to 60 (not 30), and at the bottom of the dial is printed not 'FRANCE' as you'd normally expect to find on the bottom of a Yema N7 or N8 dial, but 'SWISS MADE'. So I can only assume it must be powered by an ETA quartz movement.

Note that the Fred's case-back includes a stamping Y127 - not one I can ever remember having seen before; certainly never on a Yema N7 (7A28) case-back. But Yema 7T32 case-backs are frequently stamped Y182. Possibly more evidence of the Fred / C.G.H. connection - remains to be seen. The seller's description states that other photos are available, so I'll drop him a message presently.

November 14, 2014 at 7:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Time for a long overdue update to this thread - albeit one with a rather disappointing outcome. :(

Back in June 2014, on page one of this thread, when I was still looking for a(ny) photo of a complete Fred Force 10 '7A38', I wrote:

Short of a watch miraculously turning up on eBay or LeBonCoin, probably the best chance of getting an idea of what it looked like ....

Quite honestly, I never really ever expected one to turn up on eBay. But I kept on running searches every now and then, just in case.

To my amazement, one was listed on eBay by an Italian seller on Thursday evening, no reserve with an opening bid of 0.01 Euros:

Vendo bellissimo orologio di lusso marca FRED-modello FORCE 10 realizato in oro massiccio titolo 750-18kt e acciaio come parte della cassa e fondello. I pulsanti,corona, la ghiera sopra, le anse e la fibbia sono in oro massiccio 18kt. Il orologio si trova in condizioni molto belle, tranne un lieve graffio sul vetro poco visibile, che volendo si puo anche togliere. I punzoni del oro 750 sono presenti sulle anse e la fibbia come anche da foto. Il crono e tutto originale 100x100 ed e funzionante completamente in tutto per tutto. Il crono viene associato al grande evento di PARIS DAKAR, e come crono e molto particolare in quanto nonostante il suo valore come orologio monta un meccanismo a pila SEIKO 7A38A che pero anche se a quarzo monta ben 15 rubini ed e di altissima precisione. La sua pila e nuova appena messa. Cinturino in pelle suo originale, tenuto molto bene. Il diametro della cassa e di circa 38,5 mm, e la misura per il verticale da ansa ad ansa e di circa 50 mm. Io non lo mai smontato ma penso soltanto di oro ci sono circa 15-20 grammi. Il orologio e tenuto molto bene ed e tutto funzionante. Viene venduto da come descritto e da come presentato nelle foto, ma se avete qualche domanda non esitate a chiedere, e non dimenticate di guardare le mie altre inserzioni.Grazie! Auguro buon asta a tutti!! IL VALORE DI QUESTO OROLOGIO RAGGIRA SUI 3-4000 EURO!!!

April 9, 2016 at 6:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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It was the same version with the ribbed tan leather strap, as per the illustration in L'officiel Hommes magazine, issue Nº 75 of 1989.

Now I may have written unkind things about it, specifically: Pretty or tasteful it ain't !   - but that didn't stop me wanting it.

However, after my initial euphoria at finding it had subsided, I started looking a bit closer at the eBay seller's photos ....

Having studied them, there were a couple of statements in their description which didn't exactly ring true. 

Il crono e tutto originale 100x100 ed e funzionante completamente in tutto per tutto. - which Google translates as:

The chrono and completely original 100x100 and up and running completely around for everything.

And: Io non lo mai smontato .... which translates as: I never dismantled ....

The first thing I noticed was the day window, which was halfway through the changeover between languages at 10 to 6 ! :/

My first thought was that the fragile plastic day / date changeover wheel had been broken by some clumsy oaf (see: this thread).

Where I wrote:

Whenever I've observed them, the day / date changeover sequence of my 7A38's goes as follows:

11:00 PM Date wheel starts to move and is usually completed by 00:30 AM (the following day). 01:00 AM (previous) Day starts to move. By 01:30 AM changed to 'alternate' language; by 02:30 AM the Day changeover is complete.

So I emailed the seller and asked him outright whether it was working. He replied:

l orologio e perfetto!! nelle foto stava per cambiare la data tutto qua! which Google translates as:

The clock is perfect !! In photographs he was changing the date that's all!

Yeah, right ! 

My attention then turned to the sub-dial hands. Comparing this watch with the magazine photo and Ari Vatanen's, the uppermost two looked all wrong. They're too long, too thick and have black painted pointers. Indeed they look just like Seiko p/n 04E14AL sub-dial hands used on umpteen 7A38 models. Yet the much slimmer gold plated constant seconds hand appeared to be original and correct. Looking closely at the the first two photos, it appears that the incorrect hand on the 1/10s sub-dial has also been badly fitted; its boss pressed down unevenly and too far - so that it's almost touching the surface of the dial.

Then of course there's that Seiko 7A38(A) movement. Surely if this watch was (even partly) manufactured by C.G.H. for Fred (as I've already proven), it would have had a Shimauchi Ltd V906 re-branded movement not a Seiko. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced someone had replaced the movement - from a donor Seiko 7A38. That might explain couple of things: such as whichever incompetent had done the work had set the hour and minute hands without thinking about day / date changeover times - hence why the day was still changing at 10 to 6. :roll: Those slender Fred sub-dial hands look delicate - so could easily be damaged when pulled (or clumsily replaced). Two obviously got ruined, so were conveniently replaced by two from the 7A38 donor.

April 9, 2016 at 6:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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That said, 'wrong un' or not, I was still definitely interested and continued to bid against the other parties. From memory, there were 5 other bidders besides myself; by around 10:00am on Friday, I was currently the high bidder at 58 Euros after something like 14 bids.

Then around 10:30 yesterday morning this appeared in my email inbox !

Realizing immediately what must have happened, as all too often does in such situations - presumably some unscrupulous b*st*rd had made a 'back door' offer, I frantically messaged the seller. He replied:

Non e stato venduto! Le interessa quanto offre lei? which translates as: It has not been sold. If interested, how much do you offer ?

Followed soon after by:

Si com'è il mio personale non sono pronto a venderlo. Lo venderei solo per la cifra giusta... lei quanto offre ??? which translates as:

It is how my staff are not ready to sell it. I would sell for just the right amount... he offers what ???

Evidently the seller, seeing there was interest, appeared to have deliberately pulled the auction to solicit offers outside eBay. 

I really didn't want to get involved in this kind of 'Dutch auction' - as eBay themselves warn against in their cancellation notice.

That said, I didn't want to let it get away either. So I made the seller a 4-figure offer (as much as the maximum I'd planned to bid) ....

To mis-quote Richard Gere from the Pretty Woman shopping scene: We are talking about spending an obscene amount of money.

Particularly on what is, in reality, a secondhand re-branded (albeit blinged up with 18ct gold) Seiko 7A38 of dubious desirability. :/

Five minutes later I received a reply:

Mi hanno offerto di piu sinceramente... which translates as: They offered me more sincerely ...  

April 9, 2016 at 8:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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By an odd coincidence, yesterday I won an eBay auction for another non-Seiko 7A38 from that same Italian eBay seller. 

Having seen what he'd done with that listing for the 'messed about with' Fred Force 10, back in April and checked some of his other recent 'ended' auction listings, it was clear that he uses those tactics fairly regularly. So I was half expecting him to pull the listing.

But thankfully he didn't this time and I won it for a very reasonable price (of more anon - in another thread). :)

Seeing his username and recognizing it from this thread, reminded me that I hadn't searched eBay on Fred Force 10 for a while.

By another weird coincidence, this Fred Force 10 'Ladies' 18K watch was listed by a US eBay seller only a couple of hours ago.

The description simply reads:





Despite the poor quality grainy photos, this example appears to have the full set of original very slender sub-dial hands.

The brown leather strap is obviously a cheap replacement. Oh, Yes and then there's the Buy-it-Now price of $8000 !! :o

September 20, 2016 at 12:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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