|May 13, 2013||Posted by Photo GearHead under Cool Gear|
What’s that you say? You haven’t heard of Wittnette cameras? Well, don’t you go feeling so all alone, my friend. A lot of people, it seems, haven’t heard of Wittnette cameras. A lot more people, however, have probably heard of the company that was responsible for manufacturing Wittnette cameras. That company’s name was “Wittnauer.” Yeah, you know… THAT Wittnauer — the watch people. The SWISS watch people! And, I’m sure you all know about the extraordinary reputation the Swiss have for making watches, right?
In fact, the Wittnauer company was renowned for producing fine time-pieces of exceptional quality for most of the 20th century and the last few years of the 19th century. They manufactured and sold their Swiss made watches to the American public from 1890, when Albert Wittnauer — a Swiss immigrant to New York — founded the company, right up to 2001 when Bulova bought up the Wittnauer operation.
In 1957 — some sixty-seven years after the company’s founding — some executive higher-up mucky-muck in charge of doings and goings-on at the Wittnauer company, I suppose, got bored with simply manufacturing and selling silly old time-pieces to well-to-do Yankee pig-dogs, and decided to try the company’s hand at producing cameras. The Wittnauer company, in 1957, announced that they would be getting into the photo-imaging business forthwith and post haste!
Now, seeing as how the ol’ Wittnauer company had such experience in producing watches of such impeccable precision and quality, it’s only natural to suspect that the Wittnauer company would produce photo-image-taking-contraptions of equal quality, right? Well… kind of, sort of, almost…
Wittnauer actually did produce a few cameras of decent quality. The one that we’re featuring here today, however, was not among them. Most of the “good” Wittnauer cameras were released under the Wittnauer brand — sub-labeled as coming from the “Wittnauer Instruments Division.” Fortunately, though, for those of us who love cheap, uber-crap-tastic, vintage cameras, Wittnauer also released a couple of models under an alter-brand — that of the “Wittnette” label.
The Wittnette cameras were of a psuedo-TLR design and boasted all-plastic construction (including the camera’s “Wittnette Chrono” lens) and provided the photographer with absolutely no way to control the exposure whatsoever, aside from a choice of a total of two aperture settings (apparently only available on Wittnette “Deluxe” models) And, that’s it! No exposure time options. No “B”/”Bulb” setting — nada. You can exercise your creativity by pointing the thing at whatever it is you wish to take a picture of and choosing either the “black and white” (narrower) aperture, or the (wider) “color” aperture — one or the other; either or.
Oh… did I mention that the Wittnette cameras also only accept 620 roll film? Well… yeah, there’s that, too. So, if you’re into this little image-snapper, be prepared to re-spool some 120 before putting the camera to use, or to pay the premium for purchasing pre-re-spooled 120 film onto 620 spools.
But, hey! The camera looks fairly vintage-y and cool-like, right? And it’s more than capable of taking some lomo-ish fab-crapulous pictures! And, of course, it’s fairly cheap. Collectiblend estimates the going value of the price of the camera being featured today at between $60-$70 in mint condition. And, the seller does report this particular specimen as being in mint condition. However, this Wittnette reflex camera did originally come with a flash attachment which seems to be absent in any of the seller’s photos or description.
More information on the sale of this Wittnette reflex box camera can be found here. The seller is asking $43.89.