Thread: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

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  1. #1
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    Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    Hi everyone, I just got my great grandfather's pocket watch and would appreciate your expertise in identifying it, but especially in getting it restored. As you will see from the pics, it needs some dial restoration and a new crystal. I know nothing about the watch. My great grandfather lived in Poland before WWII, and after the war moved to Israel. The maker's crest stamped on the movement and the inside caseback is a Star of David with the letter D in it and "Normal" printed below. The porcelain dial has seen far better days and I believe there is nothing to do other than clean it. The original crystal was shattered and felt like it was plastic not crystal or glass. I'd love to hear your thoughts on origin and who to go to to get this serviced and restored (new hour hand, crystal, etc). I'm not really hung up on the exact date but would love to know country of origin and who made it. Any info is sincerely appreciated!















    Any insight, advice and direction you can provide me would be very much appreciated. I am a big watch fan but have never owned a pocket watch before so I don't even know how this functions (other than it being a manual wind). Thanks you in advance!
    Omega21
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Omega21
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  2. #2
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    Normal (and the symbol of a D in a star) was one of the marketing brands of Dürrstein & Co, Dresden Germany. The company founder was Johannes Dürrstein, he had the distribution rights to A. Lange and he also founded Union Glashütte:
    http://www.union-glashuette.com/Unio...spx?lang=en-us

    Your watch has a 0.800 silver case, also with German hallmarks. The movement is swiss, someone else might recognize it.
    Erik_H
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  3. #3
    Member igorRIJEKA's Avatar
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    Dial will be hard (impossible) to restore it IMHO
    Swiss movement looks clean an in good condition and there should be no problems with it (cleaning and lubrication).
    Silver case is possible to polish (but what then?because it will return into previous condition very fast).
    Hands can be found...

    .



  4. #4
    Member MACz13's Avatar
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    That dial certainly would take considerable skill and know-how to restore, but it can theoretically be done (it won't look perfect, but the holes/cracks can be filled). A pair of hands of that style shouldn't be to hard to source. The movement looks solid, it's a fifteen jewel lever movement (which is what the inscription "Ankergang/15 Steine" on the cuvette means) from around the turn of the century (at least that's what the bridging suggests). The word 'normal' might denote a movement grade (words like normal/standard were sometimes used to denote regular movements, while words like 'extra' or 'super' would be found on higher grade ones)

    I wonder if the star in this context has any connection to Judaism. I know that Cortebert also used a six-pointed star in their logo at one stage:

    Last edited by MACz13; February 28th, 2010 at 14:36.

  5. #5
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    Does the Kosher laws apply to watches too?
    But the symbol for Kosher is different.

    Maybe it is a Jewisk watch Importer to that part of Poland that used that symbol?
    Last edited by Janne; February 28th, 2010 at 16:03.

  6. #6
    Moderator Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    What a wonderful watch to have. Others have done more than I could to identify the watch but I suspect we have reached the limit. The movement is generic Swiss made from the late 1800s to the 1920s. Rarely can these be traced to a specific maker.

    Personally, I think the dial is still usable and its condition just adds to the ambiance when you show folks a watch used 3 generations ago in your family. Enjoy!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  7. #7
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    First, a huge thank you to you for your feedback. I obviously came to the right place!
    So here is what I have surmised thus far from your feedback:
    1. Based on the Star of David maker’s mark, the watch was made & distributed by Dürrstein & Co, Dresden Germany. The Swiss movement (15 jewel, anchor escapement, normal or mid-level quality) is likely a generic ebauche, that Dürrstein then stamped with their Star of David Mark. Bridging suggests the movement is from around the turn of the century.

    2. The watch is 80% pure silver as denoted by the Swiss assay mark of the grouse and 0.800; and the German assay mark of the Crown and Crescent.

    3. Not sure what "Galonne" refers to... maybe casemaker? Maybe another word for "silver"?

    I am going to contact a restorer on Monday and find out about sending this in. I have no intent of replacing the porcelain dial, just getting it cleaned up. I agree that the condition of the dial allows for further use and certainly captures the character of the watch. I am really enjoying this discussion and your insight – so thank you again.
    Omega21
    Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chrono Ltd Ed (black)
    Omega Seamaster Cosmic
    Omega Flightmaster
    1961 Hamilton Pacer

  8. #8
    Member MACz13's Avatar
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    A search for Galonne brings up quite a few similar pieces (with .800 silver cases). Here's one on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-GALONNE-...10151008r23362

    Similar to yours, only a lower grade and type of movement.

  9. #9
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    Even if you do not plan to restore the Dial (good choice, IMO) I think the fractures and cracks should be stabilised with something type Bath restorer, or a white acrylic paint. Just on the edges of those areas, so it does not chip more.

  10. #10
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    Re: Great grandfather's porcelain pocket watch - help me ID & restore this please!

    So I spoke to the owner of The Escapement (https://home.comcast.net/~k_singer/Escapement.htm ) and he gave me some great advice on restoring and servicing this watch. I am going to send it to him this week. We will get the dial stabalized and cleaned but that's it. He'll replace the missing hand and put on a new glass crystal and give the movement an overhaul/cleanlube. He'll clean the outside but not to the point of losing the patina. Now I just have to wait 4-6 months for the artist to work his magic... I'll post pre and post pics upon return.
    Thanks to all of you who provided clues, information and advice to me. I am extremely appreciative of your kindness.
    All the best!
    Omega21
    Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chrono Ltd Ed (black)
    Omega Seamaster Cosmic
    Omega Flightmaster
    1961 Hamilton Pacer

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