Need some help - Defiance

Thread: Need some help - Defiance

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  1. #1
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    Need some help - Defiance

    I have a pocket watch that I inherited from my Grandfather, who in turn got it from his brother who had served with the British Army in South Africa in 1900.

    The watch case back is stamped "Defiance" & "Warranted 10 years," there is a serial number: 1315763 and to the left side a hand engraving that looks like F.C. SS89 The "SS" looks more like two lightning bolts.

    I have been thinking about getting the watch repaired, it still runs but gains about 4 mins in 24 hours.

    Can anyone help with identifying the watch and commenting on whether it is worth getting it repaired, or whether I should just keep as is. There is more history attached to the watch chain, as it has a piece of shrapnel removed from my great uncle with a small shield stating "S. Africa, 1900."
    Thanks,

    Huw
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  2. #2
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    Nice heirloom!

    Defiance is the model of the watch case, not the entire watch. The case was made by the Star Watch Case Co, which started business in 1897. Your case is likely from between 1900 and 1920, certainly before 1924 when case makers were no longer allowed to mark the cases with the number of years warranted before wear through to base metal. Defiance was a medium quality case, above the 5 years warranted and below the (thicker gold layer) 20 years.

    Hopefully someone will recognize the movement.
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

  3. #3
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    Thanks Erik, it's the movement that is the puzzle as no where can I find a marking that might indicated provenance - as you see from the pictures there is no text on the watch face.

    I'm not sure whether the watch was in S. Africa or whether that came a little later, but I think this relative went on to die in the Great War or some other turn of the century conflict. Regrettably, it is not clear how it passed to my grandfather. Most of the men were in military service and only he and another brother lived beyond 1918. So, I am guessing the watch must come from very late 1890s, but before 1918 which is consistent with your comments.

    Thanks again,

    Huw

  4. #4
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    Any marking on the plate underneath the balance?
    Erik_H
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  5. #5
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    The only markings are the SF you can see on the movement picture. To the side, on the rim of the back case appears to be the numbers 575 and then what looks like the top part of the number 2. You can see these just to the left of the balance wheel. Hand engraved in the rim of the front glass, inside, are the Roman numerals V VII V II.

  6. #6
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    This watch will obviously require the TLC of an expert watchmaker. Unfortunately as Erik says, all we can say at the moment is that it was probably made before 1924 (after which time, it was illegal to put the 'gauranteed X years" onto a watch-case, possibly because such information was potentially misleading).
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  7. #7
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    Thanks for your help - I guess my question is really whether it makes sense to have watch repaired / serviced or should I just keep it as a memento? I am not convinced I would use it, but I guess I might if it were brought to a point where it kept reasonable time.

    If serviced, does it make sense to get new hands, including a new second hand to replace the absent one? What sort of cost would this be - I know it probably depends on location, but I'd like to be able to have a coherent conversation with anyone capable of servicing the watch and know what to expect and not expect in terms of work that might be done and how bits might get repaired or replaced. Is there anything that I should insist is not done as part of the repair / TLC?

    Sorry for sounding so mindless, if it were an analogue camera I'd have a better sense of things both mechanical and in terms of what should / could be done.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    A watch in this poor a condition will need considerable and expensive servicing.

    You have to clean the dial. Clean the movement. The case. You have to find a replacement seconds hand, you have to polish the crystal, the movement must be disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, reassembled and regulated...

    This is a fair bit more than an ordinary "C.O.R" ("Clean. Oil. Regulation").

    Not knowing the quality of the watch, I have no idea what kind of time it will keep once it's serviced. If it's a decent watch that will keep good time, then it's probably worth it. But if on the other hand, it's a cheap dollar watch that was designed to be chucked out once it died, then I wouldn't bother.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  9. #9
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: Need some help - Defiance

    As it still is functional you could always get it cleaned and serviced, if you state your location it will be easier for someone to recommend a watchmaker. However if you don't intend to use it then you could just keep it as a heirloom. I would not attempt any cosmetic restoration of the dial, which is probably enamel. It would detract from it's heirloom status. The hands could be restored or changed for not much money. Or it could be kept as is. Second Boer War?
    Erik_H
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    prize winner

    Yup! This is the correct answer to last week's movement ID challenge. One of Langendorf dozen plus brands. L was one of the "Swiss Elgin's" to the masses - building very nice upper midmarket product all the way to the absolute best "RRF's". Great runners, nice finish - no snobbery. An equal opportunity brand offender.
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