My mother has given me my father's collection of pocket watches which belonged to both his mother and father's families. My father died 6 years ago at the age of 80. In some instances my grandfather (who died in 1959) had attached notes to them with what information he knew about the source of the watches within the family. I have no tools (other than a Leatherman) for getting into the watch movements. Even for those I can get into, I see no dates, except those included in engraved inscriptions. On e-bay the antique pocket watches are listed with a date--where'd they find it? Maybe my magnifier isn't good enough?
I've listed the 8 pocket watches on my profile. There are two Elgins, and I don't know how to get into their movements to do research--I see seams but no hinges.
I think the most interesting of the lot is a "Time Study" Swiss Jeanneret watch. Another has no makers marks on it, but the tag from my grandfather says he earned the watch selling Larkin soap. Any ideas on who would have made it? Again, I see no obvious way to open the back and see the movement. When he graduated high school in 1908 (per inscription) he was given a pocket watch from the Rockford Watch Co. with Bristol movement, and all kinds of marks on the movement and the case interior. This must have been his favorite, as it still has a picture of my grandmother taken at about the time of their marriage, post WWI.
Unfortunately one of the pocket watches was sent to my father by a vindictive nephew-in-law, who just tossed it into an envelope and mailed it. It is still bright gold, but the crystal was ruined and the hinge on the front of the case was broken. It belonged to my great grandfather, who died in 1927. It is a rather small Hampden, and some one hand-etched "c. 10/12/49" in it. Surely they don't mean 1849? It has a Dueber Diadem movement, and many marks and numbers. It's a pretty watch, and it is too bad more care wasn't taken in its handling.
What I'd really like to know is, does anyone know of a knowledgeable appraiser in the Pacific Northwest? I understand their value may be minimal, especially in today's market, but if there is something I should insure, I'd like to know it.
As stated, I'm an absolute beginner with this topic, but I'm a collector of all kinds of stuff (certain genera of garden plants, Depression Glass, Hall China, pink flamingos, botanical prints, garden-themed costume jewlery--I collect a strange assortment), and this may be the start of yet another collection. Having said that, I would probably get rid of the watches having little value, just to thin the herd and learn something along the way.
Enjoy your gardens,