Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

Thread: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

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  1. #1
    rik
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    Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Hi, I'm Rik and I've just popped over from the Breitling forum to tap into your knowledge please.

    Someone at work wants to buy her husband a pocket watch and asked me what I know about pocket watches . . . which is just about nothing!

    She wants a solid gold one (not plated or rolled), 'half-hunter' (small window in the top cover?) and has narrowed the brands down to J W Benson and Waltham after some research on the net.

    Any comments? Where would be the best place to look/buy? (I'm naturally suspicious of the bay but I think she's happy to use it) Are we talking new or used (I don't even know if the brands are still active, off to Google in a second! ) and what sort of price ranges are we looking at?

    ANY help would be appreciated, I'm starting from square zero here!

    Cheers.
    The buck doesn't even slow down here.


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    rik
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Oh, any other brands to look out for?
    The buck doesn't even slow down here.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    JW Benson was a British jeweller that made their own watches up to WWI and sold other companies watches under thier private label name until the 1950s (I think) when they got bought out

    Parts availability would be a concern to me for the pre WWI pieces and might be for later pieces depending on what movement was in it.

    American and Canadian railroad grade pocket watches are considered the top end of pocket watch manufacturing over here in North America. We have long lengths of rail track shared by trains going in both directions so accurate timekeeping has always been very crucial. However, readability was paramount and hunter cases were specifically excluded form the approved list. You can read about them here: http://www.ashlandwatches-jewelry.co.../RAILROAD.html

    Waltham was such a large producer that parts are still available for most movements. Elgin is another brand that falls into that category.

    Hamilton (manufactured in USA) is very high quality too, but you might have trouble finding hunter cased solid gold Hamilton.

    One decision she should make, is how large she wants it. No kidding. 18S pocket watches are HUGE

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  5. #4
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Gold half hunter cases are going to be hard to find and will be expensive, to say nothing of the movement. If you get into 19th Century English pieces you better know a good watchmaker if something goes wrong. Waltham and Elgin are good American possibilities, as bj has already posted.
    I'd be very hesitant to buy a really expensive watch off eBay unless the seller is a true antique watch dealer and has impeccable references.These are some online dealers who are worth browsing like Darlor Watch.
    The other thing to remember is that these types of watches are antiques, not daily use wearers. You need a chain and a vest pocket, or some sort of fob to hold in order to keep them safe. They don't have dust or shock protection and they must stay away from any sort of moisture. They aren't really a gift that's appreciated unless the recipient is a pocket watch nut, frankly.
    It might be better to suggest a nice 1950s gold wristwatch.
    Last edited by Ray MacDonald; December 4th, 2008 at 22:50.

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  6. #5
    rik
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Thanks for the info so far - been looking at the links and articles and googling around and it seems we're into real 'vintage' watch territory here. Found an interesting nugget about the fact that cases and movements were often manufactured separately and put together by the 'retail' jeweller to the buyer's request - never knew that.

    Not sure if vintage is really what she's after but she is after a pocket watch. Her hubby is in the forces and has recently been promoted, the watch is to go with his 'mess uniform' (?) so he will have the necessary pockets etc I gather.

    As usual a WUS forum has not let me down, any other pointers/suggestions for perhaps a less 'specialist' purchase?
    The buck doesn't even slow down here.


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  7. #6
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Does it have to be what you ask SPECIFICALLY? Because, as Ray and a couple of others have mentioned - It is going to be hard. Solid gold cases aren't as common as they used to be, which makes them more expensive, and neither are half-hunter cases.

    If I know anything at all about army uniforms (I take it this is the British Army?), I'm sure he'll find a suitable place to put the watch, and it would look smart on him - but I'm not sure about the kind of watch he wants. It seems to me that it'll be hard to find. And once found, very expensive. And then you have to find a suitable watchmaker for it - and that's not easy - expert watchmakers are few and far-between these days.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

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  8. #7
    rik
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Not sure if it has to be exactly the brands specified but I think she does want gold. The brands may have been ones she has picked up from the net. But I'm really just trying to pick your collective brains. And yes, he is British forces but not sure exactly which branch.

    Might be a stoopid question but does anyone make good quality modern pocket watches these days? I've seen £100-200 ones in local jewellers but I guess she's looking for something a bit special.

    (PS - Like the Holmes quote - some of my favourite reading)
    The buck doesn't even slow down here.


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  9. #8
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    If money is quite literally no object, then Patek-Philippe have a line of gold and silver mechanical pocket watches in their catalogue, as do some other watchmakers, such as Tissot and...I think the other was Breuget.

    Or, you could have her purchase a high-quality antique American pocket watch with an open-faced case.

    While I can understand the appeal of the hunter case watch, the fact is that the more moving parts there are, the more there is to break. I'm thinking specifically of hinges, springs, catches, latches, buttons...Open-face watches don't have those, which makes maintenance easier, I would think. But then, if this is a military man, he might be doing a lot of moving around and that might call for a hunter case watch.

    Is he using it as a day-to-day timekeeper? Or is this just for special occasions?
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  10. #9
    rik
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Thanks for the leads - I would never have thought of looking at Tissot, wouldn't have got past the t-touch range! I'll pass them on.

    I assume that it will be just for times when his mess uniform is required.

    I will pass all this on today at work and report back but any more info will still be appreciated. Thanks again.
    The buck doesn't even slow down here.


    www.croctesting.co.uk

  11. #10
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Appeal for pocket watch help please guys.

    Really something like a Hamilton 992B would be a perfect choice. They made them as late as 1965 or even after that (Ron in PA would know exactly). These are railroad grade, modern pocket watch design and just a great watch all round.
    Last edited by Ray MacDonald; December 5th, 2008 at 19:04.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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