Arbeiter Chronometer
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  1. #1
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    Arbeiter Chronometer

    Hey guys,

    I have had a watch for around 20 years in a sock in a safe and last night I said I wonder what this watch even is. My uncle gave it to me years ago and said he “Got it from the war.”

    Here is the write up from the most detailed write up I found translated.
    Description: Metal pocket watch with the designation "Arbeiter Chronometer", with patent specification, the work bowl is decorated in relief representation of three men, on the edge inscription: "Workers of all countries unite in defense of your rights", on dial Lunette: "We want 8 hours to work - 8 hours to train us - 8 hours to rest us, "Enamel dial with Arabic numerals, small seconds, gold plated hands, gilded movement with Roskopfhemmung, intact (4758), D = 53 mm

    Can any of you guys tell me anything about it? I have found VERY little about it on the internet. I'm just as interested in its story as it's value.

    thank you for any help you can offer
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  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Welcome to Watchuseek! The first question would be: which war?! I presume WWII (taken off a German POW?!) but by that time, it would have been anything but new. It looks more like around WWI, perhaps before (the pin setting certainly suggests it) but perhaps a little afterwards. Both periods were times when the workers started to fight more for their rights and this is a commemorative watch for this. Apart from the pictures and the inscriptions, it is a rather mundane watch of low value that was probably worn by the ordinary workers. The work "Choronometre" on the dial is worth nothing - a chronometre is normally an extremely accurate watch but this is far from it. The word should be taken in the literal sense: chronos = time, metron = measure, i.e. a "time measurer" or just 'timepiece'.

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Welcome to Watchuseek! The first question would be: which war?! I presume WWII (taken off a German POW?!) but by that time, it would have been anything but new. It looks more like around WWI, perhaps before (the pin setting certainly suggests it) but perhaps a little afterwards. Both periods were times when the workers started to fight more for their rights and this is a commemorative watch for this. Apart from the pictures and the inscriptions, it is a rather mundane watch of low value that was probably worn by the ordinary workers. The work "Choronometre" on the dial is worth nothing - a chronometre is normally an extremely accurate watch but this is far from it. The word should be taken in the literal sense: chronos = time, metron = measure, i.e. a "time measurer" or just 'timepiece'.

    Hartmut Richter

    Well that's pretty depressing information. How can a watch that old not be worth money! And I would have been keeping it not selling it. What do you think it'd cost to put a new stem in? I'd like to show it off working. WW2 is the war I was referring to.

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  5. #4
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by chucktowndcroz View Post
    Well that's pretty depressing information. How can a watch that old not be worth money!
    Age does not necessarily add value to a watch. Mechanically, this is a low-grade working man's watch. One would hardly expect haute horologie on a watch emblazoned with the slogans of the international labour movement. As such, it has more value as an historical artefact than as a watch.
    Chascomm
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  6. #5
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    It’s hard to comment on the stem when you’ve not shown us the movement nor told us why you think it needs a new stem.


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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirius View Post
    It’s hard to comment on the stem when you’ve not shown us the movement nor told us why you think it needs a new stem.
    There is no stem lol

  8. #7
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by chucktowndcroz View Post
    There is no stem lol
    Then you certainly need one. What is holding the crown on?

    Movement photo will tell it’s own story about where you want to go from here.


  9. #8
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    A lot of questions with not so much information. Translations largely correct.

    You could have at least opened the back to show the movement (easy to do). So, I must fill the gaps with what I know about the historical background (recently updated by a TV-show).

    This watch was made in Switzerland on the occasion of the workers' congress in Paris 1889 and thereafter. There was a limited number of them, 50,000 altogether. There are also replicas floating around. The movement could be a Cortebert, perhaps a Unitas movement, perhaps... Perhaps there are three letters 'JFC' on the movement, which would then stand for Juillard Freres, Cortebert – Cortébert is Swiss a city and the brand name used, but my crystal ball is out for service.

    As a matter of fact, there was not only one workers' congress in Paris, but two at the same time by two different political trends.

    If I could see a full picture of the writing, I would be able to see if the word 'Verteidigung' (defense) was spelled Vertheidigung (the old German language spelling up to a certain date) or already 'Verteidigung' as it is spelled nowadays.

    We do not make valuations here, but such a watch in good and running condition was presented not so long ago at a TV show. The expert was not very enthusiastic, the dealers (to whom you can sell the stuff to) even less. The watch is nothing special in an ocean of such pocket watches still around, made before, at and after that date.

    As a collectors item (the watch itself), it's not in particular demand, perhaps for historical reasons, but the socialistic workers congress is not so spectacular as an event.

    And without a stem, what shall I say…

    Perhaps the stem is not missing at all and you have just overlooked that the watch is a pin-set, so the crown does nothing with regards to setting without pushing that pin (with or without a stem) and I also wonder what's holding the crown. On such a watch, you do not pull the crown for setting, but it remains in position. Perhaps it is fully wound up and got stuck.

    The seller in that TV-show was somewhat disappointed as I remember, and he must have felt along the lines of your comment ' How can a watch that old not be worth money!' It IS worth money, but not more as it is worth in comparison to the rest. Moreover, the designation 'Chronometer' is just a joke here. A chronometer, as already explained in a post before, is a technical quality description for a highly precise watch, but this term has been misused especially in times before this quality label was protected and reqired a certification.

    I guess you can leave it out of the safe and enjoy the looks of it.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:44.
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  10. #9
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by chucktowndcroz View Post
    Here is the write up from the most detailed write up I found translated.
    Description: Metal pocket watch with the designation "Arbeiter Chronometer", with patent specification, the work bowl is decorated in relief representation of three men, on the edge inscription: "Workers of all countries unite in defense of your rights", on dial Lunette: "We want 8 hours to work - 8 hours to train us - 8 hours to rest us, "Enamel dial with Arabic numerals, small seconds, gold plated hands, gilded movement with Roskopfhemmung, intact (4758), D = 53 mm
    Where did you find this "write up" of your watch?

    I'm particularly curious about the "Roskopfhemmung" description, given that Border-Reiver has described a watch like this as containing a jewelled-lever movement.
    Chascomm
    Moderator, Russian Watches & Chinese Mechanical Watches Forums
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  11. #10
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Arbeiter Chronometer

    Quote Originally Posted by Chascomm View Post
    Where did you find this "write up" of your watch?

    I'm particularly curious about the "Roskopfhemmung" description, given that Border-Reiver has described a watch like this as containing a jewelled-lever movement.
    Correctly observed! I think this is all more or less useless guesswork until we see a movement shot, which should have been provided in the first place. There are so many replicas of this watch around, and this could be one of them.

    Besides, a Roskopf Hemmung makes the designation 'Chronometer' even more a joke.

    I was referring to the logo of Cortebert below (JFC), which could be found on the movement, but there could be others.
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    Last edited by Border-Reiver; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:03.

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