Art deco watches - things to watch out for
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  1. #1
    Member MisterV's Avatar
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    Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    As usual, a thread on here re-ignites my interest, and there I go...

    There seems to be quite a lot of "art deco" style watches on eBay in seemingly good condition.
    Some of them are more or less transparent - dial replaced during "service", new crystal, etc. I'm just wondering how much of a minefield this is, and how many of them are cobbled together from different parts.

    Case in point:
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    No movement or caseback pics so far, and not likely to happen. Seller sounds genuine, but well, that's not unfortunately an indicator (not a lot of references to watches, just seems to be a normal long-time eBay user), and he might genuinely not have more info.

    Supposedly: silver case, porcelain dial, everything original save the crystal and strap.
    I'm sure it's polished and all, but the carving detail is almost suspiciously sharp?

    The price is less than I would expect, though the size is smallish (31 x 35mm, which for a cushion case should actually be wearable for my small wrist).

    Any thoughts?..
    Last edited by MisterV; March 29th, 2018 at 16:03.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    There lies the issue on these watches. It is most likely not a cased at the factory Elgin watch and the dial looks older then the case. That looks like a 1890's to 1910's dial.


    It looks like it is marriage of a newer case and older ladies pocket watch. However I don't think is a franken watch. Wrist watches during the first 1decade that they started to become popular (1920's) were often super expensive to buy, however a wrist watch case and crown/stem that could convert your existing pocket watch to a "modern" wrist watch, was substantially cheaper so a lot of folks did this. I don't really have a issue with that because to me it is a historical conversion (and not a 150 year old pocket watch into a modern(2018) wrist watch and it most likely saved a good watch from being tossed in a chest. Plus these old conversions are some 90 years old now


    It could also be a watchmaker that had a bunch of these ladies elgin pocket watch movements and dials and case them to sell them (I am sure demand for ladies pocket watches flat lined in the 1920's)


    The only issue you might come across is that, without the movement pic, you might be getting a 7 jewel wonder (elgin bottom of the line movment) and not a 15 or 17j movement


    Good luck

  3. #3
    Member demonfinder's Avatar
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    Re: Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    I`d say the watch you`ve pictured is more Art Nouveaux (decoration usually based on more flowing -often plant or nature inspired designs)
    Art Deco designs were later and tended to be based on geometric,usually more angular designs which were less complex.
    As Art Deco watches were generally a later date they often had a higher jewel count and greater longevity and better timekeeping over a long period if serviced regularly.
    There were many decent brands that did great designs of both types ..always best to check availabilty of spares/possible that maybe needed to keep some of these pieces going in the future though..balances,mainsprings,setting levers etc.
    Hope you find a good example whichever style you opt for :0)
    Last edited by demonfinder; March 29th, 2018 at 23:02.

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    Re: Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    Sorry if my question is dumb, I'm learning.

    If that would be a pocket watch put into a wristwatch case then wouldn't crown be at 12 o'clock? If there is a small sub-second is it possible to move the crown from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock?

  6. #5
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    Quote Originally Posted by warrenbuffett View Post
    Sorry if my question is dumb, I'm learning.

    If that would be a pocket watch put into a wristwatch case then wouldn't crown be at 12 o'clock? If there is a small sub-second is it possible to move the crown from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock?
    A movement from a hunter case would work.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Art deco watches - things to watch out for

    As mentioned, the movement is probably from a ladies hunter cased Elgin

    Here is a 7 jewel hunter case ladies pocket watch that I got for a friend that wanted to make necklace with it. The pic if from the seller and is complete crap but the watch looked ok.

    You can see that the dial is the same.

    I do think whoever made this used later Elgin hands as they are the same as on my 1920's Elgin watch

    I am worried about the rust on the hands of that watch. They look like how my watch was before it was restored to working condition
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