Beginner qs
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Thread: Beginner qs

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  1. #1
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    Beginner qs

    Hi all,
    I recently bought a little pocket watch at an auction. Seems to work nicely except 1) it stops sometimes, and when shaken, goes again 2) can't seem to get to the end when winding
    I took it to a jeweller to get looked at and their watchmaker quoted me $190 to fix it, and warned the fix might not be permanent and it could go back to stopping at any time. Am I likely to get a cheaper quote somewhere else or is that normal? I was thinking like maybe $50. I mean, I only paid $15 for the thing (plus a random dress ring which was in the lot with it).
    How long does it normally take to wind up a pocket watch? I was winding and winding for about two hours (while watching transformers on TV) and never got to a point where there was a resistance. It happily kept click clicking away as I wound it. Eventually gave up and went to bed
    Also is it likely to be worth anything? The case is made of a dark grey/brown metal, with a thin ring of copper-coloured metal around the dial, and copper-coloured hinge bits and case-opening bit (assuming that's where you jam the knife in to get the back open, ans there are some scratch marks near it), and little drops of gold (paint?) in between the hours to indicate half-hours. The watchmaker said he found a mark on the movement that indicates it's from 1860-1890. No brand name on the dial.
    I really like it, as I have been wearing it on my lanyard at work so I know the time when I'm off at meetings and things (there are virtually no clocks on the walls at work, I hate wearing watches, and with the weather warming up I've taken to wearing dresses so no pockets for phone). If it does stop working (it has had correct time since I got it back from the jeweller yesterday), am I likely to find a similar antique pocket watch that has been serviced for $100 or less, and how would I go about finding one for sale, from a trustworthy source? eBay ones may or may not run well, and the only clock shop I know of in Canberra only sells new ones and they are hideously expensive (plus I like antique better anyway as they have a bit of personality).
    Thanks if you can answer any of my questions. I'd love to start being a collector if I can find any more of them

  2. #2
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumcat View Post
    Hi all,
    I recently bought a little pocket watch at an auction. Seems to work nicely except 1) it stops sometimes, and when shaken, goes again 2) can't seem to get to the end when winding
    I took it to a jeweller to get looked at and their watchmaker quoted me $190 to fix it, and warned the fix might not be permanent and it could go back to stopping at any time. Am I likely to get a cheaper quote somewhere else or is that normal? I was thinking like maybe $50. I mean, I only paid $15 for the thing (plus a random dress ring which was in the lot with it).
    How long does it normally take to wind up a pocket watch? I was winding and winding for about two hours (while watching transformers on TV) and never got to a point where there was a resistance. It happily kept click clicking away as I wound it. Eventually gave up and went to bed
    Also is it likely to be worth anything? The case is made of a dark grey/brown metal, with a thin ring of copper-coloured metal around the dial, and copper-coloured hinge bits and case-opening bit (assuming that's where you jam the knife in to get the back open, ans there are some scratch marks near it), and little drops of gold (paint?) in between the hours to indicate half-hours. The watchmaker said he found a mark on the movement that indicates it's from 1860-1890. No brand name on the dial.
    I really like it, as I have been wearing it on my lanyard at work so I know the time when I'm off at meetings and things (there are virtually no clocks on the walls at work, I hate wearing watches, and with the weather warming up I've taken to wearing dresses so no pockets for phone). If it does stop working (it has had correct time since I got it back from the jeweller yesterday), am I likely to find a similar antique pocket watch that has been serviced for $100 or less, and how would I go about finding one for sale, from a trustworthy source? eBay ones may or may not run well, and the only clock shop I know of in Canberra only sells new ones and they are hideously expensive (plus I like antique better anyway as they have a bit of personality).
    Thanks if you can answer any of my questions. I'd love to start being a collector if I can find any more of them
    Hi and welcome

    First the mainspring is broken, hence you could wind from now till the earth freezes over and nothing will happen, as the mainspring is not charging up.

    Second $190 is not an unfair price. A craftsman work is not based on what you paid for it, but his knowlededge and time to repair, I would expect him to cover his work for at least 6 months.

    To answer more we need pictures of movement. dial and inside case.

    Hope that helps
    A
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    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Hi, how long does it keep time for, as if it is the mainspring broken it should not run for more than a few seconds.
    Your watchmaker is wrong when saying his "fix" might not work for long if it is the mainspring, and any repairer of watches worthy of the name would know this.
    My opinion is to find another watchmaker, one who is competent.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Hi there,

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbee View Post
    .... if it is the mainspring broken it should not run for more than a few seconds.
    Depends where the spring is broken. Springs often break near the welding spot at the outer teminal, and then the watch will well run a couple of hours.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
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  6. #5
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumcat View Post
    How long does it normally take to wind up a pocket watch? I was winding and winding for about two hours (while watching transformers on TV)
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  7. #6
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Normally you wind up just a few minutes. The ending of the fether seems to slide but still build up some power. It's impossible to diagnose movement problems by a discribtion or a few fotos. This usually only can give hints. In every case its easy to pay very fair 190 Dollar or more for a repair especially if parts have to be rebuild. With watchmakers its the same as with haircutters...find the good and fair ones who knows their job and like pocket watches. For standart watches the repair cost often are above the actuell market prize.
    This tells yo the big prize difference of well running served watches between official dealers with return option and private sells. As well as the term: needs some TLC drop the prize painly. This should be in your mind if you want to start to collect pocket watches or vintage. Sometimes you've luck and buy a treasure wich just need some cleaning and sometimes its really dead metal for ever/spare parts. You can look carefully but see nothing. For example I've old tinkering where the feeds of the still orginal dial are cut away because the "watchmaker" dont know how to loose them. 150 years of use and not everywhere a trained watchmaker race up a adventurous diversity of "repairs"/destroy especially by watches mase for simple using. On top the faction of Ebay sale painter.
    But beyond the line its a gread fun and I've also find a lot of personal treasures. My watchmaker has no chance to forget his handcraft and all my watches are special and every peace my best .


    1.You can just buy NOS expensive high end watches who lives since generations in a box. This is very expensive but amazing if your buget alows it

    2. You can buy quite expensive well working watches by auctions or seroius sellers.

    3. You can gamble in the bay/flew markets and try to learn something about "do it yourself" in addition with a watchmaker

    Just my two cents
    Silke
    Last edited by SilkeN; October 18th, 2014 at 22:30.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Impossible to say much without pictures. The winding "issues" just sounds like your watch has a mainspring with a slipping bridle; you can wind it forever, it just unwinds itself when it gets near to fully wound. That's unusual in most pocketwatches, but was one of the innovative features in a "Roskopff" watch (which was a type of very inexpensive watch quite common in the late 1800's.

    Pictures. Post pictures.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Thanks for your replies everyone. Here's some pictures of the front and back:
    Attachment 1759842Attachment 1759866
    I'll go to another watchmaker and see if they sound more confident about their work (like guaranteeing for six months as mentioned). I'd really like to know though, if what I have is a cheap piece of junk or something nice. Like if you had a car that was quoted $1000 to fix. You'd want to know if it was a piece of crap that would be likely to break down again soon and is a money vacuum (in which case better to spend the $1000 on another car and send this one to the junk yard, assuming it wasn't the car your grandmother learned to drive in or something), or if it's a reliable car that will carry you and your family around for years to come (where you wouldn't be able to get nearly such a good car for $1000, and definitely worth fixing). I read the sticky that says no valuations - but is it possible to ask "junk or decent"? Does the lack of brand name, and the fact it's not made of any kind of precious metal suggest junk?
    To bobbee - it kept time for about 36 hours, with a little winding in the middle and the hour/minute hands don't go while winding. It stopped last night and wouldn't go for more than a few seconds despite shaking and winding. It started again about half an hour ago after I picked it up to look at it (no shaking or winding, just started out of the blue)
    Last edited by Quantumcat; October 19th, 2014 at 02:33.

  10. #9
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumcat View Post
    Thanks for your replies everyone. Here's some pictures of the front and back:
    Attachment 1759842Attachment 1759866
    I'll go to another watchmaker and see if they sound more confident about their work (like guaranteeing for six months as mentioned). I'd really like to know though, if what I have is a cheap piece of junk or something nice. Like if you had a car that was quoted $1000 to fix. You'd want to know if it was a piece of crap that would be likely to break down again soon and is a money vacuum (in which case better to spend the $1000 on another car and send this one to the junk yard, assuming it wasn't the car your grandmother learned to drive in or something), or if it's a reliable car that will carry you and your family around for years to come (where you wouldn't be able to get nearly such a good car for $1000, and definitely worth fixing). I read the sticky that says no valuations - but is it possible to ask "junk or decent"? Does the lack of brand name, and the fact it's not made of any kind of precious metal suggest junk?
    To bobbee - it kept time for about 36 hours, with a little winding in the middle and the hour/minute hands don't go while winding. It stopped last night and wouldn't go for more than a few seconds despite shaking and winding. It started again about half an hour ago after I picked it up to look at it (no shaking or winding, just started out of the blue)
    based on that, I suspect it really needs cleaned and serviced.
    The original oils have all gummed up.
    It ran initially but now they are just not working at all (the oils)
    The mainspring is probably not broken, but slipping, hence it does not stop winding.

    I strongly suggest you get the watch serviced, prior to trying to "shake" it into life.
    Adam
    bobbee likes this.
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  11. #10
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    Re: Beginner qs

    Sorry, the attachments or links don't work for me. Can you try to repost them?

    Whether it's worth fixing the watch depends on the movement inside. It is of great importance that you open both back covers and show us a picture of the movement. If the back is hinged, you should find a small notch in the case back close to the winding stem that allows you to get a fingernail in and pry it open. You can also use a sharp knife but you need to take all the greater care not to injure either yourself or the watch.....

    Hartmut Richter

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