"Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

Thread: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

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  1. #1
    Member Francois Boucher's Avatar
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    "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Recently, on another forum, someone asked about this pocket watch, claimed to come from his grandfather:





    A watchmaker/collector then showed a similar item:





    Note the identical serial numbers on the calibers (847129)… "Norwich" is not a known watch manufacturer. In fact, the only list where I found this name lists the casemaker "The Sun Watch" with a similar logo to a Swiss watch Co. named, according to that list, as "Nowitch": Goering; Händler f¨r Uhengehäuse; registriert in Österreich am 3.2.1909; La Chaux-de-Fonds, Schweiz.

    Note also the three-armed, uncut balance, the poor finish and assembly of the bridges, and the small number of stones (I can see only the balance stone)…



    I believe this is an example of the "Fake" Swiss imports from the beginning of the XX Century, as discussed in Complete Price Guide to Watches, Engle T, Gilbert RE, Shugart C; No 29: 2009; p.97, and here, and on this forum. I may be all wrong…

    Complementary questions:
    1. Are there examples of legitimate three-armed vintage balance wheels?
    2. Does the presence of screws (other than the timing quarter screws or nuts) on a vintage balance-wheel always mean that it's temperature-compensated, and should therefore always be full-cut?

    I am not an expert, and I would very much appreciate any comments or more information about this pocket watch.
    Last edited by Francois Boucher; March 21st, 2010 at 19:55.
    François – Quebec City, QC

  2. #2
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    In the early part of the 20th Century, Swiss watches were looked down on because they were not as well made as English ones. It would be unusual for a British maker to advertise that it was Swiss. I think the script is American and that Nowitch is a typo.

  3. #3
    Member Francois Boucher's Avatar
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomshep View Post
    In the early part of the 20th Century, Swiss watches were looked down on because they were not as well made as English ones. It would be unusual for a British maker to advertise that it was Swiss. I think the script is American and that Nowitch is a typo.
    I agree with that typo hypothesis... However, many seraches have not unearthed any "Norwich" watch company (only mentioned in one unsourced list on the Internet as Goering…).

    However, I strenuously object (…love that lawyerly expression!) to your comment about the lower quality of Swiss watches: "…they were not as well made as English ones"

    Brandt, and others such as PP and IWC, made very high quality movements. I have myself posted examples here of RR-grade Brandt chronometers from the turn of the Century. Brandt/Omega chronos were approved by the Canadian RR companies, and they certainly had nothing to envy from US-made watches…

    I believe that the protectionist law passed in 1871 by Congress may have limited the importation of high-grade movements from Switzerland and other countries. But I am not sure: I'd really like to be able to read the actual text of this law…
    Last edited by Francois Boucher; March 21st, 2010 at 19:43.
    François – Quebec City, QC

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  5. #4
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Ooooh, "solid electroplate"!!

    We have had a few threads on Swiss fakes. Someday in the future a watch forum will have a thread on old Chinese fakes
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  6. #5
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    The "Geneva watch" was indeed reviled for being cheap and of low quality.
    They gained their market position on price, not quality. That came later. England and America were where good watches were made.

  7. #6
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Early american pocket watches didn't have bimetallic cut balances (thinking early Walthams which were made with a simple steel balance, with three arms). But by the 1870's, I think most American watches used the expansion balances.

    As for screws, only some of the screws are meant to work in conjuction with the expansion. Others are used for timing and poising. On good quality balances, the timing screws are made of gold, while the rest are usually made of bronze or steel.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  8. #7
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    Early american pocket watches didn't have bimetallic cut balances (thinking early Walthams which were made with a simple steel balance, with three arms). But by the 1870's, I think most American watches used the expansion balances.

    As for screws, only some of the screws are meant to work in conjuction with the expansion. Others are used for timing and poising. On good quality balances, the timing screws are made of gold, while the rest are usually made of bronze or steel.
    And on balances of exceptional quality the screws are Platinum whilst
    the quarter nuts are gold...and they are 'Freesprung'. No need for micro-
    regulators here.

    English work mid 19thC.......


    Last edited by radger; March 22nd, 2010 at 02:13.

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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Here is some info on swiss fake.They tried to make them look like US made movement they would miss spell the US Name like Hampton watch co but this was how the US one was spelled Hampden.I bought one once that looked like a Waltham 1857 keywind it looked mint did my home work after the fact was lucky got my money back they are collectible but not if you over paid for it.Then in 1871 congress passed a law requiring all watches be marked the country of orgin then the swiss made the print so small that you could not see it but it on the movement was there they did follow the law Now by 1900-1910 they were not sold in the USA.
    Last edited by river rat; March 23rd, 2010 at 13:21.

  10. #9
    Member ltri's Avatar
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by river rat View Post
    Here is some info on swiss fake.They tried to make them look like US made movement they would miss spell the US Name like Hampton watch co but this was how the US one was spelled Hampden.I bought one once that looked like a Waltham 1857 keywind it looked mint did my home work after the fact was lucky got my money back they are collectible but not if you over paid for it.Then in 1871 congress passed a law requiring all watches be marked the country of orgin then the swiss made the print so small that you could not see it but it on the movement was there they did follow the law Now by 1900-1910 they were not sold in the USA.
    I have seen many on ebay like a swiss Hormiton trying to make it sound like Hamilton or even worse a fake swiss trying to fake another swiss brand like Longune written on the dial to make it sound like Longines.
    I'm a watchbreaker not a watchmaker.

  11. #10
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: "Fake' Swiss pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by ltri View Post
    I have seen many on ebay like a swiss Hormiton trying to make it sound like Hamilton or even worse a fake swiss trying to fake another swiss brand like Longune written on the dial to make it sound like Longines.
    Longreene, Omeqa, Oreint, etc, etc, etc. There was a lot of that from the Swiss cheapies and from Hong Kong in the 1960s-80s. The bogus brands. But they are quite distinct from the fake-American watches made in Switzerland in the 19th century.
    Chascomm
    Moderator, Russian Watches & Chinese Mechanical Watches Forums
    (no, I am not going to list all my watches here)

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