Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

Thread: Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

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  1. #1
    Member Rob V.'s Avatar
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    Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

    Hi guys, first post here.

    So, I'm planning to buy my first pocket watch on Sunday. One of my antiques dealers (I buy a lot of cameras, I know a few ) has four pocket watches all at the same price. He has an Elgin, an Omega, and an Illinois Watch Co. The other one I can't remember, some minor Swiss brand. The Omega and the Illinois are the ones I'm interested in. They're both pre-1930, so the Illinois is definitely pre-Hamilton. Both have plain, gold filled open-face cases.
    The Illinois has a dial just like this one. The Omega looks pretty standard, arabic numerals with a minute track, no small numbers for the minutes. Both have seconds at 6. The dial on the Illinois is a bit dirty, but it can be easily cleaned. I already have a vintage Omega Seamaster Deville, so another Omega would be cool, but I really like the movements IWCo used to make. They are just beautiful.
    I want this watch for daily use, I will carry it 3 or 4 days of the week.
    The thing is, I haven't seen the movements. This guy usually sells good stuff, but he's a bit out there, so he won't let me open the backs unless I'm going to buy one on the spot, so I can't see them until Sunday. So, assuming both movements are in good shape, which one should I pick? If the Omega turns out to have a low jewel count (like some Omega pocket watch movements with 7 jewels) should I go with the Illinois instead? How do these two brands compare?

    Thanks,
    Rob

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

    Omega pocket watches came in a variety of "Grades", but if its a standard 15 or 17 jewel (unadjusted) then the Illinois is probably going to be a "better" quality for the same price.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  3. #3
    Member Rob V.'s Avatar
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    Re: Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    Omega pocket watches came in a variety of "Grades", but if its a standard 15 or 17 jewel (unadjusted) then the Illinois is probably going to be a "better" quality for the same price.
    Cool, thanks. I'll keep that in mind when I check the movements.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

    Hi Rob,

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob V. View Post
    The dial on the Illinois is a bit dirty, but it can be easily cleaned.
    Says who? The seller? Why doesn't he do this tiny job? Be sure, this is not one of the 0.0001% of metal dials which are just dirty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob V. View Post
    This guy usually sells good stuff
    Says who? The seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob V. View Post
    ... he won't let me open the backs unless I'm going to buy one on the spot.
    That's o.k. I'd also not let every customer open a watch before he had bought it. But I'd open him every watch to give him a fair chance to do right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob V. View Post
    which one should I pick?
    None! Playing down corrosion to a bit dirt, and telling that a movement is fine without giving a view, that is actually what some sellers do, but not the honest among them.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  6. #5
    Member Rob V.'s Avatar
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    Re: Going to buy a pocket watch. I need some advice.

    Hi Roland,

    Says who? The seller? Why doesn't he do this tiny job? Be sure, this is not one of the 0.0001% of metal dials which are just dirty
    Well, I saw it and it didn't look like corrosion, it just looked like it was a bit dirty, but I'll be sure to take a closer look. I didn't examine it closely to avoid looking too interested.

    Says who? The seller?
    I've bought quite a few cameras from him, Zeiss, Yashica and others, always in great shape.
    That's o.k. I'd also not let every customer open a watch before he had bought it. But I'd open him every watch to give him a fair chance to do right.
    He doesn't like people to handle stuff a lot because most don't buy anything, but i'm sure he'll let me inspect the movements. He's an odd guy, but he trusts me, I'm a regular customer.

    The dial looked like it just had some dirt on it, but I'll definitely take a closer look, he always has a loupe around. I'll also make sure to check the movements. Both were running, but as we both know that doesn't mean it's in great condition. I definitely won't buy it without having a look inside. I know a good watchmaker near my place who can service the watch and clean it. So as long as the movements are fine and the dial is not corroded, do you also think I should go for the Illinois?
    Thanks for the advice!
    Last edited by Rob V.; December 29th, 2012 at 10:56.

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