Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

Thread: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

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  1. #1
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    Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    Ok, so I've had these for a while and they aren't the most stunning examples of private label watches, but I am interested in the men behind the names on these watches.

    The first is a Waltham, movement marked Jean Tack (I believe). Unsubstantiated google information shows him as the city timekeeper for Newark, NJ. The only information I can find on this is information that Steve Mercer published.

    This particular watch is listed in his "WALTHAM MODEL 83 PRIVATE LABEL OBSERVATIONS", chapter 149:

    serial #3355947 is listed as an 1887, Grade No. 1, 7J, Side winding, Hunting style watch with a gilt movement and single sunk dial marked Am. Watch Co., Waltham

    It was apparently sold on Ebay in 2005. I can't find the listing, but I bought it in Stillwater, Ok from a clock repairman a few years ago.

    Any info on Jean Tack would be greatly appreciated.

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    This second watch I can't find any information at all concerning the name.

    It's an 1890, grade 70, 15J, B.W. Raymond, Lever set Hunting style movement

    Private name on dial appears to me as "John L. Finch" it also has the number 32 with a small underlined zero after it (I have no idea what this could mean).

    I bought this a few years ago at a local sale. It needs some work The gentleman said it was housed in an 18k solid case which he sold for scrap in the late 70's.

    I would love to hear any and all insight on these watches!

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  2. #2
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    Re: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    Ok, so after giving it some serious thought, I think the number on the second watch's dial might actually mean 32nd degree. As in Freemason. That would kind of make the bi-color name make more sense too, but I still can't find anything on John L Finch.
    Last edited by guy0783; July 7th, 2013 at 15:10.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    Is the Finch applied or fused into the enamel on the dial?

    Interesting watches but I know too little to be of much help.
    "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!

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  5. #4
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    The Finch name looks to me to be hand-painted on the dial. The red and blue coloring is a dead giveaway for this. This work was done by the jeweler at the time of sale, and was typically customized to the original owner(some are seen with a simple name, others with more elaborate artwork). Unfortunately, you might find this one to be a bit of a dead end unless you can figure out where the watch was originally sold and trace the name through the directories there.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
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    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  6. #5
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_hutcherson View Post
    The Finch name looks to me to be hand-painted on the dial. The red and blue coloring is a dead giveaway for this. This work was done by the jeweler at the time of sale, and was typically customized to the original owner(some are seen with a simple name, others with more elaborate artwork).
    Agreed, but it detracts NOT at all from the watch. Agreed?
    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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  7. #6
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    Re: Help with a couple private label pocket watches?

    Yes, the name definitely appears to be hand painted. Do you think there is any merit to the mason assumption?

    My father-in-law tells me that mason's are able to use different colors in their signatures corresponding to their position in freemasonry.

    I don't know anything about it, but it sounds plausible to me and it's the only credible explanation for the numbers I've found so far....maybe just a mason who wanted his name and standing on his watch?

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