Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

Thread: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Posts
    53

    Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    I have a Silver .935 OF Pocket Watch which I can date the movement to 1897.

    The watch has the UK Retailers Name on the dial but the Hallmarks are all Swiss, I cannot locate any UK Import Hallmarks. The also rim has a Swiss bear hallmark

    The Bow also has what looks like a pair of pliers hallmark which I have never seen before.

    Does anyone know why a watch sold by a UK retailer would carry only Swiss Hallmarks and no UK Import marks

    Thanks to all even if you are just reading

    Name:  Watch Seek 1.jpg
Views: 3269
Size:  592.4 KBName:  WatchSeek 2.jpg
Views: 1210
Size:  503.1 KBName:  Micro 16.jpg
Views: 1662
Size:  562.4 KB

  2. #2
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3,601

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    It couldn't legally have been sold as silver without UK Hallmarks, so I find it hard to believe that the retailer would be so obvious about his flouting of the law. I would say that either the dial isn't original or the watch wasn't sold - it might have been a gift from the retailer for example.


  3. #3
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cheshire, England
    Posts
    149

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirius View Post
    It couldn't legally have been sold as silver without UK Hallmarks, so I find it hard to believe that the retailer would be so obvious about his flouting of the law. I would say that either the dial isn't original or the watch wasn't sold - it might have been a gift from the retailer for example.
    It couldn't have been legally sold in the UK without UK hallmarks, but it could have been sold elsewhere in the Empire without going through London.

    During WW1 the British government put a 33.3% tax on imports of watches to the UK and so various companies like Rolex, Rotherham and Sons etc. set up Swiss offices and sent watches direct to their outlets overseas, and this could be an explanation here, although I recognise that this watch seems to be earlier than WW1. Maybe the unnamed UK retailer had some overseas branches and the watch was sent direct to one of them from Switzerland?

    Another funny thing is that this watch seems to have the correct Swiss hallmarks (although there seem to be rather a lot of bears) but watches imported into the UK often don't have Swiss hallmarks, just UK ones.

    Regards - David

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3,601

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    Good points there David Watches designated for direct import into the UK tend to carry only UK hallmarks. I find it hard to believe however that anywhere in the Empire would allow UK hallmarks to be ignored? We don't know who the retailer is - did they have outlets in other non-Empire countries? A Paris branch for example would be a good explanation for the Swiss hallmarks and lack of UK ones.

    Three bears on the inside caseback(s), one on the rim(s) and one on the bow would be normal. I have no idea what the plier mark might be.


  6. #5
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cheshire, England
    Posts
    149

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirius View Post
    I find it hard to believe however that anywhere in the Empire would allow UK hallmarks to be ignored?
    UK hallmarks are only required on items retailed in the UK. During WW1 companies like Rolex, Rotherham and Sons etc. set up Swiss offices and sent watches direct to their outlets overseas, bypassing London and the 33.3% import tax. It's why Rolex opened their Bienne office in 1915. Prior to that they checked all watches in London before re-exporting them to the colonies - well documented. Check it out.

    Regards - David

  7. #6
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3,601

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    The import tax yes, that I understand. And now you say that, of course if the watches were not imported then there are only UK based assay offices. I'd not thought of that before. Interesting. Thanks.


  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Posts
    53

    Re: Imported Swiss Pocket Watch but No UK Import Marks Any Help Appreciated

    To everyone thank you very interesting posts and as usual it throws up more questions, so I thought I would give some more detail.

    When I saw this watch advertised, it was the movement that caught my attention which was unmarked but I believed it was an Omega movement.

    The inside of the rear outer also had a Warranty Paper for a service and was dated 16 August 1908, so like everyone I thought it was from that date. When I removed this paper the Omega hallmark was revealed so that verified my belief, then using the matching numbers on the case the production date could be pinned down to around 1897.

    Plus initial research into this UK Retailer revealed that they were an Omega reseller. I am doing them a slight diservice since they were Clock and Watchmakers in their own right and have left some historic landmarks in the City they were and still are located in.

    I apologise for not revealing the retailer but they still exist and I want to talk to them first, once I do then I will share this piece of information with everyone.

    The pliers hallmark I find puzzling so shall persevere in trying to find out what this is and shall share this if I get lucky.

    Again thank you all for the input and further references.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •