Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?
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  1. #1
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    Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Just picked up a nice looking vintage Longines-Wittnauer watch on the bay and I'm a it disappointed as it was sold as a "solid 14K" watch however there is some brassing on the back and a small chip inside so...it can't be "solid 14k"...

    I'm going to have a word with the seller about that, but I was wondering if anyone had any insight on the hallmarks used by Longines, here is the one inside the case of this watch :



    Without having the watch under your eyes, this hallmark would seem to qualify as "solid 14k"...

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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Nothing there says 'solid' to me. I would say this was 14kt gold-FILLED.
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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Thanks, well in my (admittedly) short experience with Gold hallmarks, it is generally spelled out when the watch is plated or goldfilled. On the solid gold Bulova Accutrons it says "14K Gold Case" for instance.

    I guess the "trick" here is the little "thingy" between 14K and GOLD, what looks like an L (or E?) in a circle and maybe with a small p (for plating?) on top of the L/E.

    I looked up Longines hallmarks but couldn't find this particular one
    Last edited by webvan; July 20th, 2009 at 14:19.

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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    When sold in the US, Longines did not encase its products in Switzerland. The movements were shipped to the US and encased locally. Thus they follow US law.

    I believe US law prevalent at the time of encasement required products which are not solid gold to be labeled as such. If it is solid gold, its purity must be noted. Thus, I would read this as solid 14kt gold. (I think this is still current law.)

    What was assumed to be a hallmark is actually the foundry mark. US law does not provide for hallmarks.

    I may be wrong but, if I am, I trust others will correct me.
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    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Thanks for the insight, unfortunately looking up "14k foundry mark longines wittnauer" on Google didn't yield anything of interest.

    So you would have also assumed "solid gold" like I did when I saw the pictures and the seller too I suppose, except that when you have the watch in your hands you can see it is not solid gold, with the brassing and the chips being the telltale, both being impossible for solid gold, right ? Not to mention the general aspect.

    Seller got back to me, maintains it is solid gold, want to talk on the phone...
    Last edited by webvan; July 20th, 2009 at 14:44.

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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    I would think it's a solid gold watch from that photo also. If it were plated, it would say how thick the plate is (ie 20 microns). If it were gold filled, it would say 14K gold filled or rolled gold plate....something like that. Eeeb is correct in saying that the markings in that picture denote a solid gold case. The only thing missing (and it frequently was on American cases) is the .585 purity percentage of 14K. Here's the inside of my 1964 Longines Diamond Dynasty that's solid 14K white gold:



    The symbol next to the 14K mark is from the case manufacturer.

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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Thanks for pitching in guys, not sure what to think now...I've taken some pics that will hopefully shed some light on this :

    Close-up view of the "foundry mark", almost looks like there is a 5 in there, 5 micron plating ?




    Chips :





    "Brassing" :



    "Foundry Mark" in the back, this time with only an L inside the circle

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    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Quote Originally Posted by webvan View Post
    Thanks for the insight, unfortunately looking up "14k foundry mark longines wittnauer" on Google didn't yield anything of interest.

    So you would have also assumed "solid gold" like I did when I saw the pictures and the seller too I suppose, except that when you have the watch in your hands you can see it is not solid gold, with the brassing and the chips being the telltale, both being impossible for solid gold, right ? Not to mention the general aspect.

    Seller got back to me, maintains it is solid gold, want to talk on the phone...
    Wear points on gold may take a slightly different color but they should not be brass colored... you can polish the rest of the lug and if they are the same color it is not brassing. (The alloys in gold can oxidize causing a slight color shift. Polishing should remove that oxidation... wear is an extreme case of polishing.)

    As to chips... I am not sure what that means. I have had what looks to be delamination of gold plated and rolled gold watches... that's the base metal showing through. But that usually occurs as a line along a wear point.

    Mechanical stresses that cause 'chips' in metal should cause chips in gold metal. I do not see why gold would be immune. But I associate chipping with very hard metals which 'flake' off when stressed at a point.

    You may be seeing dents in the case and think that is a chip. Almost any case can dent.
    "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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    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Ah great photos... this is marked as a solid gold case. The lugs certainly look brassed ... try polishing as I mentioned in the other post.

    The white metal on the edging might be 'transference', i.e. white metal that rubbed off onto the gold. Again, polishing will show the true nature of the case.

    You may have a fake 14kt gold case...
    "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!

  11. #10
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    Re: Longines-Wittnauer 14k hallmark - solid or plated ?

    Thanks, actually the lugs are not too bad, in the "brassing" picture I was trying to show the discoloration in the back of the case, just above where the "clip" is located.

    Don't have much in the way of polishing equipment here, but the "chips" really look like plating that has come off, I have an old plated watch that has the same problem.

    Fake gold case, eh ? Just my luck !

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