Need help identifying pocket watch

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  1. #1
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    Question Need help identifying pocket watch

    I recently bought a pocket watch and I'm wondering what brand it is. The only thing the watch itself shows is a 3 inside a diamond in on the dial which appears to be the logo, on the back is what looks like a monogram with the letters RN, and engraved on the inside of the back cover is a stylized B and a crown.

    UPDATE

    I've found out that the hallmark on the inside of the back cover is of German origin, from anywhere between 1886 to present day (crown and crescent moon). Also, here are some clearer photos with the movement and the hallmarks (as best as i could get them) included:

    Last edited by vcuauhtemoc; September 7th, 2010 at 04:15.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Is this a known old watch? Do you know any history?

    Check with the stickies at the top of the forum for some ideas.

    A pic of the insides (see previous sentence) would be nice.

    I will say if this watch is an exceedingly rare and valuable watch, these pics are hiding that nicely... And I don't mean that as a criticism of your photography.

    More data, better answers!
    "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!

  3. #3
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Is this a known old watch? Do you know any history?

    Check with the stickies at the top of the forum for some ideas.

    A pic of the insides (see previous sentence) would be nice.

    I will say if this watch is an exceedingly rare and valuable watch, these pics are hiding that nicely... And I don't mean that as a criticism of your photography.

    More data, better answers!
    I checked everywhere in the movement (without taking it apart), and the only engravings it has is an ornate pattern on the plate holding the balance wheel and the serial number '9322'. No brand names or any other writing for that matter. I doubt this is a rare watch, as the guy sold it to me for $50 at a flea market (it currently needs cleaning however).

    --EDIT--

    thanks for pointing out that guide, the hallmark on the inside of the case indicates that it's German .800 silver anywhere from the late 19th century to present day (crescent moon and crown). there also appears to be a bird hallmark with a bushy tail, followed by a boxed 0.800 and what looks to be just a small dash. Unfortunately it's difficult to take a picture of this, since the silver is highly reflective.

    here are some better quality photoshope this helps.
    Last edited by vcuauhtemoc; September 7th, 2010 at 00:56.

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  5. #4
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Nice! The movement is a nineteenth century generic Swiss movement. The dial and hands appear to be in excellent shape. Others may be able to provide closer dating based on the styles.

    You won't pay for anything like a year of college on this but it's a nice watch for a collector. Pics of the hallmarks may say more about the case and thus the watch.
    "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: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Nice! The movement is a nineteenth century generic Swiss movement. The dial and hands appear to be in excellent shape. Others may be able to provide closer dating based on the styles.

    You won't pay for anything like a year of college on this but it's a nice watch for a collector. Pics of the hallmarks may say more about the case and thus the watch.
    Thanks for the info! I finally got a pic of the hallmark:


  7. #6
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    The logo that looks like a 3 is in fact a Z. Used for Zentra I believe after the 1920's but maybe belonging to others before then.

    See Mikrolisk - was Feines für die Tasche... - Das Informationsportal rund um die Taschenuhr!

    The B inside the case looks like that of the German company Bifora: http://www.mikrolisk.de/show.php/280/letter_B

    Could it be that the movement is 20th century?
    Last edited by Marrick; September 7th, 2010 at 10:52. Reason: clarification
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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  8. #7
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    The logo that looks like a 3 is in fact a Z. Used for Zentra I believe after the 1920's but maybe belonging to others before then.

    See Mikrolisk - was Feines für die Tasche... - Das Informationsportal rund um die Taschenuhr!

    The B inside the case looks like that of the German company Bifora: Mikrolisk - was Feines für die Tasche... - Das Informationsportal rund um die Taschenuhr!

    Could it be that the movement is 20th century?
    Both of those look correct, but how could the watch come from 2 different companies? Moreover, the hallmark is actually swiss??
    The top hallmark in the superimposed picture is 1882-1934, and the bottom one is 1934-present. I can't tell for sure which one it matches up to, but I'm guessing the top one, since it's surrounded by a diamond. (wishful thinking, maybe)

  9. #8
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Bifora started out as a jewellery store and next started making watch cases. See:

    bidfun-db Bifora_000: Bifora-Uhrenfabrik, Joseph Bidlingmaier, Schwbisch Gmnd

    This thread https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/hel...ch-141581.html includes a short history of Zentra by Mike Stuffler (who is away this week). To quote:

    ZentRA was a cooperation founded 4 Sept. 1927 at Berlin as the "Markenuhren-Verein". The ZentRA grew very fast and ended up with about 2500 members selling ZentRA watches. Almost in every German town there was a least one ZentRA dealer. Having 2500 members ZentRA was in the amenity to order in large quantities for reasonable prices.

    So, perhaps Zentra ordered the case from Bifora and maybe the movement from a Swiss company. The case may have been sent from Germany to Switzerland or vice-versa during the assembly process. In the UK, many silver cased watches have Swiss-made cases which were assayed in either London or Glasgow as the UK used special 'import' hallmarks and didn't trust foreign assay offices . But I'm ignorant about how these things were done elsewhere.

    Of course, if the movement really is much earlier (19th century) - and I know nothing about pocket watches - then that was before either Bifora or Zentra existed.

    Someone else may know more.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  10. #9
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Reading the other thread and the similarity of the 24hr dials
    in this watch and the other it is undoubtably a Zentra watch.
    Great info Marrick.

    So this cylinder watch is post 1927, I would have
    guessed circa 1915 before reading this.

  11. #10
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    Re: Need help identifying pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    Reading the other thread and the similarity of the 24hr dials
    in this watch and the other it is undoubtably a Zentra watch.
    Great info Marrick.

    So this cylinder watch is post 1927, I would have
    guessed circa 1915 before reading this.
    The dial is certainly pretty generic and from that period - I have seen it (with a different maker's logo, of course!) in an Omega and I have it myself (with red rather than blue minute markers) in a ca. 1930 Zenith.

    There is, of course, always the small possibility that the movement is from earlier and not original to the watch. On the other hand, I can see no blatant evidence of a "mariage".

    Hartmut Richter

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