New to the Forum and a Question

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  1. #1

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    New to the Forum and a Question

    Hello all, I imagine some will recognimze me from the SCWF. I don't know much, if anything at all about pocket watches, but I recently purchased a pocket watch from a popular auction site and I would very much appreciate any information any of you might be able to share. According to the seller this 18K watch is about 1 1/2" wide and circa 1849. I am fairly certain it may be missing the interior dust cover (so this observation will not hurt my feelings one bit). The watch appeared to be in very good condition for the represented age, and I thought it would be neat to add an old 18K gold pocket watch to my collection.

    Thanks in advance for any words of "ws" dom.

    Doug
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    Last edited by dbadcraig; November 9th, 2008 at 23:24.

  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    Hi -

    Welcome to the forum! I can't help you out much, being way too new-fangled for the pocket watch stuff, but hopefully one of the resident PW folks can fill us in...

    JohnF
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  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    Well I'll start off. The movement is a LeCoultre style bar movement (Swiss probably) which was popular from 1840 to about 1885. Does the case have any hallmarks on its inside back cover?

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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  5. #4

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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    John-

    Thank you kindly. I searched the past posts and the Internet. It appears that this is fairly generic and low grade movement (Swiss ebauche), most likely mid 1800's, as evidenced by the straight barrel bridge and it is not a particularly valuable watch, but it will be my oldest watch if the seller has it dated correctly (and from what I can tell he does). I like the hunter case, and the engraving seems farily well done. By enlarging the seller's photos it appears to have 4 visable jewels (so it may have as many as 8 jewels). The seller reports seeing only the maker initials JG on the inside of watch, The missing dust cover, no dobut held most, if not all of the identifying information.

    If it is indeed 18K gold and if there are at least 11 grams of 18K gold in the case (and I am guessing there is at least that if not more) I did not get hurt too bad in terms of my first venture into the 1800s watches. Speaking of melt value, I wonder if the dust cover on the watch was gold as well, if so, perhaps some previous owner, fallen on hard times, broke it off and sold it for the gold content? Also, I am wondering with gold at $770 an ounce how many of our fine and historic vintage watches are being harvested as melt?

    Doug

  6. #5

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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    Well I'll start off. The movement is a LeCoultre style bar movement (Swiss probably) which was popular from 1840 to about 1885. Does the case have any hallmarks on its inside back cover?
    Ray,

    Thanks. Don't you just hate guys like me that ask questions without having the watch in hand! Sorry, but I just bought it this afternoon and it will need to be shipped to me. The seller mentioned only that it was stamped 18K and marked "Waranteed Fine Gold". I know that manner folks referred to metals sometimes can give clues as certain phrases fall out of fashion. However, my efforts to date the use of this phrase were fruitless.

    Very kind of you to start the ball rolling. When I get the watch, I will look very carefully and will post more detailed photos.

    Doug

  7. #6
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    It's just that 1849 is a pretty exact date and we don't usually get that sort of precision with Swiss made watches unless it has a British Hallmark on the inside of the case. Even a dust cover may not tell you anything beyond whether it's a cylinder or lever escapement.
    The main problem with these types of watches is getting parts and service.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  8. #7

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    Re: Updade to New to the Forum and a Question

    Ray (and any others who may be interested in sharing their knowledge)-

    I now have the watch in hand and I have taken some (hopefully) better photos.

    Here's some more information. The watch is, based on the movement size, a US size 10. The case measures approximately 41mm. The watch case, front and back and the movement are marked "JG". The JG mark on the movement is inside a shield and a small star appears above the JG mark on the movement.

    The watch is an English speaking market watch based on the F and S on the regulator. I am no expert, but I would say that the watch has an updated regulator lever and jeweled end cap (the four visable large jewels in the watch are a pale purple color, whereas the jeweled cap on the balance is more of a red ruby color) and the regulator lever itself might also be a replacement.

    The hour and minute hand do not appear to be an exact match, both appear to be old, but because of the different shapes and the lack of strong blue (as appears on the hour and second hands) on the minute hand, I am guessing the minute hand is a vintage replacement. The watch is indeed, as I suspected missing the movement's dust cover (as is revealed by the original interior hinge on the case). What the watch lacks in originality, it makes up for in terms of function, it is running strong and keeping good but quite loud time. So the watch was well maintained (and shows at least a half dozen light watchmakers' inscriptions on the inside back cover).

    The case is very likely solid gold (showing evidence of two acid tests), and it is not a very thick case (as one would expect on a plated case). The seller stated the watch tested out at 18K and I have no reason to doubt him. Apparently it was common prior to 1906 for US watches to not have a karat designation. There are no hallmarks.

    To my eye the engraving appears to have been very well done, but perhaps for the era, very pedestrian. I would welcome an honest evaluation of this.

    I may already know all I will ever know about this watch. I tried to search out information on the maker's mark "JG" and the search proved fruitless. But I would be very appreciative of any additional information.

    Thanks so much-

    Doug
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  9. #8
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Updade to New to the Forum and a Question

    The bridges remind me of a Swiss movement... probably generic for a generic market. Certainly looks like a generic dial and case.

    Nice workmanship. Hard to find anything like that today in a consumer product.
    "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!

  10. #9
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    Re: Updade to New to the Forum and a Question

    Well, it has a lever escapement
    & (if the dial plate is jewelled as per the bridges/ cocks) 15 jewels.

    Kind regards

    Aditya

  11. #10
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    Re: New to the Forum and a Question

    I'll second Aditya as to it being a lever escapement probably with 15 jewels. I think it's a very good quality mid-19th century Swiss watch.

    The comment about melting down gold watch cases is very true, common in bad economic times as we are in now and very common in the Great Depression. Unfortunately the movements were often ripped out of the case with pliers and thrown in the trash. You can bet that many watches have been trashed in the last year.

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