Nineteenth Century Pendant Watches

Thread: Nineteenth Century Pendant Watches

Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1

    Nineteenth Century Pendant Watches

    I've attached a scan of an old oil painting I'm having restored. The portrait is of my great grandmother, who was born in Ireland and died in New York City in 1896. The portrait was made in America. Beyond that, we know very little about her. One small clue may be the pendant watch she's wearing. She must have been proud of it. Are there any pendant watch experts out there or can someone direct me to an authoritative source?

    1. The image is certainly vague, but is the watches' style recognizable?
    2. Was her's likely to be an American or European watch?
    3. How widespread was their use in the Victorian Era? Presumably they were the feminine equivilent to pocket watches and fobs.
    4. How relatively expensive were they (i.e, was the quality and price range as wide as it is today)?
    5. Were there any contemporary social conventions regarding their use?
    6. Who wore them? Were they symbols of class or vocation? A friend thinks that they were commonly worn by school teachers, nurses and other employed women.

    Because of their connection to my great grandmother, I'm interested in learning more about the technology and history of pendant watches. Anything that will bring life to her portrait would be wonderful.

    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images


  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Almonte ON Canada
    Posts
    23,771

    Re: Nineteenth Century Pendant Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by rspring View Post
    I've attached a scan of an old oil painting I'm having restored. The portrait is of my great grandmother, who was born in Ireland and died in New York City in 1896. The portrait was made in America. Beyond that, we know very little about her. One small clue may be the pendant watch she's wearing. She must have been proud of it. Are there any pendant watch experts out there or can someone direct me to an authoritative source?

    1. The image is certainly vague, but is the watches' style recognizable?
    2. Was her's likely to be an American or European watch?
    3. How widespread was their use in the Victorian Era? Presumably they were the feminine equivilent to pocket watches and fobs.
    4. How relatively expensive were they (i.e, was the quality and price range as wide as it is today)?
    5. Were there any contemporary social conventions regarding their use?
    6. Who wore them? Were they symbols of class or vocation? A friend thinks that they were commonly worn by school teachers, nurses and other employed women.

    Because of their connection to my great grandmother, I'm interested in learning more about the technology and history of pendant watches. Anything that will bring life to her portrait would be wonderful.

    Thanks!
    1. Sorry but it's almost impossible to tell anything from a photograph where the watch picture is so small, other than it's an open face pendant watch.
    2. If she lived in the US for some time then it's probable it was an American watch. If she had just arrived when the photo was taken, more likely to be European. Back then American watches were higher quality than say Swiss.
    3. Certainly more men than women wore/carried watches in the Victorian era although the pendant watch was common enough as a gift.
    4. A pendant watch is just a smaller version of a regular man's pocket watch. I'd say most were a bit cheaper because they didn't make them railroad grade - probably a 15 jewel pendant would have been considered a fine watch for a lady. However the real cost of a finer watch was in the labor needed for adjustments not the material. Ladies pendant style watch movements were the first wristwatch movements as well.
    5. Other than wearing them on a chain or on a brooch type fob, I can't think of any social conventions.
    6. I think just about any woman who either bought her watch or received one as a gift would wear it. Teachers and nurses of course, but there were far fewer ladies in the workplace back then and there are a fair number of pendant watches around. My great aunts (the unmarried ones) worked in a bank so they had them.
    Thanks for your post.

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

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
    •