Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method
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  1. #1
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    Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Rose & Son - London pocket watch - 30 years tucked away out of Chicago jeweler repair shop. I find a paper liner inside the case.

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    Watch is key wound, and I don't have a key, so I don't know if it runs. Would like to figure out how to find a key that fits.

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    I decide to tweezer the liner paper out and I find other onion-skin thin scraps behind the green liner.

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    The inside case is stamped 43. Handwritten ink in beautiful script, probably German, is written on the scraps of paper. Also a 1984 repair note by my late father-in-law, the Chicago jeweler. Can anyone read what the German printed on the green liner paper says? I delicately unfold the scraps to see if anything is legible.

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    Fabulous handwriting, though not enough length in the scraps to translate much of anything, especially for context about why the note is inside the watch case.

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    I still haven't figured out how to get inside the case to see the movement, not sure I want to experiment with opening it. But then, holy cow!, I turn one scrap over with my tweezers and find something I can translate: a handwritten date, 1854. I knew the watch was old, but I have never had such a rare opportunity to approximate the date.

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    Of course, the paper date is not the gold standard, but ah, what a rush. The story inside this watch will probably never be clear. I still have to get inside to the movement via a watchmaker, I think, and find a key to wind it, and replace the missing ring at the top of the knob, and learn about Rose & Son - London, but such a trip. I had to share it with you people who are interested in watches. I'll update if I get a movement pic, and hopefully some of you out there can help me understand this watch's history.

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    mikmis, mkws, bobbee and 5 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    I would say, that the 1854 written on this piece of paper might be a year when this watch was serviced- it isn't necessarily the date of manufacture. Can't read the script in German.
    The fancy handwriting on the other paper is also impossible to read- even though mine, also slanted in a similar way, and also full of decorative "loops", can hardly be read by anyone but me.
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  3. #3
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Thats pretty cool. You can get a cheap set of mixed winding keys on ebay.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Güstrow is a town in north Germany.
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    eBay for winding keys, I'll check it out. A mixed set would solve my problem of finding one to match the size of the mechanism. Thanks bsshog44.

    And as for handwriting, mkws, we might have to post our own samples! There's nothing decorative about mine

  7. #6
    Member Apollonaught's Avatar
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Interesting Pocket watch,I dont think the green paper is related to pocket watches at all,i think the second line translates as "fresh from,racht"where the "racht"will be a town name,so mabye an old cheese or cake wrapper.....
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  8. #7
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Very neat watch. I'd be interested to hear more about this Colorado-Chicago connection you've got. PM?
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Quote Originally Posted by Apollonaught View Post
    Interesting Pocket watch,I dont think the green paper is related to pocket watches at all,i think the second line translates as "fresh from,racht"where the "racht"will be a town name,so mabye an old cheese or cake wrapper.....
    Such a great insight, thanks for the translation. I'm beginning to think the papers were added to the case as a cushion, to keep the watch from rattling in the outer case, which it does now that I've removed them. Kind of like a packing layer of the mid-1800s. Apparently the PW crossed the channel at some point in history and perhaps belonged to someone in Germany.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    Quote Originally Posted by JackW View Post
    Very neat watch. I'd be interested to hear more about this Colorado-Chicago connection you've got. PM?
    My wife's father haunted the Chicago watch and jewelry buyers' markets in the early1950s and early 1960s. He owned and operated Arlington Jewelers in Arlington Heights. I met my wife in the early 1970s and thus knew him. He died in the late 1990s and his stash got split up between the kids. My wife was kind enough to dibs a bunch of the watches. Lucky me.

  11. #10
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    Re: Old pocket watch reveals a novel dating method

    The handwriting is called 'Suetterlin', an old German handwriting, which was often used parallel to the normal writing. It was taught in schools from 1915 to 1940 and later between 1952 until 1954. It's not difficult to read for someone who knows, especially elder people. There are lots of specialists around, who are needed to read old documents. It is part of any study of German philology. The city of Guestrow is in the North of former East Germany close to the shores of the Baltic Sea.

    The watch was most likely brought into the United States by German immigrants.

    This type of writing was not used in 1854 and the idea to come up with a new style of fonts, was created in 1911 by the Prussian Labour and Culture Ministry and forbidden again by the man with the little mustache and his evil friends in 1941. So, this number, is certainly not a date/year.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; November 26th, 2015 at 18:33.
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