Besides the inherent quality and history of so many watch brands manufactured years ago, there is also one factor that tends to even be more important - the human element - that a watch was part of someone's life for a few years or a lifetime. That the watch was a cherished possession handed down, given for years of service, bought on a lark, given as gift, or even won in a card game.
Last year I picked up a very nice Eternamatic Birks Challenger, circa 1951.
One the back was inscribed "Norbert W. Schratz, Aluminum Securities Limited, 1960". I bought from a Canadian seller, and I knew that the large jewelry chain, Birks, sold branded Eterna watches.
Given how unusual the name was, I did a Google search and came up with not only a name, but a face and a little history. Company is long-gone, but his war records and photo were posted. How cool was that? I posted something about my watch up here on WUS.
Jump ahead to a few weeks ago, when I get this email from WUS:
"Hello: I was just told by my sister that my father Norbert Schratz's war records were available on line, and while Googling I came across your reference to my father's watch! I'd love to hear the story behind it if you happen to know. Norbert was born in Pittsburgh and worked his whole life for Alcan in Montreal, retiring from there around 1980. He got another watch at that time I think. He died a couple of years ago. I don't know anything about the watch you have, but I'm glad it's in good hands. Cheers.
Paul Schratz, Vancouver, B.C."
We had a nice discussion and I tried to research where the watch came from before me, but nothing is really known as to how it may have left his hands (card game? ).
I offered to sell the watch back to the family for what I paid for it and the offer still stands.
This incident made my day!