Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?
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  1. #1
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    Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Hello Chaps,

    A few days ago I was at my Grand Mothers house. While going through old things we stumbled upon this old pocket watch. There is no inscriptions on the pocket watch movement, what is visible are the hallmarks on the solid 9 rose gold case. To put a time frame on it, the pocket watch belongs to my Grandmothers' Grandmothers Uncle. When I was taking it apart to clean, on the reverse of the dial it is inscribed Gs Dubois Chaux de Fonds. Now I know Chaux de Fond is a very famous watch town in Switzerland but I can't find any info on Gs Dubois. Did they make only the dial, or did they make both the movement and dial? What is really fascinating is that the pocket watch is surprisingly slim, close to half the standard pocket watch in thickness. I can only assume that is a 15 jewel movement. The case was imported under the mark GS which is George Stockwell but that hasn't led me anywhere promising. Any help from you chaps will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.



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    Regards,
    Alexander

  2. #2
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Dubois (Philippe DuBois & Fils) founded 1785 is the oldest watch manufacturer (not watchmaker!) in Switzerland. They are not located in La Chaux de Fonds, but in the neighboring town Le Locle (both UNESCO world heritage sites for their unique city architecture related to watchmaking). At some stage, about 50% of the world production of watches came from that area.

    Dubois went out of business along with the quartz crisis. Thereafter, there have been Dubois watches on the market, made by someone else under that brand name (but manufactured in Switzerland using swiss parts and movements). In the year 2012, the brand was reactivated with private equity capital.

    The old 'maison' in Le Locle is still there, converted into a nice bed and breakfast hotel, whith some equipment and furniture from the old day still around.

    I don't know anything about 'GS Dubois' in La Chaux de Fonds, who/which can be anything, as Dubois ('Du' French for 'from' and 'Bois' French for 'woods/forest') is a common family name in the region of the French speaking part of Switzerland.

    The movement is a wristwatch movement put into a pocket watch case with a large spacer around, which also looks much too modern (but could have been changed at some stage). Movement and case could be many years apart. One would really have to see the watch from the front and other details to say more. Could be a 'marriage' (wedding) as the French call such things.

    The regulator, moved so much towards 'F' (faster) indicates the urgend need for a service. It also tells me that the movement does most likely not come from the French part of Switzerland, where it would be 'A' (avance/advance) on this side, but this is no firm rule.

    So what concerns the old and tradional brand of Dubois in Le Locle, this watch has no relationship whatsoever to them. Maybe someone will recognize the movement. Perhaps you are able to find some marking/s f.i. under the balance wheel, to pin that one down agewise.

    Also the timeframe ' Grandmothers' Grandmothers Uncle' is a bit vague. It could have been given to him at birth or bought at a later stage, which already puts it decades apart.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; April 9th, 2018 at 15:10.
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  3. #3
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Experience has taught me not to put too much faith in family stories about the origins about things like watches. Sometimes accurate, oftentimes wildly inaccurate.

    Photos of the hallmarks?

    Slim is what I’d expect given the large movement spacer. Sometimes referred to as Opera watches because they were slim enough to fit into a tight fitting dress waistcoat and the relaxed social setting didn’t require the accuracy of a large railroad grade pocket watch movement.
    Last edited by Mirius; April 9th, 2018 at 12:43.
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Border Reiver, thank you so much. Although we're no closer to finding the source of the movement I'm grateful for the info. Ill attach some pictures for you. What I meant for a time from is to emphasize that its quite old but I agree with you that its quite vague, just thought to include as much info as possible. So the case back is engraved with his initials EK.

    The steel insert and case is looking nice because I just finished polishing it two days ago, same with cleaning the dial. Before you freak out, the dial was already worn and I am absolutely ecstatic that it didn't get worse, but it looks much better. I still need to get a seconds hand - don't know where to get one of those as I'm from South Africa - get a new front glass and have a full service done. The movement is approx 28-30mm and the case is about 7mm thick. There is a serial number on the front of the movement under the dial but without knowing the movement manufacturer it's useless. From what i can see, there are no markings near or under the balance.

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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Thanks for your reply. The watch origins is not a story as the case back is etched with the owners initials which are EK for Edward Kennett. Hall marks are the usual GS for George Stockwell, an importer, 9k 375 for the gold, r in a round hallmark and the horseshoe or u in a cross shape. There is also a case number 363954 and service numbers L12483/9R.

  7. #6
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWatchGuySA View Post
    Thanks for your reply. The watch origins is not a story as the case back is etched with the owners initials which are EK for Edward Kennett. Hall marks are the usual GS for George Stockwell, an importer, 9k 375 for the gold, r in a round hallmark and the horseshoe or u in a cross shape. There is also a case number 363954 and service numbers L12483/9R.
    A clear photo of the hallmark would be much more illuminating which is why I asked for one. In the absence of one I’d guess at 1932.


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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Sure thing, here you go. I didn't post a picture at first because I didn't have one so I took one quick. Hopefully it is sufficient.


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    Regards,
    Alexander
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  9. #8
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Stockwell (George Stockwell), London hallmark, 9K 0.375, year 1912 date letter, my best guess, but that's only for the case.

    But what's inside, I don't know. This date would exclude a wristwatch movement as stated by me earlier, more a ladies pocket watch movement or a very small regular one.

    If that come together originally...? Perhaps the movement will also be identified.

    The replacement of the seconds hand should be no problem, especially as you will have this thing serviced anyway. Perhaps a little compromise concerning type and color.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; April 9th, 2018 at 15:52.

  10. #9
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    1912 certainly suits the case design. But seems a little early for the calibre. Wristwatches were being made at this point though largely with ladies calibres. But the dial foot screws are contemporary for that period and it resembles some trench watch calibres. I think Marvin springs to mind from old threads, not that I could ever find a Marvin with a calibre like that.

    We do have some people who are good with wristwatch calibres of that period so they may be able to offer an opinion.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Please Help Identify Pocket Watch Movement / DuBois?

    Mirius you are absolutely correct, well sort of. I quickly googles Marvin movements and I found and almost identical movement, the only difference, the location of the main spring barrel. The Marvin Series 362 is an almost perfect match. Thank you so much for your help, much appreciated!!

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