A Quest for Silver
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  1. #1
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    A Quest for Silver

    In recent years, I've gotten increasingly interested in antique silver. It started off with a few pieces...and now I've got about a dozen bits and pieces all over the place.

    I'm currently on a quest to find a nice, silver pocket watch.

    So far, I have amassed...

    One sterling silver watch-stand.

    One sterling silver watch-fob.

    One sterling silver watch-chain with fob-drop.

    I have a specific size and style in mind, I just gotta try and FIND the damn thing, now. It has to be open-faced, sterling or higher, hallmarked, and at least 17 jewels. And it has to be crown-wind and set (pin set is also an option).

    Still searching. I've seen a few, but they're either too expensive, or not good enough. One Waltham (7j), one Elgin (15j and a broken mainspring, I think), and a whole heap of keywinders...but as yet, nothing like what I'm after.

    The hunt continues.

    Here's what I have so far:





    Pulled off the silver cover to hammer out the dents and then put it back together and polished it...



    The watch sitting inside is my first-ever pocketwatch. A Waltham 7j which I might sell. I'm not sure yet.

    The next thing I found was the watch-fob:



    Plain on the back, except for the hallmarks.

    Then I found the watch-chain today:



    Every link is stamped with a little lion. I popped my fob-medal on one end. Now I'm just hoping to find a watch, for the other end!
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    bsshog40 and Tremec like this.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  2. #2
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    That looks like a very nice start. So where are you thinking? Swiss, English or American?


  3. #3
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    With my luck, it'll probably be European, or American.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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  5. #4
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    All in all it sounds and looks "british style" around 1920 . I would go your silver path and look at the wathcase maker. The british Dennison or others make a lot of americans "convertible" cases. They usually are negative stem winders. This means the winding pin is integratet within the case. If its standardized search first to the matching case and look for british stuff were you get the best hallmarks. If is a wrong movement inside go on searching. It a long way to Amarillo...and not easy. It would be good if you find a lokal dealer with fair prices or out here anywhere.

    It looks big and depth ...may be you can ask after english center second chronographs also...the movements usually are not spectacular but good and they have a single position. This would complete my personal picture in mind to your start.


    regards Silke
    That's what I think about today:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlUGeY7MWVo

  6. #5
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    I'm not looking for anything elaborate. I want a handsome, decent-sized, silver cased pocketwatch. Open-faced, easily read, and with a high-quality movement. No complications.

    I'd probably end up buying a European or American watch. I don't know jack about British timepieces beyond some of the names.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  7. #6
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    My inclination would be to look for an English market Waltham.

    Many of these were in AB or ALD Sterling cases. A lot of them are 7j, but there are some more highly jeweled ones, and you can find SW/SS if you look hard enough. Learn to read hallmarks, as British Sterling cases generally aren't explicitely marked "Sterling." The convention is for them to bear the rampant lion to indicate sterling silver, a cartouche indicating the assay office(i.e. leopard head for London), a cartouce with a letter that references the year of assay(the city, font, case, and shape of the cartouche are all relevant), and a maker's mark(two or three letters) in a box. The usual format on the inside back cover of a pocket watch case is for these to be a sort of triangle or diamond with the the lion a top, the makers mark below it, and the city and date marks left and right of the maker's mark. Sometimes sub parts of the case-especially the cuvette and the pendant-will bear a partial set of hallmarks-if these are present these will always be the lion sometimes in combination with the city.

    Are you dead set on sterling? Most American watches were coin silver(.900 not .925), although many later 16 size cases were in fact sterling. Swiss watches are often .800 coin silver.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  8. #7
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    Not dead set. I would settle for 800 or 900, but 925 would be the ideal one if I can get it. I have no doubt that I'll be able to get one, the hassle is finding one that's worth buying.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  9. #8
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    I would go against the idea of a silver cased English Waltham. I never saw any high grade Walthams in ALD cases. Lots of gilt 7 jewel travelers. I would go for an Sterling cased American from the US. Better chance of at least a 15 jewel or better in a Sterling case. If you want English/Swiss I would suggest something from JW Benson in the late 1800's to early 1900's.

    Below is an example of a Waltham in an American sterling case. This is a 17 jewel watch so should be a better quality watch than most 7 jewels you may find commonly in an ALD case.


    P s Bartlett Waltham 18 Size Pocket Watch in Sterling Case from 1902 | eBay

  10. #9
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: A Quest for Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    I would go against the idea of a silver cased English Waltham. I never saw any high grade Walthams in ALD cases. Lots of gilt 7 jewel travelers. I would go for an Sterling cased American from the US. Better chance of at least a 15 jewel or better in a Sterling case. If you want English/Swiss I would suggest something from JW Benson in the late 1800's to early 1900's.

    Below is an example of a Waltham in an American sterling case. This is a 17 jewel watch so should be a better quality watch than most 7 jewels you may find commonly in an ALD case.


    P s Bartlett Waltham 18 Size Pocket Watch in Sterling Case from 1902 | eBay
    There are certainly better quality watches in AB and ALD cases

    I have an 18 size swing ring case that I bought empty, but has case marks for a '92 model Waltham-these were rarely lower than 17j, and most were better.

    I have an AB case that came with an(unfortunately) trashed 15j 1872 model Riverside. BTW, sterling silver 1872 model cases are unbelievably scarce and I've been offered eye popping amounts of money just for the empty case. I have to admit that I've been tempted, but then it's the only '72 Sterling case I've ever seen(and '72 cases are tough enough in their own right to find).
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  11. #10
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    Attached is an example of an Illinois 925/1000 sterling case I have. An 18S South Bend 323 Studebaker calls it home.

    I love the heft and patina of this case!
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