Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

Thread: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

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  1. #1
    Member parrotandpitbull's Avatar
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    Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    I bought a watch on ebay last night. Item # 170575415523, in case you would like to take a look. I bought it for looks, primarily and the works looked fine. Its a plain old Handsome steel Croton 17 j with a linen dial. I have nothing else like it in my collection and it aso reminded me of my father. He wore a solid gold Jaeger Lecoulte with a solid gold band (that looked like linen-I dont know what they are called) so why it reminded me of him, Im not exactly sure. Yes, I get the linen connection. Maybe I should say, men of his generation.But my real point is this: I look on WUS and google before the end date and I enter everything I can think of to tell me the quality of said watch. I have a notion that Croton is mid level good, but beyond that, nothing much. My searches really dont tell me about the quality of said watch or even of Croton in general. What resource does? It would be immense I guess but, it could be a brief description of all the major and minor brands. Am I doing something wrong in my searches? I hope to hear back something that might help in future. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    Nice snag! The discoloration on the dial leads me to believe that the lume might be radium, as it seems to follow the hands (there's a "clean" spot in the middle where the lume doesn't go).

    Books, at this point, tend to be the best source of data. I think you got a great deal; my 2002 Shuggart (a good guide for gauging the relative value of watches) lists a 17j "day Date" model in a gold filled case for $40; Stainless is usually seen as worth "more" then GF. Shuggart also lists a number of Croton two-register chronographs from the 40's, and several other interesting designs from the 30's and 40's. Nothing past '48, and notably the chronos are only listed at $195 and $200; typical prices for otherwise unremarkable two-register chronos in that edition.

    There's a bit of history here: Croton Watches_1
    But it's mostly marketing spin.

    From US Trademark registries, the Croton name (in the U.S.) was first registered to "Horowitz, William C., NYC" in 1931 with usage claimed since 1920. A new company (Horowitz & Son., NYC) started registering various other names in 1941, but didn't register Croton. The Croton name itself was subsequent re-registered to "Croton Watch Co., Inc, NY" in 1949, with usage since 1929. The three companies are linked in the registry, which implies that they (the Horowitz's) considered the brand significant enough to create a separate corporate entity for.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  3. #3
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    I've never followed Croton, so don't really know much about the brand. My general impression just from osmosis during my extensive vintage research over the past several years, is that Croton was never a real "player" in the world of watches during the vintage wristwatch heyday of the 1930s through the 1960s. Croton appears to be more of a footnote than a chapter in vintage history. Shugart lists nine Crotons in my No. 28 guide, compared to seven for the near-invisible Helbros, and 140 for Waltham (wristwatches only). I would place them closer to the bottom of the totem pole than the middle along the quality spectrum.
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
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  5. #4
    Member Chris Hughes's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    I have a nice 50's era Croton Nivada Grenchen that has a beautiful Swiss movement flashed in rose gold like a Rolex. It's a fantastic little watch and the movement is at the high side of "middle grade." I'll post a few pictures if I remember next week. I think there are some nice Croton values to be had out there, but I wouldn't buy any Croton made after about 1965 as the quality tails off pretty badly from that point forward.

  6. #5
    Member parrotandpitbull's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    Abslom -you hit the nail on the head when referring to spin. No real information on the web or even here. So is Shugart "the book"? Its odd in all these years Ive been collecting its been,"name brands".by coincidence really. Once I recently started to collect vintage Soviets, all bets were off. But my tastes have changed over the years as well. What I want is a book or reference that says good watch, bad watch. And what information there is is conflicting. Nivada Croton = good, Croton = okay. Croton is supurb? They are ...they arent, the same company. Now I have my eye on a Cyma, before ebay Id never heard of it, but it seems to be top drawer? I dont really want a price guide, so much as what Ive described, if it exists. Ill Google Shugarts and find out what it is specifically, maybe it will answer some of my needs. And Abslom, thanks for the validation of my choice. Im impatiently awaiting its arrival.

  7. #6
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    Re: Search Engine for Vintage Watch Quality -- Am I doing something Wrong or......

    A good bet is to classify everything with a movement of 7 jewels and up as somewhere in the mid-grade.

    Many watch brands, including Croton, Helbros, and CYMA made watches that spanned the high and lows of the mid-grade.

    Some made certain models that became famous, but otherwise are relatively unknown.

    Your Croton is a Swiss hand wind 17 jewel AS 1194 (or related) in a stainless steel case from about 1950s (based on style).

    As a good and very common ebauche movement in a good quality case, I would place it firmly in the middle of the mid-grades.

    It has a form of shock protection that isn't Incabloc so is a little interesting.

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