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Nick Palmer
08-13-2006, 02:01 AM
I have a pocketwatch given to me by my Grandfather before he passed away in 1978. It is marked "Porte & Markle, Winnipeg" both on the face and on the movement. The movement is also marked "15 jewels" and "3038164". The case is gold in colour, but no hallmarks are apparent, but the movement cover is enscribed "EMPRESS", a picture of a crown, "A.W.C.Co" and "961927"

I know that my grandfather emigrated to Canada (to find work) before the first world war, and when the war broke out he signed up to the Winnepeg Rifles. He served in france from 1915 through the war, but then returned to Britain to marry my grandmother. This makes me believe that the watch is about 100 years old. I have always assumed he bought it in Winnipeg.

Can anyone offer any more information about the watch, or the jewellers, or anything I should be doing to respectfully preserve my remaining link to my Grandfather?

Many thanks

Nick Palmer
08-13-2006, 02:01 AM
I have a pocketwatch given to me by my Grandfather before he passed away in 1978. It is marked "Porte & Markle, Winnipeg" both on the face and on the movement. The movement is also marked "15 jewels" and "3038164". The case is gold in colour, but no hallmarks are apparent, but the movement cover is enscribed "EMPRESS", a picture of a crown, "A.W.C.Co" and "961927"

I know that my grandfather emigrated to Canada (to find work) before the first world war, and when the war broke out he signed up to the Winnepeg Rifles. He served in france from 1915 through the war, but then returned to Britain to marry my grandmother. This makes me believe that the watch is about 100 years old. I have always assumed he bought it in Winnipeg.

Can anyone offer any more information about the watch, or the jewellers, or anything I should be doing to respectfully preserve my remaining link to my Grandfather?

Many thanks

Nick Palmer
08-13-2006, 02:03 AM
I forgot to mention that I know nothing about pocketwatches!!

harold
08-13-2006, 02:14 AM
I am sending you the web site where you can look up your grandfathers watch details. I could have done it for you but I think when you can find it it will give your more pleasure. By the way Winnipeg Rifles are a very old and respected Canadian Regiment. You should go to the Canadian Goverment web site and see if you can find his service record.

www.nawcc-info.org/walthamdb/walsernum.htm (http://www.nawcc-info.org/walthamdb/walsernum.htm)

Tom McIntyre
08-13-2006, 04:37 AM
Harold & Nick,

The AWCCo and Empress are marks for the Canadian branch of the American Watch Case Co. and do not designate a Waltham product. We would need to see a picture of the movement to make an identification. It seems to me that a lot of Omega/Regina private labels are found in these cases.

Kent
08-13-2006, 06:11 AM
Hi Nick:

Welcome to the NAWCC Pocket Watch Message Board!

Your watch seems to be a 'private label,' or 'contract,' watch. Just about all the watch companies, including the Swiss firms, would mark both the watch movements and/or the dials in just about any manner for any customer who wished to pay for the service. I don't have any exact references for the costs, but I've heard (read?) that, for some companies, if five or more watches were ordered, there was no charge for marking the movements. Special dials were said to cost 25 or 50 cents each. Some watch manufacturers were more liberal. Private label watches were contracted for by a large range of companies, from Sears, Roebuck down to the smaller jewelers in the little towns.

Upon googling "Porte & Markle", I found a picture of a clock, bearing the Porte & Markle (http://www.wainwrightmainstreet.org/station.html) name. The text says that Porte & Markle made the clock, but as in the case of your watch, I believe that Porte & Markle had it made with their name, under contract. I suggest that you search the Winnipeg business directories of a hundred years ago (give or take). They should be available in Winnipeg libraries. Or, find some kind soul up there who will search for you.

Meanwhile, as Tom said, your watch's case was made in Canada by the American Watch Case Co. (AWCCo). The American Watch Case Co. was a Canadian company and all of its cases were Canadian-made. However, this fact doesn't appear in their ads in The Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review and their address is listed originally on John Street and later on Maiden Lane, both in New York City. A 1908 Ad (http://photos7.flickr.com/10725891_f7ad241783_o.jpg) serves as an example. Canada, Mexico and the United States are all part of North America. However, I suspect that the American Watch Case Co. was so named as to give the impression that it was a U. S. company, especially in light of the fact that their plant location isn't revealed in their ads.

Empress was one of their grades of gold-filled cases. Only a small percentage of American watches (or Swiss watches for the North American market) were cased at the factories prior to the mid-1920's (even then, uncased movements were furnished to the trade at least until the 1960's). Most watch companies just made movements (the "works") in industry standard sizes. The case companies made cases in those same sizes. The practice at that time was to go to a jeweler, select the quality of the movement and then pick out the desired style and quality of case. The jeweler would then fit the movement to the case in a matter of moments.

Or, watches were sold by mail-order. Large outfits such as Sears, Roebuck & Co., Montgomery Ward, or T. Eaton (in Canada), would offer the movements in a variety of cases of different design and quality in their catalogs. Smaller mail-order retailers would case the watches, typically in a 20-year gold filled case and offer it only that way, with the buyer not having a choice of cases.

And as Tom also indicated, it would be helpful if you could post a picture of the movement (the "works"), the clearer and sharper, the better, other pictures will help a little, but this is the most important. We may be able to identify it by the shape of the plates. In trying to open the watch, you might find the information in How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" (http://k_singer.home.comcast.net/opening_pocket_watch_cases__k.htm), or Opening the Case (http://www.ozdoba.net/swisswatch/pocket_howto.html#open) useful.

Larry Jones has written up a useful article on Image Posting (http://www.larjones.com/data/imagehelp.html), which may be helpful.

Currently, Tom Chaudoir, the NAWCC Message Board Administrator, is recommending that those who do not have web space in which to post pictures register for a free account at flickr.com (http://flickr.com/register.gne). This may now open a Yahoo page, but it will still let you register to post pictures. Their menu-driven procedure for loading pictures is about as easy as it gets. After you enlarge the picture, using flickr's magnifying glass icon (the magnifying glass icon appears in a toolbar above the loaded & saved picture once you've clicked on the picture), scroll down below the picture to find the field labeled "1. Grab the photo's URL:" The link in that field is the one to post on the NAWCC Pocket Watch Message Board. Vic Rose has posted an excellent old ref::Description on How to Post a Picture on the NAWCC Clock Message Board, which of course also works on for posting a picture on the pocket watch message board.

If you have a problem posting the picture(s), you can attach it (them) to an e-mail to me (you can get my email address by clicking on my name in the upper left-hand corner of this post and viewing my Public Profile) and I'll post it (them) for you.

Its also helpful if you can post all the markings that are on the movement (the "works") in case they can't be seen in the picture(s).

Good luck,

Nick Palmer
08-14-2006, 09:09 PM
Thanks for all the information so quickly. Many thanks for the advice Harold, I checked out the serial number on the website that you sent. It claimed that the movement was first registered in 1887, so it is older than I first thought. My Grandfather wasn't born until 1888 in England! I'll try to fill in the missing details on the website as soon as I can get my head around the terminology. Thanks also to Harold for the tip about my Grandfathers service record. He is right in identifying the role of the Winnipeg Rifles. I have already obtained this when I visited the WW1 battlefields. His company spearheaded the final assault on Paechendale village at the end of that bloody battle. He also fought during the battle of Vimey ridge. He must have been lucky as he was one of only 146 men out of the 1000 or so who originally came from Winnipeg to see service right through the war. One of my aunts thought the watch had some connection with his service, but others dispute this. Is there any way I can check this out from the watch details? I guess the batallion records will be better for this. I would have thought that if there was a connection with the service, the watch would have a date of 1918 or 1919, to coincide with being de-mobilised. I would imagine a job-lot being comissioned at that sort of time if it were to happen at all.

I will take and post some pictures of the movement sometime in the next few days, and check out the directories suggested by Kent. (thanks for all the information that you provided Kent, and for the offer with the pictures) This may help me to pin-down our family's understanding of my grandad's movements in Canada before signing up to the Winnipeg Rifles.

Thanks again for the replies.

Nick

harold
08-15-2006, 03:53 AM
Nick

I am glad I was of some help. If you can't find any information on the web site let me know and I will engage a friend of mine who is a military collector and knows his way around the military research field. But be sure if you have the regimental number, full initial to keep them handy. I will be leaving for Austria on August 22 and back September 13. If you need anything before contact me on my email address or after September 13. Good Luck. Here is another web site for you.

http://www.mts.net/~rwpgrif/ (http://www.mts.net/%7Erwpgrif/)