View Full Version : Who was Lepine a Geneve?

Peter Cox
01-23-2010, 10:25 AM
Have an 18k gold cased pocket watch approx 48mm diameter, key wound, key set, cylinder escapement. Dust cover is marked Lepine Geneve, all else on dust cover is in Englis, 4 holes Jewelled, hand etc. dustcover marked no 613, back cover marked 613. Some kind of gilt bar movement that is marked Lepine a Geneve just above the balance wheel, jewelling appears to be the balance and escape wheel.
Would like to get some idea of age and who or what Lepine Geneve was.

Jerry Matthews
01-23-2010, 11:31 AM
Peter - L'Epine was a well-known family of French clock and watch makers, dating back to Jean L'Epine in the early 18th century. They worked mainly in Paris but also in Geneva. The last L'Epine left the company somewhere around the middle of the 19th century, but the business continued under various owners until around the time of the First World War. Yours appears to be a quality watch. I don't pretend to any expertise in French/Swiss watchmaking, but I would put a date on it of around 1900, plus or minus 10 years either way. I'm not sure when the apostrophe and upper case E was dropped from the trademark name.

01-23-2010, 12:04 PM
Peter, I could not locate any Lépine maker from Genève. I think the closest J.-A. Lépine got to Genève was Ferney. :) He died at the ripe old age of 93 in 1814.

The movement is a Lépine calibre and with the English markings, I suspect the watch is essentially an unsigned Lépine calibre movement from Geneva retailed in Great Britain, possibly 1810-1820. It's a nice watch. I would have the dial cleaned and crystal polished though.


Peter Cox
01-24-2010, 07:12 AM
Thank you all for your help. Your dating seems to agree with the only other reference I could find.
After googling the internet yesterday I came up with this link
which is a similar movement though with a slightly different layout. It appears to be all there and shows me the color and style of the case screw that I need to find the replace the one that is missing on mine.

Jerry Matthews
01-24-2010, 08:14 AM
According to Loomes (who is not the best authority on French/Swiss watches) Jean Antoine L'Epine worked in Geneva sometime before 1744. Ferney is only 8km from the centre of Geneva. If the watch was retailed in Britain as Michael suggested the 18c case should have an English hallmark, which would enable us to put a date on it. Do you have a close up shot of any hallmarks?

Peter Cox
01-24-2010, 09:41 AM
Don't think the case is English. There are no British hallmarks on it, actually there is very little that looks like a hallmark at all. Did the best that I could to show the back cover. I'm assuming it's 18k by the feel and look and also by how soft it seems to be. I believe the carat marking was in the centre of the cover where you can see the K and part of a number which is somewhat obscured by where the hand adjustment hole on the cuvette has rubbed against it. The round mark father up is the rub mark from the winding hole. Halfway between the 2 rub marks there is what appears to be a diamond symbol with what looks like J G in it which I assume is the case makers initials. To the right of that there is stamped what looks like to be the letter G, though somewhat stylized. Other than that there is only the number 613 that also appears on the inside of the dust cover (it has nothing else on it) and a load of repairer numbers around the inside edge.

Jerry Matthews
01-24-2010, 10:48 AM
Thanks for the additional info Peter. I am inclined to stick to my original opinion, based on the style of the movement, that it dates to around 1890--1910. I think if you could see the movement of the watch on antique-watch.com you would find that it is very different than your watch.

Peter Cox
01-24-2010, 10:54 AM
You can see the movement. Just click the watch picture and it shows you the movement and the watch dust cover.

Jerry Matthews
01-24-2010, 12:24 PM
Thanks Peter. I have to admit the watch stated to be circa 1820 on the link is very similar to yours. I would like to hear from some of the real Swiss watches experts (which I am not). To me, both watches look closer to 1900 than they do to 1800.

Ethan Lipsig
01-24-2010, 01:05 PM
I once owned a similar watch (but signed Janvier), which I understood to be from circa 1820.

01-27-2010, 12:35 PM
The movement indicates a watch made closer to 1830. Some generalizations are as follows:
KWKS usually before 1870
It has a flat, uncut, three arm balance usually before 1840 (round instead of flat indicates later manufacture)
It is a cylinder escapement, common before 1850, but used in many periods
"Lepine calibre" refers to the original LePine's use of very tight specs to create very thin pocket watches. Breguet called some of his thin watches "LePine Calibre". This name stuck as a description.

It's a nice watch and I expect it's thin for watches of that period.