Thread: B.&B. ROYAL
11-24-2003, 12:52 AM #1
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. 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.
The movement in your watch sounds like a generic Swiss movement. It would be helpful if you could post a picture of the movement, the clearer and sharper, the better. 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" useful.
A digital camera would be very helpful. For an open-face, screw back & bezel watch you can get good results by placing the movement on a flatbed scanner. A hunting-case movement, or an open-face movement in a hinged case would have to be removed from the case for this to work. Otherwise, its back to the camera.
Larry Jones has written up a useful article on Image Posting, which may be helpful.
Or, when you click on the Reply button, at the lower right-hand corner of the bottom post in a thread, the Reply To: box that opens has a toolbar at its top. The right-hand icon on the toolbar is a paperclip. Clicking upon the paperclip icon will open a box that allows you to select a picture file to attach to your post. Use the Browse button to navigate to the location in which the picture file resides and select it.
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).
Bates & Bacon (B&B) started making cases in the early 1880’s in Attleboro, MA. In 1901, B&B was bought out by the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. which continued the use of the B&B name and of their case grades:
Favorite, originally guaranteed for 20 years, after 1897 for 25 years
Puritan, guaranteed for 5 years
Regal, guaranteed for 10 years
Royal, originally guaranteed for 15 years, after 1897 for 20 years
Guarantees on B&B cases continued to be honored by Philadelphia, viz.: "A new case of the same grade given free of charge for any case that fails to wear the full guaranteed period, without conditions, without charge and without quibbling."
A large proportion of movements, such as yours, are housed in gold-filled cases. These cases are made of a sheet of inexpensive, "composition" metal (brass), sandwiched between two thinner sheets of gold by applying heat and pressure. During the 1930's, one process of doing this gave rise to the term, "rolled gold-plate." The gold sheet that becomes the inside of the case is much thinner than the gold sheet that becomes the outside of the case. Frequently, the purity of the gold used in the sheets, expressed in karats, is stamped inside the back of the case. Some case companies indicated the thickness of the outer layer of gold by using different trademarks for different thicknesses. Before federal regulations outlawed the practice, some case companies indicated the thickness of the outer layer by the number of years for which the case was warranted. Not all case companies were forthright about marking the cases or honoring the warranty (which is what gave rise to the federal regulations). Frequently, the color of the gold (imparted by the metal with which the gold is alloyed) is expressed in conjunction with the term, "gold-filled." Thus it is not uncommon to see terms such as "yellow gold-filled," "white gold-filled," "green gold-filled," and so forth, used in case descriptions.
You watch is what's known as a "sidewinder." When a movement designed to go in a hunting-case (one with a metal lid or cover over the crystal) is placed in an open-face case, the winding stem ends up at the 3 o’clock position. Such combinations are frequently referred to as a "Sidewinder." As hunting-case watches fell out of favor during the early part of the twentieth century, hunting-case movements, some of them of quite high quality, were offered to dealers at substantial discounts to clear them out of inventory. Dealers placed these in open-face cases in order to sell the high grade watches at attractive prices. Many other sidewinders were created during the depression, and much later during the 1980’s, when gold hunting-cases were scrapped out for value of the gold, the movements being recased into inexpensive cases. Still other sidewinders were, and continue to be, created by watch collectors and dealers who stripped lower grade movements out of hunting-cases in order to use the cases to house higher grade movements.
That guy down in GeorgiaKent
That guy down in Georgia
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