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  1. #1

    Default Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why?

    Well the title says it all really, when were Swing Ring Cases, the type where the bezel unscrews and the movement flips out on a hinge, introduced, and what was the purpose of the "swing" bit, why was the hinge there? Was it so that the owner could flip the movement out to regulate it and have less chance of dropping it than it it simply sat in the case? I can't really see that the hinge adds much apart from cost.

    Any thought gratefully appreciated.

    Regards - David

  2. #2

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    I don't know why they offered that style, but I just had to rebuild the hinge on one yesterday. Both pieces of the hinge were broken off, it came out perfect. I enjoy restoring pocket watches to thier original condition.
    Very rewarding.
    I don't see that it was a design for the owner, since it is much more difficult for them to open.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    An O pinion to start...

    The origin would date back to the key wind days...

    IMHO, the main purpose was to have a case that was more resistant to dust intrusion.

    A specific answer about why did it 'swing'...
    1. to allow the case screws to be tightened
    2. yes, allow regulation

    I don't know for sure but believe produced concurrently there would have been the 'pair' case or other variant (gem) where the movement center ring
    lifted out of the outer housing.
    Chapter 17 North Carolina
    http://www.nawcc-carolina17.org/default.htm
    Chapter 149 Early American Watch Club .. Home of Russ Snyder Illinois CD database and Henry Burgell Serial number Look-up ... excellent research resources!
    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/ http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html
    Chapter 149 Mentor List http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/mentor.html

  4. #4

    Smile Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: terry hall)

    Swing Ring cases date back to at least as early as 1884, evidenced by this Fahys ad. Perhaps somebody else can find an earlier listing for one.

    I suspect two possible reasons for the hinge. One might be to fasten the movement ring more firmly in the case than was possible with the lift-out style that was also available in the 1880s, as seen in this B&B 1885 ad.

    Another reason may have been to avoid patent infringement.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  5. #5
    Registered User Norman Bliss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: terry hall)

    Swing ring cases are more dust/dirt proof because they only have one joint, and the ring itself encloses the movement serving as additional dust protection. All the ones I own or have seen have an extra dust washer, felt or what ever, under the crown to keep dust from getting into the movement from the stem. See the brass ring under the crown on my Hamilton 972 in a nickel Crescent case. There's a felt washer in there. These were popular for watches in RR service. Watch inspectors may also have liked them because they discouraged owners from opening them.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pw972hamilton.jpg  
    Norman Bliss

  6. #6

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: Norman Bliss)

    Hi Norman,

    That's interesting, especially the information about the felt washers.

    I take you point about the ring circling the movement keeping dust out, in Swiss watches a similar ring is sometimes called a "cercle cache-poussiŤre" which means something like circular dust guard. But it doesn't need to be hinged to do that function.

    And thanks to Kent for the links to the adverts - 1884 is plenty early enough for my purposes.

    Regards - David

  7. #7
    Registered User Norman Bliss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    David, dust rings were also used on American watches in American cases, but not always, and could be lost or left out during service. RR watches were supposed to be regulated by watch inspectors, so there was no need for the owner to get at the back of the movement, and every reason to discourage him from doing so. With the washer around the stem, swing ring cases were more resistant to moisture, although certainly not 'waterproof'.
    Norman Bliss

  8. #8
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    How much of a contribution has the swing ring case made to the problem of broken fourth wheel arbors?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: Norman Bliss)

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bliss View Post
    David, dust rings were also used on American watches in American cases, but not always, and could be lost or left out during service.
    That's a good point, the hinge would certainly stop it getting lost.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: doug sinclair)

    Quote Originally Posted by doug sinclair View Post
    How much of a contribution has the swing ring case made to the problem of broken fourth wheel arbors?
    Hi Doug, I'm sure it's a good question, but it's Greek to me . . . .

    Regards - David

  11. #11
    Registered User Norman Bliss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    Well, the case I showed was my introduction to that problem. Bought it online, it arrived with the second hand loose in the case--with the tip of the 4th wheel arbor still in it. The seller made it good however. David, the danger of a swing ring case is that when you try to pry it up by the 6, you can slip and hit the second hand, bending or breaking the extended 4th wheel arbor that it's on. Another danger is if you don't pull out the stem when swinging out the ring you'll bend the stem.
    Norman Bliss

  12. #12

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: Norman Bliss)

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bliss View Post
    Well, the case I showed was my introduction to that problem. Bought it online, it arrived with the second hand loose in the case--with the tip of the 4th wheel arbor still in it. The seller made it good however. David, the danger of a swing ring case is that when you try to pry it up by the 6, you can slip and hit the second hand, bending or breaking the extended 4th wheel arbor that it's on. Another danger is if you don't pull out the stem when swinging out the ring you'll bend the stem.
    Clear as crystal. Thanks Norman.

    Regards - David

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: DavidBoettcher)

    Although not exactly the same thing, I've always seen some resemblance between American swing-ring cases and the typical construction of the inner case of an English pair-case watch. For these cases, the movement anchored to the case by a hing at 12:00 and a catch at 6:00. To view the movement, the catch at 6:00 is pressed, and the movement lifts out of the case by the hinge.

    Chapter 149

  14. #14
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: ben_hutcherson)

    David,

    The lip you catch with a finger nail to lift open the swing ring is at the 6:00 position. About 1/2 inch away from the seconds hand! If you are not really a careful opening the swing ring, your finger nail can slip and catch the seconds hand! Ever notice how often someone on the MB is looking for a replacement fourth wheel?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Swing Ring Cases - when were they introduced, and why? (RE: doug sinclair)

    It appears that Ezra C. Fitch, former president of Waltham Watch Co., patented the Swing-Ring case in 1879. See the patent below........

    Robert
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Swing-Ring Case- Patent -1879.pdf  

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