A. Lange & Sohne Watch

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Ethan Lipsig, Dec 4, 2015.

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  1. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I have always wanted a Lange pocket watch but had never purchased one because of their high cost. I made a low ball bid on one in a recent auction, won the watch, then read the description more carefully than I had before. This isn't the most sensible way to act, of course, and my incaution was rewarded by an ominous warning I hadn't noticed before in the condition report: "Will not wind."

    I fretted about that for several weeks, waiting to hear my watchmaker's verdict, which turned out to be that the watch was perfectly fine and didn't even need cleaning.

    I know little about Lange watches. I understand my watch, #61,333 dates to 1910. The 18k case is signed by Lange and bears the same number as the watch. The front cover has a crest I cannot identify. It bears the motto Fide & fortitunide. That means Fidelity & fortitude.

    The dial and hands look original and correct.

    I understand Lange watches come in grades, with the ALS grade 1A at the top. I think my watch is an ALS grade, but likely 1B or lower.

    I'd love to hear from a Lange expert about when my watch was made, what grade it is, how it differs from higher grade Lange watches, and anything else of interest.

    IMG_4411 (436x640).jpg IMG_4414 - Copy (640x278).jpg IMG_4414 (640x506).jpg IMG_4415 (640x401).jpg IMG_4416 (640x629).jpg IMG_4420 (640x424).jpg IMG_4423 (640x611).jpg IMG_4426 (640x520).jpg IMG_4492 (459x640).jpg IMG_4496 (490x640).jpg IMG_4499 - Copy (521x251).jpg
     
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  2. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Ethan, photos of one that I have... I'm not a Lange expert..but I think the top grade has a diamond end stone on the balance, like this one.. Does yours have a diamond?
    This example is numbered 41151 and also is in a Lange marked Hunter case.. The Glashutte-SA dial marking on yours is a later example.
     

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  3. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    My watch does not have a diamond end stone on the balance shaft. As I said, I don't think it's the very top grade.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ethan,

    The motto belongs to several Scottish clans, but I can't find any reference to that greyhound crest on the helm. The engraving appears to be signed at bottom right, but the signature, presumably that of the engraver, isn't clear.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Ethan, Burke's General Armory lists 19 families using that motto, but none of their coats of arms or crests is remotely similar to that shown on this watch.

    Actually, everything about your crest suggests to me that it is just a piece of decorative engraving generally intended to attach importance to the watch. The shape of the crest, the placement and style of the motto, the lack of any specific heraldic elements, and espcially th vagueness of drawing of the helmet surmounted by the dog ... all of these suggest to me that they are not heraldic in source.

    But I love the rest of the watch! :D
     
  6. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, after searching for the Motto and Shield I came to the same conclusion as Martin and Graham. Maybe the person who owned the Watch was a Greyhound or Whippet owner. I really like the Pocket Watch. Regards Ray
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Impressive! But you didn't tell us if the watchmaker found any particular reason that the seller said the watch "wouldn't wind"! What did he find?
     
  8. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I am just guessing, but the auction house expert set the watch and then was unable to wind it because the watch has a unusual lever setting mechanism. When the front cover is open and the tiny lever is nudged slightly to the right, the crown is in the setting position. You cannot nudge the lever to the left to return the crown to the winding position. To return to the winding position, one must close the front cover, which automatically resets the lever to the wind position. Had the auction house expert just closed the front cover and tried to wind the watch, he or she could have wound it. I was not impressed with this auction house's descriptions, price estimates, or condition reports. I won't name it, but it was a major regional US auction house.

    I have taken a better photo of the motto on the crest on the front cover. The engraver's signature appears to be "J. Riyn."
     

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  9. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Had the "expert" at the auction house discovered the trick with the winding, there might have been more interest, and your low ball offer might not have been accepted. VERY much worth having taken a flier on it. A really nice addition to any collection!
     
  10. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

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    #10 davy26, Dec 7, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    I too would love to have a A Lange & Sohne and I'm kicking myself for not sticking with a recent eBay auction for a circa 19150.900 silver pin set calibre 41 example with original box, certificate and leather pouch. This was won with a bid of £1,350, which seems to me a real steal (?).
     
  11. LloydB

    LloydB Registered User

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    The heraldry is associated with the family name
    variously spelled Rives, Ryves or Reeves:

    http://www.vagenweb.org/dinwiddie/rives-g/gr-02.htm

    From that online source:

    "Arms—Argent, on bend cotizel, sable, three lozenges ermine.
    Crest A grey hound sejant sable: bezante. collared or.
    (Hutchins History of Dorset BIandford, Dorsetshire, England"
     
  12. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Fascinating! Thanks so much for finding this. It's probably just a coincidence that what appears to be the engraver's name, "Riyn," is so close in spelling to the family name "Rive."
     
  13. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I received a private message speculating that the original owner of this watch was a George Lockhart Rives because the watch has the Rives coat of arms, G.L. Rives was an extremely prominent and wealthy New Yorker, Lange's distributor C.F. Schumann's Sons was located relatively near Rives Mansion (now the Greek Consulate), the watch dates to 1910 and Rives didn't die until 1917.

    I love trying to track down the descendants of the original owners and trying to make it possible for them to reacquire pocket watch heirlooms (a feat I've only pulled off once, returning a very nice Vacheron & Constantin to the family at a very low price). So, I would like to track down the currently living descendants of G.L. Rives on the unlikely chance that it is his watch that I've acquired.

    I am no genealogist and do not have access to genealogy website that require registration or subscriptions, but what I have been able to determine is that George Lockhart Rives had two children, and two grandchildren, all now dead. I haven't been able to get beyond that point.

    I am optimistic that one of you will be able to track down a living great or great, great grandchild who I can contact about this. You won't have any problem finding out information about George Lockhart Rives. He was a very well known man. There's a biography of him on Wikipedia.
     
  14. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Here is the best I can do for you. George Lockhart Rives, 1849-1917, wife Sarah Swann Whiting. Son Francis Bayard Rives 1890-1969, wife Helen Hunt 1894-?, son George L Rives, 1932, NYC d?. Last known residence was 1021 Park Ave, NYC in 1949, daughter Margaret b 1928, NYC Hope this helps you in your search.
     
  15. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Thanks. I will follow up from there as best I can.
     
  16. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    That's a great spot by Lloyd :thumb:

    Having now been given the name, I can confirm that this crest is indeed in Burke's General Armory so it is an official Royal Grant of Arms ... but Burke does not include the motto (which is the only reference by which Burkes can be searched!) That is unusual, and I can only assume that the motto (which I believe is chosen by the Grantee and not included in the Royal Grant) was added at a much later stage and not notified to the College of Heralds. It may have been added by the American branch of the family.

    I have previously had success in tracing descendants of such families using Burke's Peerage online. I'll see what I can find out.
     
  17. Darnok

    Darnok Registered User

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    Hi, maybe I can give some more information to the watch, not to the owner.
    Lange had two production lines: ALS for Adolph Lange & sons, and DUF for Deutsche Uhren Fabrikation.
    The ALS line had three qualities: 1a with 20 jewels, diamond endstone and hand engraved balancecock, the next quality had no special specification in the Ledgers but was defined as ALS, 16 jewels. It had ruby endstones but still a hand engraved balance cock.
    The third quality was ALS, 15 jewels, plain balance cock.
    All of them were regulated in 5 positions. They all have gold levers and gold escapement wheels. Gold cases were 18k.
    The cheaper but very successfull DUF had 15 Jewels and was regulated in 3 positions. Gold cases usually were 14k.
    Escament wheel was aluminum bronce.

    The number of the shown watch suggests a production date around 1910. It seems to have been bought in Germany since the gold case is of Lange production ( Lange had its own case production at that time but could not fill the whole demand, so some of the cases are of swiss origin, mostly 14 k cases).
    Exports to the USA (Importer Schumann, New York) were usually simply movements lacking the cases, which were produced in the USA which was caused by very expensive toll regulations.

    If you are interested in getting a certificate which gives a thorough description of this watch with dates of sale and buyer you could get in contact with the German Watchmuseum Glashuette. It will cost you as far as I know € 80,-.
    Adress: Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Glashuette, Postfach 1114, 01766 Glashuette/ Germany.

    Thomas
     
  18. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Thomas,

    Thanks for the informative post.. Would you know if Lange would have an email address to obtain a certificate for a certain watch I have ?

    john Pavlik
     
  19. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    John,

    It's obvious you have an ALS, 1a with 20 jewels. Why would you need a certificate?

    Regards,

    PL
     
  20. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    PL, it would just be a matter of record.. Upon my departure from this wonderful life, who ever picks threw the estate, will have something that clarifies what it is.. With printed history,, It may help develop, in someone, an interest in collecting and researching, along with preservation, pocket watches in the next generation or 2...
     
  21. Darnok

    Darnok Registered User

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    #21 Darnok, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    John,

    that's the email adress for the certificate: reinhard.reichel@uhrenmuseum-glashuette.com.
    Mr.Reichel is head of the museum. They have all the ledgers.
    You can visit the website: Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Glashuette. It's in german but probably can be translated by google or so.
    Costs are € 77,- (ca.$ 80,-).
    You could contact Lange in Glashuette as well, but they get the same Information by Mr. Reichel and add some fee to it.

    Regards,
    Thomas
     
  22. Darnok

    Darnok Registered User

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    I made a mistake in my former post. The aluminum bronce regards the lever not the escape wheel which is made of gold.

    Thomas
     
  23. Darnok

    Darnok Registered User

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    #23 Darnok, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    Regarding the production line of Lange & Söhne one might add that there was a small number of watches produced with 18 jewels. Some had a diamond end stone , some not.
    The watch shown by PapaLouies is one of them: screwed gold fitted rubies, end stones for the balance and escape wheel but no end stones for the lever as usual in 1a watches.
    Some estimate these watches as the second quality and call it 1b. But I don't think that's correct. To me it`s just a variation to the 1a and was, as I said produced in very small numbers.
    In the 1910 cataloge there ist among approximately 80 available different watches only one specimen with 18 jewels. It`s an 18 line super flat watch (Cal 41 mm).
    Papalouies`watch in fact is the first real example I`ve seen with 18 jewels.

    Thomas
     
  24. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Ah... Thomas, would that it be true!
    The photo is not clear but the escape wheel is just hole jeweled, so my guess is 16 jewels. I presume the center wheel pillar plate is not jeweled. The upper plate is approx. 23 MM and I wonder how many small watches were produced.

    Regards,

    PL
     
  25. Darnok

    Darnok Registered User

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    IMG_2602.JPG PL,

    This is the normal appearance of an ALS 16 jewels.
    Notice just one screwed ruby in a gold bezel. Some of them even didn`t have this item with just a pressed ruby in the plate.
    Your watch differs with screwed gold bezels like the 1a issue. It just lacks the gold bezel at the lever cock.
    But if there are no end stones on the cock of the escape wheel it indeed would count up to 16 jewels.
    So it seems to be another variation and tells me, you never end learning.

    Regards,

    Thomas
     
  26. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Ethan and all. I hope you don't mind my reviving this excellent thread from years ago. Today I found an A. Lange ALS-1A and I thought I would share it with you. Like Ethan, I look for these but they are usually way too expensive or have condition problems.

    This one has a movement of about 54mm with 20 jewels and a fully faceted diamond end-stone on the balance. The 18k case is huge. The total weight of the watch is about 86dwt. The case SN matches the movement number. The case has a hinged bezel with a glass crystal inside the cuvette to cover the movement.

    The watch came from a local family whose story is that the father won it in a poker game about 2 days after he landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

    ALange-A1_Dial.jpg ALange-A1_CsBk.jpg ALange-A1_Mvt.jpg ALange-A1_MvtDet.jpg ALange-A1_Mark.jpg
     
  27. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
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    of gold balance and diamond cap and screwed down jewel settings it is likely a grade 1a. often people think these gilt ones are lower grade and only the nickel ones are higher, but the nickel ones were made for the American market.
     
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  28. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    It is definitely a 1-A Jeff. It has the caps and the diamond endstone...and it was definitely a German or European market watch. It is not in an American case and the person who owned it here brought it from Europe.
     
  29. Keith R...

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    John, do some checking, might be up jeweled.

    Keith R...
     
  30. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Keith, I have not had the dial off but if you mean upjeweled with a hole jewel on the dial side of the center arbor...I doubt it. This watch was made for the European market where they did not really buy into the 21 jewel hype found in the US market. One of these days I will probably take a look under the dial but...for now...a newly retired guy like me has too much other worthless crap on his to do list. :);)

    My bet is that it is a 20 jewel but...who knows...you may be right.
     
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  31. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Gilt? It carries the German hallmark for 18K gold (Imperial crown of Prussia in a circle) - a slip or is 'gilt' sometimes used to mean gold in the US?

    John
     
  32. tgarnold

    tgarnold Registered User

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    I believe he's referring to the movement being gilt and not the case.
     
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  33. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    .... That makes more sense ...

    John
     
  34. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Has you all know, I have been looking at the putting-out system, and at the moment I am looking into the german systems, and came across this little piece on Adolf Langer.
    The Galshütte supply system.
    "Ferdinand Adolf Lange made a conscious decision to introduce a supply system, a form of division-of-labor production for certain types of products that were well known at the time; in fact, he considered creating such a system a prerequisite for establishing a watch-making industry in Glashütte. This type of division of labor was seen in goods manufacturing during the beginning of the historical process of industrialization and formed the developmental stage between individual craftsmen and manufacturers. Such a system took root in northern Italy and Flanders as early as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. but their development was more sporadic in the German states and was not even introduced in some regions until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."
    This is from "The Beginning of a Tradition" by Herbert Dittrich. Subtitle "The first 50 years of Precision Watchmaking in Glashütte from 1845 to 1895." Copies from the German Clock & Watch museum Glashütter. (in German & English language).
    Allan
     
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  35. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    When I visited the Museum @ Glasshutte they had devoted most of the exhibit space to explaining this system.

    Langes deal wsas that he was train 16 people who would become specialist suppliers which they did. It is not quite the putting out system since the out workers ran small factories and likely had some local government support. More important Lange was obligated to buy all they made. This is why he encouraged others such as Grossmann and Assmann to set up companies, He could not handle the total output once they got good at making the items.

    BTW to me the 1A feature on a Lange is the crescent cut outs around the the plate jewel chatons.
     
  36. Allan C. Purcell

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    This so-called system, set up by Lange, is, in fact, part of the modern myth about this firm. Though Lange introduced it, having learned this system in Switzerland, it was open to all firms that could or would set up a business in Glashütter.

    " On December 7, 1844, Langer signed a contract with Glashütte to build a school for employees of the citý watch manufacturing industry. It was inaugurated exactly one year later.
    "On May 31st. 1845. Lange and the Royal Saxon Ministry of the Interior also signed a contract-filled with mutual concessions and advisory involvement-in which Lange agreed to teach watchmaking to fifteen apprentices over a three-year of period of time. The ministry, in turn, agreed to grant 6,700 thalers to the project, including 2,200 for the acquisition of tools. The apprentices were required to work for Lange for five years after their apprenticeship was finished, earning three to six thalers per week and paying back the cost of their education in weekly installments of twenty-four Saxon neugroschen. (cents) In return, they were to become owners of the tools that, until that point, had belonged to the ministry. "

    Later we have,

    "Once the parts were finished, they were tested by the ordering party to ensure that measurement specifications special requirements were met. If the product was satisfactory, the ordering, the party received the finished pieces along with an invoice, which was then paid as agreed. These independent workers-or suppliers-always specialized in one form of production. which they completed to the very best of their ability. in this, they were bound strictly by the employer´s specifications. they delivered parts half-finished or complete-at any and every desired level of completion that may have been agreed upon, in fact. Thus, individual components or small series were ordered that were guaranteed acceptance by the ordering party. Occasionally, specific types of production machinery would be provided for the independent worker, further cementing the parties`mutual dependence." ( Thanks to the Glashütte muesum)

    Though not early, I would say this is a good example of the putting-out system, and it still goes on in Galashütte and Switzerland today for mechanical watches.
     
  37. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Thanks Jon. I noticed those cut-outs but I had no idea that they were a feature only of the 1A.
     
  38. rrwatch

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    Below is an A. Lange & Sons movement with two unusual features; the plates are damaskeened nickle and the engraving on the movement and the lettering on the dial are all in English. The movement has 20 jewels, a diamond end stone and a micrometer regulator. Any additional information about this watch would be appreciated.

    EBU 18183 Lange, A. & Son 20J HC Dial.jpg EBU 18183 Lange, A. & Son 20J HC Mvt.JPG EBU 18183 Lange, A. & Son 20J HC Set Lever Wind Position.JPG EBU 18183 Lange, A. & Son 20J HC Lever Set Pillar Plate 2.JPG
     
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  39. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Would you or Jon circle or otherwise highlight the "cut-outs." I am not seeing them.
     
  40. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Look at Kent's photo. The jewel near the winding wheel has a cut out and it is gilt. I have been told by peole who I think know that this cut out was there to allow a prying tool to adjust end shake. I have a lot of trouble with that so I think it is more likely a quality marker and a feature unique to Lange. FWIW Grossmann had his own set of marker features.
     
  41. John Cote

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    My understanding is that the nickle versions were made expressly for the US market. I believe they were shipped to the US distributor, C.F. Schumann's Sons. The Nickle finish was necessary to compete in the US where the gilt finish had gone out of style well before the turn of the century. Gilt movements would still sell in Europe.
     
  42. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Ethan,
    ALange-A1_MvtDet-a.jpg
    I have drawn very crude red arrows pointing at the little cutouts on my movement.
     
  43. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Thanks. I see them now.
     
  44. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dr. Jon,

    I've seen very similar holes in Robert Roskell watches, and their function was to allow sight of the depthing of the pinion and the wheel, otherwise invisible in a full plate movement. They clearly weren't there to allow any adjustment, since they're plain holes. The fact that the holes in the Lange are angled towards the pivot tends to reinforce this theory, and if these holes are only at the pinion end of the arbor, as they are in the Roskell, I think that would settle it.

    DSCF6598 - Copy.JPG DSCF6599 - Copy.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  45. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Interesting idea.
    I guess that works for Roskell but I don;t see why they could not check the depthing by just looking in from the side, also why not other makers doing this.

    As to Lange, these cuts do not go all the way through the plate so they do not provide any vial access. If they had any function it may have been to enable Lange to use soft gold for their chatons. The cut allow these to be pried out without having to risk garfing up the lips to keep them at depth when screwed in. They would also allow removal of the jewels with the top plate in place so they could be removed without having to push them out which can be done only with the plate off the watch. Hard to see why they need to do this especially when setting up the best watches. These parts would have been very carefully checked before assembly.

    This was the era when many makers were doing things on movements as secret signatures and I still believe this was their primary function.
     
  46. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Can someone please explain what is visible in this hole?

    It looks like a extension lip with a hole, at the base of the chaton, if it is, it could be there to fix the position of the chaton in the plate and to facilitate its placement and removal. I would be really surprised if this feature was without function - in fact I would be amazed - but as to its function :???:

    upload_2019-8-16_18-35-6.png

    John
     
  47. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Yes, there is something in there that looks like a slot, but if, as Dr. Jon says, the hole doesn't go all the way through, it can't be for the same purpose as the Roskell. I agree that these holes don't seem to be present in any other English watches of the period, but they may be a peculiarity of Roskell's workshop practices. They certainly aren't there by accident.

    Any marks made during the final positioning of the jewels would surely be on the other side of the plate, if there were any at all, so that isn't the explanation. The position of the chaton is marked by the pip in the opposite edge to ensure that it's always replaced in the same orientation, but these are usually a pretty snug fit in their recess, (inevitably so in a watch of this quality), and I'd have thought that it would be very difficult to lever one up successfully from just one side without it binding, even with a specially angled lever.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  48. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Graham - what we need is someone who has serviced a Lange 1a ....

    John
     
  49. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    I have not serviced one but I looked at Meis's book set on Lange and Glashutte. The early Lange watches, including those made with and by Gutkas had a separate hole similar to Roskell's ,always on the third wheel. This hole is next to the jewel setting and is a large clear hole with a good view of the depthing. This wheel is the one between the center and the seconds wheel. I still believe this evolved into a decorative feature, a partial cut, on 1 A grade watches because:

    1) At that grade, the parts are very well screened; so depth checking would be less needed than on lower grade which do not have this feature. They had a factory and jigs to check fit depth and shakes.

    2) None of the other Glashutte makers used this

    3) The cut does not go through or it it does the visibility is minuscule

    4) I carried over to the different calbers Lange and the others Glashutte makers used


    The mark is not a locator pip on the basis that the jewel setting that have this cut also have the pip which shows which of two ways the jewel should go into the setting.

    Meiss's book give a brief description of the ALS (A LAnge & Sohn) grade but so far I have found nothing on the notches,

    I am sure there are some real experts on this lurking and hopefully one of them will give an authoritative answer.
     

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