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Michael R. Dutton

I just received this Dueber Hampden Grand 12s pocket watch mounted in a Philadelphia Silverode case. The watch is in good condition and is keeping time. It is stem wound, stem set, 17 Jewels, adjusted, screw mounted jewel settings.

Here are some links to the photos I've taken of the front, movement and the inside of the back of the case. These are all fairly high resolution photographs taken with diffused natural light (from inside a plastic milk jug - thanks to this board for teaching me that method!!!).

Case Back, Inside

Front of Watch

Movement

The screws in the movement look like they've been removed/installed a few times. There is some possible corrosion on the parts of the regulator. And I found what looks like a bit of dust, so do you think I should gently blow it out with a can of air or just leave as is for now.

The person who sold it to me stated that it was adjusted to 5 positions, but all I see engraved on the plate is "Adjusted" - so how would one know how many positions it was adjusted to.

It appears that the train is gilt. The screw set jewel settings, might they be gold?

Your discerning eye and comments would be greatly appreciated.
 

Dutto11

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G'day Michael,
I recently sold one just the same but it was housed in a Dueber Grand gf hunter case.
Very nice movement though.
Not being an expert I can't add anything of any usefull value but to say well done.
Gary
 

rrwatch

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In a 1904 catalog published in Roy Ehrhardt's "Pocket Watch Identification & Price Guide Book 2", the 12 size Dueber Grand is listed as having jewels in settings (NOT gold settings) and is "adjusted to temperature". The higher grade 21 jewel "John Hancock" (cost $50, while the Dueber Grand was $24, mvt only) was listed as Gold settings, and "Adjusted to temperature, isochronism and positions". Both were listed as being lever set, unusual in a 12 size movement.
 

HenryB

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Jan 13, 2004
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Actually Mike the movement is Nickel Finish (not Gilt)

Are you sure there is no lever on the watch that sets the time (under the screwoff front case) ? Reason I ask is the watch 2 serial numbers lower than yours was reported as a "Lever"

As Ed states, Levers are more unusual than Pendant set 12 S Hampdens.

Only 2 Hampden grades of 12S size are listed as adjusted to 5 positions - Grade 312 and Paul Revere.

Hampdens, if adjusted to 3 positions, 5 positions, Special adjustment, or Adjusted say exactly that on the movement.

Really no way an "adjusted" watch can be mis-identified as an "adjusted to 5 positions" watch (unless the plates have been switched out).
 

Dr. Jon

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At the risk of being the grinch, your new watch has some problems you should look for in the future. Since you are getting serious about collecting and you did ask for "discerning eye" comments, here are some problems I see.

1) The watch has "Spot rust" on the bright work. These are the black spots on its regulator. They can be removed by repolishing but it is sign that the watch has been kept in moist conditions

2) The screw heads are badly marred. The watch has been serviced by someone very careless. These too can be fixed.

3) The balance cock is scored by use of too large a screw driver on the securing screw. That champfer around the screw head does not belong. In days of old, doing that would get a watchmaker summarily fired.

4) When you see this many problems you should assume it has problems you can not see.

Watch the balance wheel. If it seems to wobble it hasbent pivots at a minium.

It may have broken or cracked jewels.

Depending on the rarity of the watch these problems run from unforgivable to ignorable. (When its the only only known example you tend to forgive problems. If you want to learn how to service a watch this one is a good one to start. It is basically a high grade movement and you can learn on it without fear of reducing its condition.


I agree with Ed the jewels are in non-gold settings and the gear train is gilt.

The complex regulator and gold filling of the engraving are high end features, so your basinc instincts are sound. You now need to look more closely.


When you see these problems you have a lot to negotiate when you discuss price.

Watches are like a lot of other things. If you see problems its likely there are more you don't see. Genreally but not always if it looks good on close examination its probably sound. Even if not the unseen problems canusually be fixed economically. Cosmetics are hard to fix and almost all attempts make things worse.

I urge you to learn from this and keep looking and buying.
 
M

Michael R. Dutton

HenryB said:
Actually Mike the movement is Nickel Finish (not Gilt)

Are you sure there is no lever on the watch that sets the time (under the screwoff front case) ? Reason I ask is the watch 2 serial numbers lower than yours was reported as a "Lever".
Re-read my post - it only mentioned that the train was gilt. I have the watch in-hand and I set it with the crown; this movement is stem wound, stem set.

The person who sold this watch to me has since recanted and admitted that her description was in error when I took her to task over several points. She claimed she was a beginning collector who had never sold watches before. I think that was an excuse meant to soften me. An offer was made to return the watch for a refund, but I want to keep it around.

I appreciate your looking at the watch and I have taken note of your helpful comments. Thanks!!


 
M

Michael R. Dutton

Dr. said:
At the risk of being the grinch, your new watch has some problems you should look for in the future.........

1) The watch has "Spot rust" on the bright work. These are the black spots on its regulator. They can be removed by repolishing but it is sign that the watch has been kept in moist conditions

2) The screw heads are badly marred. The watch has been serviced by someone very careless. These too can be fixed.

3) The balance cock is scored by use of too large a screw driver on the securing screw. That champfer around the screw head does not belong. In days of old, doing that would get a watchmaker summarily fired.

4) When you see this many problems you should assume it has problems you can not see.

Watch the balance wheel. If it seems to wobble it has bent pivots at a minium.

It may have broken or cracked jewels.
Thanks so much for your comments and your close observation. I did mention the corrosion on the regulator in my original post, along with the marked-up screw heads.

I missed the marking on the balance cock. Thank you for pointing that out - I'll know what to look for in the future. There is also a score in the finger supporting the escape wheel. And there are what look like scores on the center wheel bridge.

It would be easier for me to be a bit more discerning, I would imagine, if I were a watchmaker. I have a lot of experience with machinery - but the scale is significantly different as I worked with 20 and 50 thousand SHP steam turbines.

The balance wheel under magnification at different positions and in differing angles of light source does not wobble. It looks to me to be running smoothly and true. Thanks for pointing that out.

The watch started on the third turn of the crown and has been keeping time, so far, since I set it. I don't have the tools or the instruments to check it at different positions, that fancy little listening machine is a pricey little number!!

Your comments were well received and taken to heart. My photographs of the watch in-hand are significantly more detailed than the photos of the watch when it was at auction. Additonally, the seller has admitted, when taken to task, that the description was not completely accurate.

Of course one of the problems of buying a watch from an auction, when the watch is not available for first-hand viewing, is the quality of the seller's photographs. The ones for this watch were clear and in-focus, but lacking in discernable detail because they were not high resolution like the ones that I posted.

Again, thanks so much for taking such a close look. Some of what you pointed out I saw, but other things you noted were overlooked and they won't be in the future. You certainly are not the grinch - and you did not steal Christmas nor Valentine's Day!!! (GRIN)

Now that I have a small fortune invested in a collection of close to 40 pocket watches (some 12s but mostly 18s and 16s and then a couple of Swiss pocket watches and for fun one Russian), I suppose I should back off on buying for a while and save my funds. Then I should take some lessons, buy some tools and learn how to break down, clean, lubricate and reassemble these beauties. Sounds like a plan to me.......... or at least a good "wish for."
 
M

Michael R. Dutton

rrwatch said:
In a 1904 catalog published in Roy Ehrhardt's "Pocket Watch Identification & Price Guide Book 2", the 12 size Dueber Grand is listed as having jewels in settings (NOT gold settings) and is "adjusted to temperature".......
Thanks, Ed, for the information.

(As a side note: The 12s "New" Howard whose art-deco style dial you restored and whose movement you cleaned and lubricated runs like the grand watch that it is and really looks great!!) (You did this a few years ago.)

 

Dr. Jon

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I like 12 size watches. I especially like bridge models which this one is. These are some of the nicest watches made.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Michael,

A couple stories, for what they're worth.

Years ago at a Mart, a dealer had a watch setup underneath a microscope. He mentioned how many "flaws" one could see. The truth is, virtually any old watch has "issues". Finding them depends on the "magnification". (Gotta love those "quotes" eh?)

I can also recall cleaning a dial with a hairline or two and, afterwards, looking for those pesky little lines again (with good light and a loupe) and simply couldn't see them! It made me wonder how many of our treasured mint dials really have no hairlines in them. If they're really really really hard to see, do they make much of a difference?

As for setting mechanisms on Hampdens, keep an eye out for the nail set (or should it be called pin set) ones. They're out there!

Cheers,

Greg
 
M

Michael R. Dutton

Greg said:
Michael,

A couple stories, for what they're worth........

As for setting mechanisms on Hampdens, keep an eye out for the nail set (or should it be called pin set) ones. They're out there!
Thanks for your comments, Greg. I hear you loud and clear, your point is well received.

I have one pin set watch, it is the Swiss A. Golay-Leresche that was handed down to me from my Father. The watch has a number of complications including split-hand chronograph, sub-seconds hand, and minute repeater. It was purchased in Paris.

It was given to my Father by his Maternal Grandmother. The watch belonged to her husband (who passed away in 1905, 16 years before my father was born).
 

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