Another Tiffany

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by crsides, Apr 23, 2011.

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  1. crsides

    crsides Registered User

    Mar 5, 2002
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    Where are all these Tiffany watches coming from. I picked this one up as a parts watch. I'm guessing Swiss, it look a lot like elmo's watch that was just posted, except for the regulator. Case is marked Tiffany .935 - first I've seen that was higher than .925. A tag with the watch said the watch once belonged to a Nun, and it had a black ribbon and a safety pin, all attached to the bow.

    Any information is appreciated. The balance is locked up,


    Charlie
     

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  2. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    Dec 16, 2008
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    Actually, Charlie, your watch looks nothing like Elmo's.

    Your watch looks to me like a cheap unattributable movement, and it's housed in an ordinary Swiss silver case (93.5% silver). By the way it is not Sterling silver as marked.To be honest, I think the most expensive thing about your watch was getting it engraved "Tiffany & Co" ... in other words I'm sure it's a forgery.
     
  3. crsides

    crsides Registered User

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    Marty, you have broken my heart. This was going to finance my retirement. $35 down the drain.

    Thanks for your help.

    Charlie
     
  4. Luca

    Luca Registered User

    Jan 19, 2004
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    Marty,
    I'm not so sure. The movement looks like Longines. Not all true 'Tiffany' watches are by makers on a par with Patek. I have seen them by Agassiz, Touchon, Meylan, even Waltham and Hamilton - as well as a number by Longines.

    Luca
     
  5. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    Luca, the movement may be by Longines, but not all Longines were Tiffany standard. Just from the photo, I don't think this one is.

    And I also think an unsigned silver Swiss case, which also looks pretty unexceptional (from what I can see in the photo), is unlikely to be Tiffany standard.

    Charlie, I'm not trying to be unkind about your watch, just expressing an honest opinion :(
     
  6. Cary Hurt

    Cary Hurt Registered User
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    I'm leaning towards agreeing with Luca. The word "Sterling" doesn't bear the same legal weight in the US as it does in the UK, and I have several Swiss cased watches whose stampings indicate the Continental standard of .935, but use the word Sterling.

    A nun's watch is by definition intended for one who has taken a vow of poverty. I would not be surprised at all to see Tiffany retail a relatively modest watch for that intended audience. At least I wouldn't have been surprised 100 years ago. Today is a different story.
     
  7. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    I suggest that any Swiss case using the word "Sterling" was designed to deceive. Of course .935 silver is a higher fineness than Sterling so surely the only purpose in effectively downgrading it to Sterling grade would be to imply that the watch is in some way "English".

    In any event, whether or not the use of the word actually broke US law, I can't believe that a firm of Tiffany's stature would have retailed a watch which misused the term.

    Of course Charlie could send his photos to Tiffany and ask them.
     
  8. Cary Hurt

    Cary Hurt Registered User
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    #8 Cary Hurt, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
    Marty,

    In a way, you are of course correct. I believe the use of the word "sterling" was simply to imply the high quality that American consumers would have associated with the English standard. As you note, the fineness is actually greater than true sterling, and since the US didn't have the same local assay and hallmarking structure of the UK, it wasn't against US law to call it sterling, or coin, or whatever they wanted, as long as the decimal equivalent and the importer's hallmarks are there. Most of our laws regarding assay content and proofmarks were overhauled in 1923, and again in 1934, but I think this piece pre-dates that. The Swiss bear indicates pre-1934, although I'd date this piece to probably 1890, plus or minus a few, Tiffany or not.

    I don't know why we didn't adopt a more rigorous hallmarking system.
     
  9. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User

    Dec 11, 2007
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    here is another relatively low grade Tiffany by Longines
     

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  10. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Aug 6, 2010
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    We recently re-evaluated information in one of the Audemars books and (as I think I posted on another thread) we found that Audemars' London Depot was resourcing large-ish quantities of low(er) grade silver watches from other Swiss makers and selling them on to their London customers, including some important “names” – Dent, Frodsham, Hunt & Roskill &c &c.
    We'll never know how they were signed or branded.

    I (and others more knowledgeable then me) concluded that they and their customers were seeking to get into the expanding market for watches being sold to the middle and working classes towards the end of C19 - as possession of a watch was becoming less a luxury and more a necessity.

    Additionally, if sales for lower end stuff were there to be had, they would not have wanted other sellers to get in on the act and fragment their market.

    They were certainly not alone in doing this in England and I see no reason why a similar market evolution would not have taken place in the USA – perhaps even more likely.

    If so, and particularly with US buyers' general predilection for ensuring that products remained as anonymous as possible apart from their own signatures, it's going to be a bit difficult to sort out the right ones from the wrong ones - if you see what I mean..........

    P
     

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