Antique Pocket Watch Identification Needed

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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Hi all,

Information needed please. I acquired this beautiful & unique pocket watch some 10 years ago due to the passing of a friend. However, I cannot identify the maker and would like to try and ascertain a value to the timepiece. I have been told that it is early to mid 1800s, and the case appears to be gun metal.

The watch has the following marking inside the case as various points:

1. Avance Retard on the back of the mechanism
2. JJ 4612
3. T13
4. 9
5. Saul 89587749

Thanking you in advance for your assistance.
JC2u
 

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Cary Hurt

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Hello and welcome to the NAWCC message board.

While this is far from my area of expertise, I believe your watch may be of French manufacture, and the case appears to be silver rather than gunmetal. Early 1800s is probably correct for a date. We do not offer valuations, but will gladly help you gather enough information that you can search for prices realized from comparable items.

If you could post a close-up picture of the movement, so that the details are more clearly visible, we may be able to offer more information. If there are any stampings, engravings or other marks inside the case back, those might be important clues as well. French and Swiss hallmarks are often ridiculously tiny, and easily overlooked.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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IMHO french or the french speaking part of switzerland,verge,possibly fusee,late 18th to early 19th century and definitely not gun metall but silver of an unknown degree.Clear pics both of the back plate and into the mvmt.from the side are necessary to give more infos.Quiet a rare dial design,haven´t seen one like that before(that doesn´t mean much,but anyway)Wellcome!
Burkhard
 

MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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Welcome to the board, JC :)

It is indeed a fascinating watch, and my instinct is that it is earlier in date than you suggest - from the limited photos I would have guessed at 1800 to 1820.

We will need more and better photos to reach any conclusions, but a preliminary thought is that "JJ" might just stand for Jurgen Jurgensen. I know nothing about his work or his style, but he was a very famous Danish watchmaker.
 

Jerry Treiman

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JC2u - I have a very similar watch, almost certainly by the same maker, but a different case maker. It is a fusee movement with a verge escapement. I described it and some of the history of my watch in this thread on another board - http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=2213&p=12971
My best guess is that the watch is from around 1800, give or take a decade.
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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Re: New Photos -Antique Pocket Watch Identification Needed

Thank you all for your responses and information. I have attached additional pictures trying to depict the mechanism. They are not the greatest pictures as the mechanisms are incased.

Mr. Treiman, I have reviewed your previous thread, and yes there are great similarities. However, ... possibly, I overlooked it, but I did not see who the marker of the watch was... such as name brand. Can you help me with that?

Again, this is the information inside the case and on the back of the mechanism.

1. Avance Retard on the back of the mechanism
2. JJ 4612
3. T13
4. 9
5. Saul 89587749
 

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Jerry Treiman

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I really have no idea who made these. It is possible, too, within the Swiss system, that there were more than one watchmaker who acquired and finished this ebauche. I see that yours has square pillars and mine, as I recall, has round pillars (I need to dig it out some time and check that). I don't know if that necessarily means yours is older.
 

MartyR

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JC, my compliments on your photos --- getting shots of gold surfaces and sideways between movement plates is really difficult, and yours came out extremely well :clap:

I can see Avance and Retard on the back plate, but I can't see the two markings that particularly interest me - the JJ4612 (which I believe may refer to the movement maker) and Saul (which I suspect might be the casemaker). Exactly where are these marks ?

If they're on the gilt backplate, I suggest you place a light source behind the watch and shoot your photo from the front ensuring that your camera doesn't get a direct reflection of the light source - this helps to create a shadow in the engraving. I hope this makes sense :confused: Don't use flash, err on the side of too low a level light, and use Photo Manager or similar software to increase the contrast.

Jerry, that's a great thread on G-H ... terrific research which really helps to bring your watch alive :) Apart from the general look of the engraving, is there anything about the movement of your watch that leads you to suspect that it's French?
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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Thank you Marty for the comments. I've attempted to photograph the markings which are on the inside of the back case. See attached pictures.
 

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Burkhard Rasch

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Re: New Photos -Antique Pocket Watch Identification Needed

confirmed:verge with fusee and chain,looks very clean.Does it work? Beautyfull dial,congrats to that!All in all a nice watch,a keeper!If You want to use it regularly it should be serviced by an experianced professional,if You wind it once or twice a year You can save that money(Could be more than 200bucks)for more watches!
Burkhard
 

MartyR

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JC, I had understood that the JJ mark was on the movement, not the case. Given that it's on the case, it is more likely that this is the mark of the casemaker rather than the movement maker. That's a shame.

Is the name "Saul" on the movement or the case? On your other thread someone suggested a Lancaster, England watchmaker by this name whose recorded dates would be perfect for this watch. I know your wath does not remotely look English, but maybe that Saul went to France/Switzerland as an apprenticeand made some watches. He might have been aged between 20 and 30 when your watch was made. It's a heck of a long shot, but I can't find anything else. Sorry.
 

Jerry Treiman

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... Jerry, that's a great thread on G-H ... terrific research which really helps to bring your watch alive :) Apart from the general look of the engraving, is there anything about the movement of your watch that leads you to suspect that it's French?
It is an inference on my part. I suspect the case is French as it has the identical maker's mark as a case I have seen on a movement by Romilly, who was located in Paris in the late 1700s. I am guessing that a Swiss watchmaker would not have gone to Paris for my case (which has a matching number to the movement). I know my watch was in Paris in 1828, although that does not prove anything.
 

MartyR

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Thanks Jerry. I think you mjust be right that it's French - it certainly has the look, and the Romilly match and history are very supportive. Great watch.

JC, if Jerry's watch is French then yours is almost certainly French too. I think everyone's instinct based on the look of the case and the enamel work would agree with that. So ideally you want to date it and identify the maker, and then get a value on it.

I don't know where you live, but my strong recommendation now would be for you to take it to Christies for an opinion on all three of those things. I believe they are probably best placed to research this watch, and they might well ask you if they can send it to their Geneva office for that research.

I believe you have a significantly valuable watch, and the effort of getting an expert opinion should be worthwhile. Do let us know what you're doing, and if you find out anything more we'd all love to know :)
 

Tom McIntyre

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Since no one else has remarked about the watch configuration being "upside down" I thought I would.

The plate that would normally be the back plate of the watch is under the dial with the balance mounted on it and the cover with balance visible on the dial. What would be the pillar plate in a normal configuration is at the back with the regulator arm.

This configuration was used in the 19th century to produce very thin bagnolet watches. I believe the intent with this watch was to make it as thin as possible also. The later bagnolet watches are typically cylinders and may be as thin as 2 mm.

It is a very interesting watch.
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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Marty,

Thank you again for the information, and yes the watch is in working condition. But, it does need servicing or oiling or something. It ticks continuously when it is laying flat. But when handling or sitting on its stand, the ticking stops.

JC
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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Re: New Photos -Antique Pocket Watch Identification Needed

confirmed:verge with fusee and chain,looks very clean.Does it work? Beautyfull dial,congrats to that!All in all a nice watch,a keeper!If You want to use it regularly it should be serviced by an experianced professional,if You wind it once or twice a year You can save that money(Could be more than 200bucks)for more watches!
Burkhard
Yes, the watch is in semi-working condition. It ticks off and on. It will tick continuously after the winding for a day or so in a prone state. However, upon being handled or sitting upright, it ceases to tick.

Also, can any one tell me specifically what these marking stand for in side the back of the case: (pictures have been provided earlier in the thread).

2. JJ 4612
3. T13
4. 9
5. Saul 89587749


Much thanks,
JC
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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My apologies to all for some of the repeated questions. Not familiar with maneuvering around the site so totally missed some of your responses before.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you for all your work, information and advise on this. I greatly appreciate it. As I am definitly not an aficionado in this area (but I don't guess most girls are). Therefore, I have no idea as to what most of what you are telling me means.

I acquired the watch while living in San Francisco (now reside in Michigan), from a rather well-to-do friend who passed, and I know the watch meant a great deal to him.

I believe, I will follow your advise in contacting Christies in New York to see if it is financially feesible to move forward with an identification and appraisal. If so, I'm suspecting I would have to ship the watch to them. Do you think this would advisable?

Also Marty in answer to your question, "Saul" is located on the inside of the case.

Much thanks again,
JC
 

Tom McIntyre

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JC,

Saul and the other lightly engraved marks are from prior repairs to the watch. Watchmakers often mark the item so they have a reference for their records. Long ago, they would scratch their name as well as a code number.

Christies and Sothebys conduct visits from time to time to various parts of the country where they will perform casual appraisals.

While I think your watch is very interesting, it is essentially a decorative piece and there is no maker's name. Therefore, the value is unlikely to be high enough for you to need a rider on your homeowners insurance policy for it. High value Geneva enameled watches have the decoration on the inside and outside of the case which is exquisitely detailed. Just a case cover from one of those watches might fetch $20,000 at auction.

If I owned your watch, I would wait for a convenient time to have it valued and would not spend much money on the activity.

Watches from friends and family are always very special and I hope you continue to enjoy yours.
 

JC2u

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Jun 22, 2011
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JC,

Saul and the other lightly engraved marks are from prior repairs to the watch. Watchmakers often mark the item so they have a reference for their records. Long ago, they would scratch their name as well as a code number.

Christies and Sothebys conduct visits from time to time to various parts of the country where they will perform casual appraisals.

While I think your watch is very interesting, it is essentially a decorative piece and there is no maker's name. Therefore, the value is unlikely to be high enough for you to need a rider on your homeowners insurance policy for it. High value Geneva enameled watches have the decoration on the inside and outside of the case which is exquisitely detailed. Just a case cover from one of those watches might fetch $20,000 at auction.

If I owned your watch, I would wait for a convenient time to have it valued and would not spend much money on the activity.

Watches from friends and family are always very special and I hope you continue to enjoy yours.

Thank you Tom, I think that's very wise advice.:sour:
 

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