Back to the Three Emperors' Corner again

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by pmwas, Feb 5, 2019.

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  1. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    My hometown of Sosnowiec, yes.

    Today I went to a small, lovely antique shop in the very centre, filled with old china, silverware, books, clocks, paintings… just whatever's your heart's desire :)

    DSCN0061 — kopia.JPG

    Not 200 meters away from the main railway station, built in the Russian times, in 1859 - among the first railway stations in Poland. Old picture, as we now have a beautiful winter here :)

    In there, I found a lovely, silver watch I just had to purchase, no doubt:


    Found in it's original box, the watch front lid has a nice 'WP' monogram, applied, not engraved…


    Both front and back have simple, but very elegant finish.


    Under the front lid...


    ...there is a lovely, art deco, pressed dial with elegant pattern.


    Silvana. The name rings a bell, but I've not yet made any sort of direct contact with Silvana watches.
    I don't usually buy Swiss watches - not my cup of tea, to be frank, but this is more than just a Swiss watch of the era:


    To Mr Vladislav Pazera for 25 years of service, the Hantke Modrzejow Company it says.
    This is a presentation watch for a large mining-ironworks company of Sosnowiec, Poland.

    The Hantke Modrzejow company was incorporated in 1920 (in the newly reborn state of Poland), but it's mines and ironwork plants operated since late XIX century, established in the Russian times.

    Such presentation notes from this period is nothing very special, you see one every once in a while, but this comes from my own city - most come from the neighboring Silesian region cities.

    Obviously - such souvenir form your own city is always a treat.
    I did not even look under the cuvette. Swiss movements of the time are often not very attractive and I was afraid it could discourage me.
    So the sound of swinging balance was quite enough for me.

    Back at home I - obviously - did open up the cuvette.


    This was a pleasant suprise :)


    A mid grade 15 jewel movement with cut expansion balance.
    Well finished, high quality. Looks like a Revue to me, but don't take that for granted.

    The movement started working in my pocket on the way home, obviously needs oiling, though.

    All in all - a great day. You don't get watches like this every day.
    Historical piece from my city and preserved in near-mint conditio, with minor wear, some tarnish and no significant damage to speak of.

    Splendid, I say :)
  2. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    And another beautiful piece, this time bought in the web - arrived in today's mail :)


    Paul Buhre, maker to the court of the Tsar of Russia - 8 day pocket watch.


    Base metal case...


    ...with typical late Buhre markings on the cuvette. It's likely made somewhere around 1910-1915.

    Inside - a Swiss 8 day movement, mid grade, looks to be 9 jewel, not very sophisticated in terms of finish.


    Close-up :)


    The thing is...

    IMG_3068.JPG's HUGE :)
    I do 't know how scarce or rare it is, first time I see one, so probably uncommon, but the size is something.


    That's compared to another Buhre, that one about 16 size, so no small watch itself :)

    Cool oversized watch, I think :)
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  3. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Getting on with the watches form my own city - a Cyma...


    Young is dumb and I was too young to get this.

    I got this from my neighbour when I was 17, a long time ago.

    It came with a lovely (but busted) Zenith I've already shown, but long ago.

    The watches were family heritage, the Zenith once belonging to her grandfather (an important person in Sosnowiec) and the Cyma to her stepfather, a lawyer from Sosnowiec as well.

    Zenith was in worse, non working and missing parts condition, but it's a Zenith and it was Mr Anthony Baranski's watch, so I finally managed to restore the watch during the last 15 years.

    The Cyma, however, is a low grade watch in base metal case, with metal replacement dial and... all in all instead of restoring it, I scavenged the hands and crystal for use in 'better watches', and so the watch remained hidden in my drawer.

    Why do a thing like that? Well - like I said - young is dumb. When you're young you won't understand the value of 'family heritage' and a watche's unique story.
    I finally remembered the watch when the neighbour mentioned her Papa and... the watch he used to have.

    I reinstalled another crystal, Installed a set of hands similar to the ones the watch used to have (the minute one was non-original anyway, as 15 years ago I had my watchmaker replace it with a nicer one) and went on with servicing the movement. Here goes:


    The watch disassembled.
    It's a nicely finished, but just 10 jewel Cyma in base metal case. Nothing particularly special, but well made piece.
    Keyless works:


    And the patented balance spring regulator:


    There is nothing very special about it, except that instead of a traditional single arm it has an arm made of two pieces.
    So you can roughly adjust the rate by moving just the short hairspring end (the long arm still centered) and then use the regulator arm itself for 'fine tuning'.
    It's nothing significant, but with a very long piece of Breguet overcoil shaped for regulation, this watch allows a great deal of adjustment on hairspring only, without the need to move the regulator arm out of scale.
    If that's a good idea or no... Such large amount of hairspring regulation range might impair accuracy at some point, perhaps, but then again - for a lower grade watch like this it ight ust make things simple.

    The gear train and winding gears for you:


    The train regained some beautiful gloss after cleaning. The large winding gear is badly scratched all over and I think it was not my young me doing this (I'd probably not remove the gear back then and damaged the plate around it ;) ), but the linear scratches on the top plate close to the center wheel might be in fact mine (rings a bell, somehow…).

    Anyway, the plates show some wear, but did clean up nicely.

    Getting on with the escapement, I find this:


    The pallets and the roller are blueish or slightly violet in tone, with unusual gloss making them look like polished metal (!).
    In fact for years I thought the pallets were steel, even though it did seem ridiculous.
    I wonder if the pallets are sapphire, but sapphire does not usually have such strange gloss.
    Is this garnet? Is it possible thy used garnets? I just don't know - never seen ones like this.

    The balance staff shows signs of lower pivot repair and the pallet bridge had been filed down to clear the balance. I don't like it, but it used to be a common repair at the time.

    On with assembling - case and dial:


    The watch has a very simple nickel case (just one back cover), that is an original factory case, as the little logo inside tells us.
    The dial is a replacement, and not a perfect replacement as well (slightly off center second sub-dial), and it had once been attached to the movement with a pair of screws.
    I won't say no to that - that's how I got this watch and that how his owner liked it.


    Back in once piece and keeping time again.


    Not very high grade, but good looking and fine quality movement.

    All in all - it takes time to understand the true value of such possessions is something else than what I'd get on eBay.
    It's a near-worthless watch - I doubt anyone would give thirty bucks for it, but obviously it's more than what's it worth in zloty or dollars.

    BTW - it's funny how in the end I got this watch a spade minute hand, because that's exactly what I wanted my watchmaker to do, only he did not get the point ;)

    Ethan Lipsig and Keith R... like this.
  4. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Another Imperial Russia buy.
    A nice Georges Facre Jacot watch...


    I bought it recently - attracted by the nickel finished cylinder escapement movement...


    It is a nice, all original watch in GFJ silver case:


    (the front lid is a bit bent, but the finish is in nice condition).



    GFJ marked caseback and both lids...


    ...which are also stamped with Russian ‚84’ silver hallmark.

    Now - when I opened the envelope, there was a large bundle of buble wrap around pretty much... nothing.

    It was way inside that bundle, more difficult to spot, as it is...


    ...a ladies watch!!!

    Am I disappointed? Well - no :)
    Actually, good GFJ ladies watches are harder to aquire than gents’ pieces :)
    Ethan Lipsig, Keith R... and viclip like this.
  5. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Nov 27, 2012
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
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    Paul..............Good thread.

    Keith R...

    JJ765 (800x600).jpg JJ766 (800x600).jpg JJ764 (800x600).jpg
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  6. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Nice :) !!!
    Keith R... likes this.
  7. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Next watch (currently under repairs) is this gunmetal Buhre:


    It is large (case looks like American 18s), made of oxidated steel.


    There is this Russian eagle on the cuvette, so late Imperial period...


    The movement is 13 jewel, ticks.


    It is dirty and the case has corrosion spots that need attention...


    Also it needs a crystal.

    Nice watch already :)
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  8. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    I've worked on the watch. It's not absolutely perfect, for various reasons, but it's acceptable for me now...

    Firstly - I polished down most of the rust on the damaged spot (this was too deep to safely remove it entirely, I think) and I reoxidated the case...


    I know I should have polished all the surface first, but I don't have good tools for that. I was afraid I could damage the case irreversibly. So I just reoxidated the surface as it was.
    It is interesting - on my Gabus the steel would turn black, while in this Bure - brown.
    It seems this is just the way this particular chemical reacts with Buhre steel, because - at the same time - I tried to cover up some wear through in my other 'gunmetal' Buhre from similar period and it also turned dark brown. Not like it looks bad, no - it's very nice, but not exactly the original tone.

    You can see a crystal on as well - I bought an old - size 493 - glass crystal that turned out a little too small, so I used some glue. Maybe I'll replace that some day when find one exactly right…

    The movement's problem was... corrosion.

    I disassembled and cleaned it repeatadely, but the plates' surface was very dull and matte, so I super-gently polished the surface to get some glow.
    I know it's - to say the least - controversial, but I've noticed that very, very gentle polishing of busted gilded plates (not the nickel plated ones, which cannot be helped in any way, as the damaskeening pattern is very shallow and will always be damaged) adds shine not destroying the all-important 'grainy' finish.

    All I do is just a few sweeps with a polishing cloth and then dry microfiber that's all. I don't try to achieve uniform gold tone or remove all discoloration from the surface (I've seen watchmakers do that and it never looks any good - I even have one lovely Zenith completely ruined this way...), just a bit of shine...

    In fact - if the surface of the plates is damaged by corrosion, bright yellow and matte, nothing can really be done, but sometimes they can be helped just a bit.

    Assembling of this movement is easy - nothing extraordinary here...


    The watch has a nice, polished, steel escapement parts. They managed to stay away from moisture, it seems, as they are not as corroded as the case, plates or winding parts and gears.


    Pin set keyless works.
    The winding pinion teeth are corroded and - thus - some are short, so the winding is not steady and disconnects every once in a while.
    Nothing can be done, the pinion needs replacement.


    The movement works and keeps good time.


    I do not have a better crown for this watch, and also I'd need a new stem standing by, as the one seen sems soldered to the top and there might be trouble removing it.


    All in all - it got better. It is not in very good condition as it was not stored properly for a long time, but now it is quite acceptable.


    "Imperial" markings show this was made before 1917, maybe during World War I actually.


    Fancy piece. Not very fancy, but good enough :)
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  9. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Spring at the Three Emperors' Corner again!
    Today we're gonna travel back in time over 100 years again to the times where the three major empires still ruled the land...


    I'm standing on the banks of Biala Przemsza river, on the Russian side.
    Behind my back - an old (circa 1850) railway bridge connecting the Russian Granica (Boarder) station with Austrian Szczakowa.
    The bridge is original and this spot has not changed much for the last 150 years...

    Once beautiful (now still in ruin, despite some renovation efforts) Granica station was the last station of the famous Warsaw-Vienna line, the second railroad built in the whole Russian Empire.

    Today one could travel to Schaffhausen in a day even by car, back then - it must have been quite a journey.
    I have visited Schaffhausen briefly a few years ago (no time to visit the IWC museum, though :( ) - it is a nice, small city in northern Switzerland, known worldwide mostly for it's watchmaking, of course...


    From the 2nd half of 19th Century high end watches have been made in Schaffhausen...


    ...and today I'm going to show you a mystery watch with a high quality movement made here in 1906.


    I've patched up this busted piece and it's pretty much running.
    Not very well, but running.


    The movement is a caliber 64, early pendant set version.
    The setting lever had been replaced, but clearly this had been pendant set originally.


    As I was told (info from IWC itself) this movement was originally a small, ladies pocket watch sold to a dealer in Vienna.
    Over time, the watch made it's way to Russia and was recased as a gold wristwatch...


    Whoever modified/repaired the watch placed the new stem release screw under the dial and - apparently - tired to file a notch in the dial to make it accessible...
    Ruining the dial forever...


    Don't mind the hands, the minute hand clearly needs replacement...
    The single sunk, double pressed dial is marked Intern'l Watch Co. and according to IWC data...
    It is NOT their dial (?!!!).

    What is this, then? Custom made? Would they custom-make enamel dials in Russia? That's MIGHTY strange...

    Anyway - the case has a Russian 56 zlotniki hallmark, which means it was made either in the late Imperial or early Soviet period, as this unit (zolotnik) was quickly abandoned in the USSR.


    The movement fits the case very well. We were not able to determine who made the case, sadly.


    I have fitted a leather strap and wear this mystery watch from time to time.
    I bought it here at the Corner, it was sitting in Katowice for the last years.

    Once again - how it made it's way from Vienna to Katowice, changing it's case and dial on the way… only the watch could tell...

    I was hoping this was an all-original early IWC wristwatch, but I like it all the same - decent piece :)
  10. richiec

    richiec Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    automotive warranty inspector
    Brick, Ocean, NJ
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    Nice uniform, government issue or an antique store find?
  11. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    I found this on an internet listing. Just the coat (the cap is from a different set, but you don’t see that in sepia ;) ). Appears to be a fairly modern replika of Imperial lieutenant coat. All markings in Russian, but I don’t know it’s origin...
  12. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
    automotive warranty inspector
    Brick, Ocean, NJ
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    Here is a reproduction Union officer uniform my brother used to use when doing American Civil War reenactments. The other one is my father in his U S Navy uniform in WWII. There is something so distinctive about the Russian uniforms.

    civil war uniform.jpg MVC-014S.JPG
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  13. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    #13 pmwas, May 10, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
    Today I took my Jacot watch for a little historic trip around the Three Emperors Corner...


    I started at the entrance of the old 'Promenade' park in Myslowice (former Myslowitz, Prussia).


    According to historical sources, this used to be a beautiful park on the banks of Black Przemsza river, but later Przemsza was regulated, on it's western bank a railroad was built and now the park is nothing more than an alley surrounded by some trees.
    However, if you follow the - now dismantled - railway, you'll reach the Corner from it's western (Prussian) side…


    The terrains surrounding the Corner are still quite 'wild' - just forest with some beautiful wildlife (I've seen a deer a fox and a pheasant and I did not expect that in an urban area), but it's also dirty, as people dump litter there and noone cleans that up.


    The railway bridge is long abandoned and you can cross the river if you dare (not for someone with height anxiety, definitely) - I think turning that into a pedestrian bridge and revitalizing the surrounding forest a bit (with a couple more biking trails, for example) would be a good idea, but... that would cost a lot, so… it's as you can see - all neglected and left be...

    Walking along the bank of White Przemsza (former Austro-Russian border), between the trees you can see the towers of Myslowice churches - Lutheran (1) and Catholic (2).


    There used to be also a beautiful, large synagogue (3) in Myslowice, but that did not survive until today… now all you can see there is just some factory chimney, that's all…

    Walking on you reach Jezor (now part of Sosnowiec), and crossing back to the 'Russian' bank you get to Niwka - now also part of Sosnowiec, back then… a fishing village.


    The church is old, but that's pretty much the only relic of the old times in Niwka.
    This church can also be seen on old postcards if they picture is faced towards Sosnowiec, not - as it usually is - Myslowice.
    The easiest way to get back to Myslowice is to follow the road, but I chose to get back to the Corner and follow the eastern bank of Black Przemsza - way more fun.


    Like I said - Przemsza river had been regulated and the nicest way is to follow a path on the top of the embankment, but you can see it does resemble what's seen in this circa 1910 postcard. Only there are no more beaches on the bank of the river and the nicely blue river was turned into a sewer by the industrial cities built on it's way (getting better, anyway - does not stink from a mile away anymore).

    The path gets us to Modrzejow - now also part of Sosnowiec, these days a separate town.
    I've read in a (short - I don't read much ;) ) book on history of my region, that Modrzejow got larger in the times of plague, when the people running away from the plague reached the Prussian boarder, but the border - due to the plague - was closed (sounds familiar?). So they decided to stay where they came - in Modrzejow.
    Many of these people were Jewish, and nowadays the only thing that reminds us of that history is the old Jewish cemetery…


    Today there is not that much in Modrzejow to remind us of the old times, but it's somewhere around the buildings by the road where the Russian customs house (Zollkammer) used to be.
    That was on the end of a very long, wooded border bridge, pretty much where now the modern 'Independence bridge' is.


    And so I got back to Myslowice.
    For a very long time this was a border city of either Prussia or Austria, depending on who owned Upper Silesia at the time.
    It still is the border city of Upper Silesia - Modrzejow being in the far west parts of Lesser Poland - but it hardly has any meaning now…
    It's just a typical Silesian city, Prussian style, Prussian feeling so to say...


    You can see the city hall, the Lutheran church and the old railroad station on the busy trail between Cracov and Katowice.
    I have a lot of personal memories here, as many times I used to go by train to Cracov with my mother… back in the old times, before everyone got a car...

    And that's it :) just a short writeup on history of the place in the times my 'eagle' watch was manufactured.
    So much has changed since then…
  14. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sosnowiec, Poland
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    Clearly off topic (off-watch-topic, as clearly a nice historic souvenir from the old, Imperial times), but I think you might like it as well.

    It’s an old record published by Syrena Grand Record label around 1910-14.

    Marked in Russian, this was a Warsaw label, Russian Empire at the time.

    Franz Joseph orchestra, Berlin.
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