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Bailey Banks and Biddle help gold pocket watch

Sidzi1998

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Can I get some help getting more info and potential value on this pocket watch I inherited, please? The jeweler just wants to melt it for gold.

7DBC4CBA-C9AA-4551-BFE5-BDD959C300EF.jpeg E34D04C0-D9E2-43B3-AB89-54A55E2939FD.jpeg 000DAFC0-81C0-496A-9A53-8B68AA21C0E0.jpeg D23CB30E-359D-4CF2-8B9A-85F33E408A0A.jpeg image.jpg image.jpg
 
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musicguy

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Welcome to the NAWCC forum

I'm sure others will give you more information but a family
watch(you said you inherited it) is a very nice thing to own
and pass down through the family even if the gold value is
worth more than the watch. That being said we need to see the
inside of the watch the works(the movement inside) to know
exactly what you have. Please post some photos if you can.


Rob
 

Sidzi1998

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Welcome to the NAWCC forum

I'm sure others will give you more information but a family
watch(you said you inherited it) is a very nice thing to own
and pass down through the family even if the gold value is
worth more than the watch. That being said we need to see the
inside of the watch the works(the movement inside) to know
exactly what you have. Please post some photos if you can.


Rob
Thank you. I just posted those pics. The family member this was from is not known and there really is not family value from this as it was essentially from an outsider member of our family and just forgotten about. If that makes sense
 

musicguy

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I see the movement now hopefully someone will come by soon
and help. I will add the Value tag to your thread.


Rob
 

musicguy

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RE: "The jeweler just wants to melt it for gold."

The case back in your photo says base metal.

It's not solid gold



Rob
 

Dr. Jon

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This is a recently made watch. Arnex is mass market company. They have recently been "upping" their game offering better items. Most Arnex watche are very low end quartz so this an unusually goo done for them.

This watch is in an oversize case as seen by the spacer. It has a good movement designed to be serviced but doing so costs ore than the watch is worth. It is worth doing if the watch is to be worn and used.

The case has a a very thin gold plating. Thicker plating would be labeled with the plating thickness usually in microns (1 millionth of a meter of 1/1000 of a millimeter).

If your jeweler pays you for gold, take the money and run!

These rarely come up as old watches so it is hard to give a value but I think it is in the $50 range. A new one costs a lot more but these have very low resale value.

You might get a better idea by checking eBay looking for Arnex jeweled pocket watches. As usual check sold items, lots of eBay watch listings ask delusional prices and do not sell.
 

MrRoundel

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It looks like they used a STD-96-4 movement made by FHF. At least it reminds me of one I have on a Gruen. Gruen calls the movement a caliber 505, IIRC. It's a decent movement for which parts can generally be found. The case is decent as well, and has the type of gold plating that is measured in microns or fractions thereof. But as has been pointed out, it is a fairly recent manufacture. My Gruen that uses this movement is from the late sixties or early seventies, FWIW. Good luck.
 

Barney Green

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Most said appears to be correct. Sorry, but this is a cheap retro pocket watch most likely from about 1980. The movement is not a FHF 96-4 but appears to be an Unitas 6325 or similar from that family. MrRoundel woud have been correct that ST96-4 from FHF was called Caliber 505 by Gruen though. But, as said, different movement.
As Dr.Jon said, the case is of the cheapest gold plating, so if some one would pay ou for the gold you may get a nickle and a dime...
 

Dan Richter

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Bailey, Banks & Biddle was a customer of Arnex. Arnex did a number of private label watches for various customers. While the movement, and maybe the dial, were Arnex the case does not appear to be Arnex. All Arnex cases, including private label, were marked “Arnex” while this case is marked “Belle”. I believe “Belle” was used by LaBelle, who also made some pocket watches. The owner of La Belle was a friend of the pre-Kidde owner of Arnex. We frequently supplied parts to LaBelle, which included movements. LaBelle had the facilities to print dials.

I left Arnex in 1979 and Kidde sold off the company by 1980-1981 and the brand disappeared shortly thereafter.

As has been pointed out, the case is base metal indicating that it is gold plated. Back then gold was relatively cheap so plating would have been between 3 and 10 micron.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Dan, you worked for the company? That's great! Do you have, or know where to find, any information from Arnex Dating to back in the 60s through 80s? These watches are everywhere and there is surprisingly little contemporary literature or information out there, especially since they are not old by collecting standards. Where could I look? Where were they sold?
 
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Dan Richter

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Hi, Rick. Yes, I did work for Arnex from 1970 to 1979, which was both the beginning and end of the company. As you have stated, there is virtually zero information about the company. I have found a few fanciful stories on collector websites, clearly written by people who knew nothing about the company.

Very briefly, when I joined the company in 1970, the staff was 10 people. The business supplied parts such as movements, hands, cases and dials to other small watch companies. Among all those parts were two pocket watches; an open face 18.5’” with an enamel dial with a cow (UT6431) and a 16’” hunter case with a shield (UT 6498). They tuned out to be the right products at the right time. Three piece suit became the fashion and everyone wanted a pocket watch and a chain. Very quickly 10 people became about 120. It was a boom that spawned an number of other brands, such as ColibrI. At the height of this trend, the owner sold the company to Walter Kidde. Cost cutting became the norm and, as sales of pocket watches ebbed. The earlier purchase of Lucien Picard brought nothing to the table. I left the company and joined Longines-Wittnauer before Kidde sold what was left and the brand ceased to exist.
Unfortunately, I have only one catalog from 1979.
 

Jerry Treiman

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Among all those parts were two pocket watches; an open face 18.5’” with an enamel dial with a cow (UT6431) ...
Did Arnex start maybe a few years before you joined them? I have this watch, purchased in 1968 from the jeweler named on the dial.

The original "Garantie" is from Heno Watch SA, perhaps one of the companies that Arnex supplied?

cows.jpg Niklaus_m2.jpg Niklaus_mdt1.jpg
 
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Dan Richter

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That is the “cow” watch. It came in a yellow or white case, model SP21. Yellow hands were original.

Arnex was in business for 6-8 years before I joined. In addition to parts they did sell a number of watches. There was a “divers” watch, a chronograph (V7730), nurse’s watch, nun’s watch and a number of generic mens and ladies watches. They also mechanical timers.
 

Dan Richter

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After a posted this a went looking for Arnex information on line. As I mentioned there is lots of misinformation available. I blurb on “theoldtimey” credits Claude Wollman as being the founder in 1971. It does try to explain why he would have named the company Arnex.

The story is much simpler than these fantasy histories. I do not know the exact date that the company began. The founder, and owner, of the company was Arnold Fuchs. Arnex came from his name. The company was him and his wife, Isabel. Gradually, they added people as the company grew. When I join we were at 707 West 48th Street in Manhattan. I think this was also the first office. Arnold was a collector of art and antique watches and clocks.
When pocket watch demand increased, Arnold already had a few vendors in Switzerland and France who could supply us. Claude Wollman was our agent in Switzerland (Bienne). Claude stayed on top of the vendors and found new, interesting products. When Arnold sold the business to Walter Kidde, we moved the operation to Carlstadt, New Jersey. Later they moved the sales and executive offices to the Time & Life building in Manhattan.

I hope this helps stamp out some of the incorrect information out there.
 

Jerry Treiman

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Thanks, Dan, for sharing your personal knowledge. This is the type of information that is too often lost.
 
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