Bezels interchangeable for Illinois Spartan cases??

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by jess tauber, Sep 29, 2019.

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  1. jess tauber

    jess tauber Registered User

    Dec 24, 2017
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    Hi folks. I normally stay in the European pocketwatch forum, but since this concerns an American case I'll throw down here. I have an old Gallet 18s movement that's been recased in an Illinois Spartan case, with screw on bezel and rear lid as well. Because the glass crystal was too low in the bezel it impeded the movement of the hands. So I reversed them, so that now the lid is over the dial and the crystal over the movement. Obviously the threading on both sides of the case are identical for this to work. What I want to know, in the interests of creating a cheap 'display case', is whether all the 18s Spartan cases have the same threads and diameter lids/bezels, so that one may interchange them from case to case? I'm getting the impression from ebay auctions that some designs differ slightly in the diameter of the bezels, so they might not fit the case I have. Any clues? Thanks.

    Jess Tauber
     
  2. jess tauber

    jess tauber Registered User

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    So I just got in a second Illinois Spartan 18s case which I got for a good low price. On the hunch that the back and front would be interchangeable and standardized size- and thread-wise, I was able to create a good display case for the cost of two pizza pies. And I have spare parts to boot! How many people do this by mixing and matching standard case parts?

    Jess Tauber
     
  3. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Jan 12, 2017
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    Many people have created "homemade" "display cases" from these inexpensive base metal
    watch cases(and other watch cases that the front and back are interchangeable).

    I have not done this myself but have seen many over the years on eBay and
    at marts.


    Rob
     
  4. jess tauber

    jess tauber Registered User

    Dec 24, 2017
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    Thanks for your answer. I previously had a very cheap hunter display case that came from a Cross and Beguelin 'dollar' type watch, which I replaced with a nice key-wind movement, but the bezels were snap-on, so to reset the time or wind it I had to pry the bezels off. Eventually doing this all the time damaged the balance (either the pivot or jewels) making it nonfunctional. Live and learn. Later people told me that these cases were meant ONLY for stem-wind movements. I won't make that mistake again. The new case I assembled has screw-on bezels, which are a bit 'touchy' and require very gentle registration between the threads- even then getting them to mesh is laborious. But it is stem-wind, so at least I won't damage the balance here.

    Jess Tauber
     
  5. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    Oct 25, 2018
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    #5 Rick Hufnagel, Nov 7, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
    I was looking for a display case at a recent regional event, and one seller said he keeps a box of miscellaneous bezels just for the purpose your describing.

    I do have two american nickel cases where I've found bezels to fit the back to make a display case, but I've also kept the original backs so the case could be put back the way it was. It's actually neat, because I just got a new watch with the same case as one of those, and now I can put the "display" bezel on either watch. I will say, however, that the novelty wore off pretty quick for me.

    There's three seemingly identical fahys "oresilver" cases in my junk box, each missing parts, where one bezel may fit one but not another and some fit both sides of the case and some don't.. it's a shot in the dark I think... Wether it will work or not. Even on two identical cases, In your "case".

    Never did find a hinged display case yet. There are new ones I see for sale, but look like they're trying to mimic 1930s railroad cases.... Not what I'm looking for to house a B.W.R. from 1874!

    Heres one of the cases with a bezel on the back. it holds a really clean B.W.R. from the early 1890s that I wanted to use for a railroad watch display... And that's about the only time anyone sees it, haha.

    72de94145fe3c2a3cf61e4b26d770d79.jpg
     
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  6. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I only have one homemade "salesman" case it's in a swing out case that someone did themselves
    because there isn't a back bezel on these(its one piece)they cut the case. I have been searching
    for a replacement 18 hunting case(but not too hard) as I see them often. One of these days
    I will change the case.

    1887 Elgin BW Raymond Pocket Watch Hunter 18s PW LS 15j 2.jpg IMG_1086.jpg


    Rob
     
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