Do you keep only working timepieces or?

Discussion in 'Horological Misc' started by Big Ben, Dec 4, 2017.

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  1. Big Ben

    Big Ben Registered User

    Oct 15, 2017
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    Just wondering how big a mix of working to nonworking watches and/or clocks people have in thier display collections.

    I specify display because, like most collectors who also do a little repair my junk drawer is full of watches and pieces of watchs that will never be displayed.

    If I like a watch and it is nonworking I will attempt to repair it. If I can't and it is too expensive to have repaired it will still be proudly displayed amongst the rest of my watches.

    I might like the case and dial or the movement although not working might be particlarly beautiful or have an interesting design---any number of reasons.

    What do you folks do?

    BTW---I have 32 pieces in my collection---28 work---4 don't
     
  2. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Senior Administrator
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    Feb 11, 2005
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    If a watch isn't working simply because it needs cleaning or a straightforward repair like a staff or mainspring, it doesn't bother me at all in adding it to my collection. I collect private labels, so it's not always possible to just wait for another, better example to come along. I figure repairing them will keep me out of trouble when I retire. Now if the watch has been trashed, I usually won't bring it into my collection unless there is something really unique about it. My guess is that my collection is about 60% runners and 35% needing simple repair work. The remaining 5% are either incomplete or need more significant repair work.
     
  3. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    I only display the working ones, the non-working ones are in boxes or in my watch bench awaiting either parts or the needed skill to repair it.
     
  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I have more clocks than watches, but they don't all work. They were all collected for their history, there are enough working that you can't go anywhere in the house without hearing them.
     
  5. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    As a watch collector in Earthquake Country (southern California) I have not had a “display collection” since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. My collection consists of complete watches and movements of interest. Almost all of my cased watches are mechanically functioning but few are recently cleaned and serviceable for daily wear. Fortunately I can do most of my own simple repairs and almost all of my cased watches will run and I may wear any one on occasion. My movement collection is another matter. Many of these are working, but some are too gummy to run, a few need mechanical repair, and a very small number are incomplete (not talking about parts movements - these are scarce or interesting whether running or not), but I consider all a part of my collection that I continue to study and share. The movements are displayed, in a sense, in shallow drawers where they are easily accessed and viewed. (I have been collecting and studying pocket watches for over 50 years)
     
  6. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Dec 5, 2014
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    Like Nick, everything I collect is for history - primarily very early dollar watch history. Although it would be wonderful if they all worked, at this point, it has been difficult to find working examples for many of them. And I don't have the necessary skills to repair them. (Most of the clocks in our collection work, but we don't keep many of them running.)

    Looking forward to hearing thoughts from others.
    Pat
     
  7. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I have hundreds of watch movements that may or may not work, if I ever get around to attempting to make them work.
     
  8. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    PatH, what is considered an early, collectible dollar watch? Most of mine are the usual run of the mill New Haven, Ingraham, etc watches. I love to get them running though there are the usual boy abused ones. I have about 3 dozen working examples but wonder about collectiblility.
     
  9. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    For me, the early dollar watches are the back wind/back set examples that were similar to a small alarm clock movement mounted in a "watch" case. Early Ingersoll and New Haven and Ansonia watches. Also, the Waterbury Watch Company watches like my avatar and New England Watch Company watches. Most are pre-1910/1920. Some examples of an Ingersoll, New Haven and Welch below.

    I also collect World's Fair and other commemorative dollar watches. Most are unusual enough that I'm ok if they don't run.

    Many people won't work on them, so I'm glad to hear you're willing to take these much-loved treasures and bring them back to life!

    Pat

    DSC04269.JPG DSC04271.JPG DSC05168.JPG DSC05169.JPG Welch Columbus watch.JPG Welch Columbus Watch movement.JPG
     
  10. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I don't have a single watch in my collection of about 400 pocket watches that does not run well or at least did not run well when I acquired it. I cannot abide owning anything (watches included) with material issues, but I'm being emotional, not smart.

    I have my watches professionally serviced and restored, generally when I acquire them (I am not a do-it-yourself watchmaker). I then store my my watches in my safety deposit boxes. I don't carry my watches or use them, other than to wind them every 4-6 months. And that's where the rub comes: Although all my watches were working properly when I put them, generally just serviced/restored, in my safety deposit box, about 1 in 20 have issues when I periodically wind them. I have these recidivists professionally serviced.

    I have been collecting watches for about a dozen years. I have had to have quite a few watches serviced multiple times despite their non-use. It would be smarter for a collector like me to only acquire watches that would work well if serviced or restored, but to leave them as is. But as I said, it's an emotional issue with me. So I will continue the costly and foolish endeavor of keeping all my watches in good running order. I am not being smart.
     
  11. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    I generally buy clocks that are not currently running, but that I think will be able to run with a simple service. So far I've only bought a couple where there is more work needed to get them running than would make economic sense...

    I haven't much time at the moment, so I rely on others to do any servicing, but at least I am able to pull the movement out of a case, take the hands and dial off etc. That allows me to clean up at least the dial and case and make it look good on the shelf.

    I plan to get all the clocks running at some point, but mostly before I get my latest acquisition serviced, I buy another, so don't have the money available any more for the servicing! One day I will be old enough to retire, and by then it looks like I will have plenty of work to do learning how to work on the clocks, and then doing the work on them to get them all running...
     
  12. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I have only 2 running antique clocks in the house. An Ives 30 day time only wagon spring and an Ives A frame 8 day Empire cased clock. I have a fair number of 30 hr early clocks, the earliest about 1740 and a fair number of 30 hr. wood works. None of which I have any interest in keeping running. I can't really see any advantage to running clocks just to be running clocks. More than one running clock in a room seems to be just creating wear for the sake of my ego or to appease my OCD, so I don't run them. Many could be run, I just think some have earned the rest and sitting about looking proper is sufficient for my purposes. And then are some awaiting restoration or tablets ......no lack of projects either....
     
  13. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    I'm currently running a couple of 400 day clocks but then these, should be running. Same with watches.. I only run the ones I am wearing.
     
  14. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    I have 8 clocks, though I don't work on them, I wind them every week. The chiming and striking clocks keep my grandson from staying here, they keep him awake, that is what you get with free room. I have about 60 working watches and 100 non-working watches, the working ones are in cases on my shelf in my office, the non-workers are either in my bench or in other boxes. I love to tinker so I keep the non-runners for a while to see if I can get them running, some have been around for 10 years.
     
  15. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Sometimes, I enjoy responding to a thread like this just to clear my head. So here it goes....
    My interest is in clocks only. I collect for different reasons. But really whatever interests me.
    1. if the piece is mechanically interesting
    2. the appearance
    3. the history
    Generally I prefer folksy clocks, that were used by everyday, but perhaps industrious and practical people. But I do have a few nice clocks, not sure how many more expensive clocks I will ever add to my collection.

    The answer to the question originally posed is: No, only a couple are run.
    However, I seem to only buy clocks that could be (seemingly) restored to running condition fairly easily....I don't buy basket cases, but only clocks that are mostly complete. I do enjoy restoration, but I found that clocks that are basket cases ultimately will not be very original if they are restored, so that kind of ruins it for me.

    I recently went on a bit of a buying binge. I am working on displaying them all. I would describe myself as a controlled hoarder. There are no plans to acquire more space, so when the available space gets filled, I stop buying more or less. I have another full time job, so I do what I am able. It's a process. But, no, I don't feel like all the clocks need to run to be enjoyed. But, they can be restored to run, and that's part of their enjoyment.
     
  16. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    I liked all of what you said and that's why I quoted it all.
    As I have said, I'm squaring off one and two maybe three, if I can get the schatz miniature working of 400 day clocks to see just how accurate I can bring all three towards the same, let alone to the quartz clock and computer, phone..
    Mentioned it to my old master just this eve and his reply was, "but but those things were never meant to be accurate". I mentioned Harrison and he said "pshaw, they wouldn't ever start on a boat".
     
  17. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Interesting thread and interesting comments.

    Guess I'm going to basically echo what has already been stated.

    Generally, only 2 or 3 antique clocks are "run" routinely, 2 of which are 15 day ST wall clocks...and I still forget to wind them on time.

    I generally seek earlier CT clocks that tickle my fancy due to decorative factors (e.g., a wonderful tablet or case), an interesting movement especially one that illustrates something about the evolution of the CT clock industry, etc. I enjoy what I have called in MB postings "folk art" clocks, i.e., one offs and all of which are the products of the someone's creative muse. Even though some must have taken 100's of hours to create, all unsigned.

    I suppose like some others here, what is a not generally a criteria for acquiring and keeping something ,is whether it "runs," but is it basically all original and could it be cleaned up a bit and put in a "running" state. I too generally don't go for basket cases but I really do like unrestored and unmolested. So many things have been inappropriately "restored", using that time loosely.

    RM
     
  18. Bogey

    Bogey Registered User

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    I started out just collecting clocks. Then, when most of the clocks I bought didn't run, I quickly realized that I had better learn to fix them myself. Since then, my wife and I came to an understanding... One comes in, one has to go. Of course she didn't mention the garage or my workshop... ;)

    Now, I've evolved into mostly restoration, so I have only three clocks in my "collection" in the house and they all run. I have a 31 day Seth Thomas, an MB grandfather clock and a mini Vienna tome only. The rest of my clocks are in my workshop awaiting cleaning and restoration. I'm retired, so I can take my time and enjoy the process and the satisfaction of taking one of these small treasures and returning it to it's original beauty and function.
     
    Tim Fitzgerald likes this.

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