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Engraved Watch Cases

rolandantrobus

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May 17, 2016
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I was never a fan of engraved watch cases. I preferred plain cases like Dennison used to make. The idea of stags and trains on the back I thought tacky. Then I saw this:-

s-l1600 (3).jpg s-l1600 (2).jpg s-l1600 (7).jpg

Its a 16s 14ct solid gold Roy hunter case made in Brooklyn NY in 1903. The engraving is as crisp and sharp as when it left the factory. You could almost cut yourself on it. There's an Italianate scene on the cartouche probably done by a European engraver brought over to America by Roy. I had to get my loupe out to see the three sail boats on the mountain lake in the background behind the building. The milling surrounding the two cartouche's shows when tilted at a certain angle to the light an impression of fern leaves like a shadow. I have no idea how they did this. It completely blew me away. IMHO this is a solid gold Work of Art comparable to Faberge but made in Brooklyn. I had to have it! The Riv Max that calls it home is just a bonus.
Well. I've shown you mine now lets see yours! Apologies for the double photo, I can't remove it. s-l1600 (7).jpg
 
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musicguy

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I've shown you mine now lets see yours!
If I had one as fine as yours I would post it in a second.
And with a Maximus inside it's really spectacular.

Rob
 

Ethan Lipsig

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I like tastefully engraved cases. I have quite a few nice ones. Here are some examples.

Elgin Grades 190/194 often are in nicely engraved solid gold cases. I have five, my favorite of which is this 14k BWCCO hunter.

IMG_0864_edited (1070x1280).jpg IMG_0869_edited (971x1280).jpg

I am also fond of the 14k Roy case on this Waltham Am'n Watch Co. Model 1888, modified by Pat Caruso to have a Cole's resilient escapement.

IMG_2583 (953x1280).jpg IMG_2582 (936x1271).jpg

American cases more often seem to have had fancy engraving than their European counterparts, at least that's what the watches in my collection suggest. But some European cases were very nicely engraved. Here is a Vacheron Constantin in an 18k Vacheron Constantin case with an engraved moire silk pattern.

IMG_4268 (983x1280).jpg IMG_4258 (951x1280).jpg

IWCs often had nicely engraved cases. I am fond of this 18k IWC Caliber 73.

IMG_8196_edited (1113x1280).jpg IMG_8197_edited (1093x1280).jpg IMG_4258 (951x1280).jpg
 

rolandantrobus

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May 17, 2016
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Lovely watches, Ethan. The BWCCO hunter has to be my favourite as well. Unfortunately in this day and age I have to keep the good stuff in the bank most of the time but at least I have the photos.
 

Tim Fitzgerald

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Jan 2, 2016
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I was never a fan of engraved watch cases. I preferred plain cases like Dennison used to make. The idea of stags and trains on the back I thought tacky. Then I saw this:-

View attachment 470734 View attachment 470735 View attachment 470737

Its a 16s 14ct solid gold Roy hunter case made in Brooklyn NY in 1903. The engraving is as crisp and sharp as when it left the factory. You could almost cut yourself on it. There's an Italianate scene on the cartouche probably done by a European engraver brought over to America by Roy. I had to get my loupe out to see the three sail boats on the mountain lake in the background behind the building. The milling surrounding the two cartouche's shows when tilted at a certain angle to the light an impression of fern leaves like a shadow. I have no idea how they did this. It completely blew me away. IMHO this is a solid gold Work of Art comparable to Faberge but made in Brooklyn. I had to have it! The Riv Max that calls it home is just a bonus.
Well. I've shown you mine now lets see yours! Apologies for the double photo, I can't remove it. View attachment 470736
Beautiful watch & case
 

Jerry Treiman

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These are a few of my favorites.

First is a Waltham Colonial-A in what I believe is a Depollier case --
ColAmax_carved.jpg

Second is a 10-ligne Waltham for Bigelow, Kennard & Co. in what I believe is a case by Jeannot & Schiebler --
BK10L_b.jpg

Third is an 0-size Waltham in a case by the American Watch Case Co.
7165559fb.jpg

Fourth is an 8-size Waltham in an American Watch Co. case.
1157804f.jpg 1157804b.jpg
 

Jerry Treiman

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Great cases, Jerry!
Thanks, Ethan. The first one I showed (the Colonial-A) is a scenic type of engraving that is more common on European watches and rarely seen on American cases. I would guess that the engraver must have come from "the old country".
 

CentreKeystone

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Feb 19, 2014
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What is a good way of photographing engraved cases? Would side lighting help or, somehow, darkening the engraved lines? Because of case wear the engraving is often rather faint.
 

bklynjava

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Mar 31, 2018
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I'm born and raised in Brooklyn New York and still live here. I love the case especially the Brooklyn aspect.

I'm new to watch collecting but I'm a big fan of engraved hunter cases here is my favorite so far.
Hamilton pocket watch 16 size 14 kt. gold 4 colors, 21 jewel Grade 991
7442863_Antique-Hamilton-14-Kt-Tri-Gold-Grade-991-Stage-De.jpg 7442862_Antique-Hamilton-14-Kt-Tri-Gold-Grade-991-Stage-De.jpg 7442860_Antique-Hamilton-14-Kt-Tri-Gold-Grade-991-Stage-De.jpg
 
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Clint Geller

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Here is another lovely early Howard with 18K case by Bailey & Co., a predecessor to Bailey, Banks & Biddle, a Model 1858 divided plate keywind Type E (a.k.a., "Series II") with matching movement and case serial number 2,076 and dual pushpiece with lift springs on both lids.

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Clint Geller

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For me personally, nothing beats an early high quality keywind case with great machine engraving on its interior surfaces. Here is a 50 DWT 18K Waltham 20 Size Keywind case by Celestine Jacot & Brother of Philadelphia. It is pretty on its exterior surfaces and pretty spectacular on its interior surfaces, three of which are decorated. The 21 jewel AWCo Grade movement with vibrating hairspring stud that it currently houses is darn special too.

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Clint Geller

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Well, if we are talking about great watch cases, we can't forget this one:

1863 Abraham Lincoln award to Captain Cook for Lifesaving at Sea Watch to be Auctioned (prweb.com)

And the case is just the half of it. It house a 19 jewel Nashua-numbered First Run American Wach Company Grade Waltham 20 Size keywind with the only 20 Size double sunk dial I have ever seen. Perhaps either Jeff or the buyer can be persuaded to post movement and dial pictures here, as I cannot share my copies here.
 

Clint Geller

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