Fancy Dials

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by bbodnyk, Dec 29, 2010.

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  1. bbodnyk

    bbodnyk Registered User

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    One of the types of pocket watches I have come to love and collect are the "fancy" dial watches, especially those with the faint pastel colors and gold markings. What percentage of watches had these fancy dials? Was each dial unique or were there common patterns?

    I've attached pictures of some of my fancy dial watches.

    Thanks!
    Bruce 79842.jpg 79843.jpg 79844.jpg 79845.jpg 79846.jpg 79847.jpg
     
  2. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Although there probably were custom-painted dials, most fancy dials were standard designs, stocked by both the watch manufacturers and by third-party dial makers. They were sold through the normal distribution channels.
     
  3. StanJS

    StanJS Registered User

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    Here's a mildly fancy one on an Elgin 124.

    Cheers,
    Stan 70839.jpg
     
  4. Neuron

    Neuron Registered User

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    I know it's a matter of taste (and De gustibus non disputandum est), but I prefer less ornate dials on PW's, especially 19th C. American ones.

    I've purchased a few PW's with these ornate dials that were obviously non-original (e.g. fancy un-named dials on nice older Watham & Elgin movements), and I try to replace them with appropriate branded dials, that are almost always "non-ornate."

    I wonder how many mid-late 19th C American movements left the factory with branded ornate dials as original equipment?:confused:
     
  5. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    In support of some of these coming from the factory with fancy dials, I remember when I was growing up there was a neighbor of mine who had two identical fancy-dial 16-size Elgins with consecutive serial numbers. I imagine this would be less likely had they been re-dialed by a jeweler. [My recollection of the movement and case styles is that these were probably more turn of the century than mid-late 19th C].
     
  6. bbodnyk

    bbodnyk Registered User

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    I meant to identify the pictures:

    11:05 - Elgin 0s - grade 130
    10:06 - Elgin 16s - grade 313
    8:26 - Elgin 16s - grade 152
    10:07 - Elgin 16s - grade 153
    10:02 - Elgin 16s - grade 312
    4:06 - Elgin 18s - grade 181
     
  7. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    I too like fancy dials, especially the large ones. Below is an 18 size Waltham example from my collection.

    At one time, some companies (e. g. Hampden) put a fancy dial on every 5th or so movement ordered at no extra charge (for large orders anyway and generally only on the low to medium grade mvts...it will take some digging to find the period reference). Also, at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 Waltham exhibited a number of their factory fancy dials with jewels and crenulated gold (as on the one below). They were said to be made by "girls" at the factory.

    FWIW, the unsigned fancy dials tend to be of Swiss origin (some are so marked on the back) and even later some companies (e. g. Rockford after 1900 or so) procured their factory marked (and marketed) fancy dials from the Swiss. Of course, O'Hara in the USA also made such beasts and I've heard it mentioned that a few American watch companies ordered their fancy dials at one time or another from this firm.

    Greg 79955.jpg
     
  8. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    Here is a fancy Elgin dial that I am particularly fond of. 21133.jpg
     
  9. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Dave,
    Very nice when you find a namesake watch. Are your genes in this or just a shared name?
     
  10. rrpktwatcher

    rrpktwatcher Registered User
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    #10 rrpktwatcher, Dec 30, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
    Elgin - 18s - H.H.Taylor, Model 2, Grade 80, gilded mvmt., 15j, adjusted, sn-5059902; ca - 1893.

    *Photo credit* - Don Herrington, Seller. 79970.jpg
     
  11. Dave Coatsworth

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    Related, but somewhat distant. I have to go back 6 generations to get to a common ancestor.
     
  12. rrpktwatcher

    rrpktwatcher Registered User
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    . . . one more just for good measure & a little more exposure for those of us who are Waltham Affectionados . . . ;)

    Waltham - 16s - Model '88, Riverside, gilded mvmt., 17j, adjusted, sn - 9525794; ca. - 1900. 80007.jpg
     
  13. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Here's another fancy-dialed Waltham, a 14k Riverside Maximus Model 1888. 80008.jpg 80009.jpg 80010.jpg
     
  14. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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  15. bbodnyk

    bbodnyk Registered User

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    Here is a 7j New York Standard (needing a second hand) and a 15j Gallet Fabrique Electa.

    Bruce 80033.jpg 80034.jpg 80035.jpg
     
  16. Don

    Don Registered User
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    Those are very pretty, I wish I could post a photo of mie to show you. I have a 18 size hamilton on a model 927 17 jewel. The word hamilton is in blue as the second hand dial is the rest in in yellow gold and there are very small red stones at 12,3,6,and 9. It is in perfice shape

    I also have an elgin and hampden. I have not had them off the watch as they all run great. Sorry I can not get a photo. But I enjoyed seeing yours
    Don
     
  17. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    If it's red "stones" that are your fancy, you'll like the dial on my 1888 Model 19j American Watch Co. grade Waltham hunter. 80257.jpg
     
  18. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A couple more Waltham: one "perfect" and one less so. 80263.jpg 80264.jpg
     
  19. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    #19 artbissell, Jan 2, 2011
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    Unlike English U.S. p.w. rarely had multicolor gold ones. Very few on special Gruens. Shown here 12s Illinois with probably adapted English dial. 16s fancy American case I had years ago with perfect fitting English style mc dial. Movement is Waltham-Howard 23j. Gruen 10s 80284.jpg 80285.jpg 79754.jpg 66516.jpg
     
  20. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Art,

    Neat dials. Thanks for the pics.

    Anymore out there?

    Greg
     
  21. artbissell

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    #21 artbissell, Jan 4, 2011
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    Showing difference. 0 size Swiss on Elgin. 6 size O'Hara Waltham. Added 18 size O'Hara 80403.jpg 80414.jpg 80417.jpg
     
  22. Greg Frauenhoff

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    Another big old Waltham 18 size dial: 81484.jpg
     
  23. artbissell

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    #23 artbissell, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
    Risking degrading this fine quality thread with this Wadsworth platinum and 14k case with who knows what and who made I suppose fancy dial. Did Wadsworth make dials? This one matches case colors exactly but is probably silver and gold plate? Joining the trend toward selling p.w. movements cased and small thin size 12, this 1920 Lord Elgin has completely plain undecorated movement. I have discovered why some 100 year old silver plated dials still look good. Applies to gold alloy ones as well. Recently got 90 year old Gruen. Dial glitters like only days old. I was first one to ever open the back, and first to put a knife blade scratch on it as well. 81561.jpg
     
  24. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    I don't believe that any of the case companies made dials unless they were also a watch manufacturer (such as Dueber-Hampden). However, I could be wrong about this.
     
  25. artbissell

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    #25 artbissell, Jan 18, 2011
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    As a stumbling fumbling Gruen p.w. specialist I am unsure if Gruen actually made any dials. Fred Gruen had patents on dial design but I notice Vacheron Gruen 17 ligne size with his patented Louis 14th design marked Vacheron. 81621.jpg 81622.jpg
     
  26. Bill B

    Bill B Registered User

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    A Waltham 15 jewel 88 model hunter one of my favorites, enjoy. There are red, yellow and green dial also like these. 58671.jpg
     
  27. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    Here is a Model '88 Waltham. 81645.jpg
     
  28. Keith H

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    Here is one on a Plymouth (Illinois movement) 81750.jpg
     
  29. Greg Frauenhoff

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    A couple more: one Waltham and one Elgin. 82960.jpg 82961.jpg
     
  30. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    How about one more? This dial is shown in a Waltham Parts catalog as an available replacement dial. It is on a TT 17J Riverside Model '88. It is an Odd Fellows Dial. "FLT" Faith, Love, Truth. 83890.jpg
     
  31. rrpktwatcher

    rrpktwatcher Registered User
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    Hey, Paul . . . that's a real beauty! ;)

    Any chance of seeing the "rest of the story" . . . i.e. - photos of the movement & case as well, please? :cool:
     
  32. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Paul,

    Neat dial. Thanks for the pic.

    As an aside, my recollection is that FLT stands for Fellowship, Loyalty, Trust. Perhaps an odd fellow can let us know for sure.

    Greg
     
  33. Paul Regan

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    Greg, I recall Googling FLT some time ago however I could be wrong. Here is the rest of the "package". BTW this is a re-dial but I am okay with it since that was it's original purpose. Paul 83913.jpg 83914.jpg 83915.jpg
     
  34. Greg Frauenhoff

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  35. Greg Frauenhoff

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  36. Curtis Jackson

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    Elgin 16s 7j with Fancy Dial/Hands

    Posted about this in the newest acquisition thread but I have questions...

    Any name for this kind of dial?

    Would the hands have been gilt or otherwise gold-coloured?

    Anyone got the same dial/hands that they can show me?

    Elgin 16s, 7j, s/n 12791659, dates to about 1906. 90141.jpg
     
  37. bbodnyk

    bbodnyk Registered User

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  38. Curtis Jackson

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  39. Bobga44

    Bobga44 New Member

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    I don't know if these fall into the category of fancy dial, but I have a couple of watches with unusual dials (I think). I bought these last year at an auction of a collector's estate and I have been unable to find anything at all about them. Does anyone have any suggestions where I can find out something about them? Thanks for your help. 90762.jpg 90763.jpg
     
  40. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Hi Bobga44:

    Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

    These appear to be modern overlays that have been bonded to the dial surface.
     
  41. Bobga44

    Bobga44 New Member

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    Thanks Kent. I appreciate the information. I failed to mention the brands, one is a 1904 Waltham and the other is a 1921 Elgin. What's the point of having something like this done to a face? Seems to me that it would not improve the asthetics of the watch and would not add value.

    Bobga44
     
  42. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    I know, I read the names on the dials.



    It may be that the original dials were very, very badly chipped and these overlays, put on dial blanks, have been used to replace the original dials.

    Since original dials are no longer being made, it is an inexpensive way of making the watches serviceable (saleable). The designs were probably intended to "dress up" common watches (which I notice are in inexpensive replacement cases) that have little collector value.
     
  43. Bobga44

    Bobga44 New Member

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    Okay. Thanks for the information again. Looks like a good item for Ebay.

    Bobga44
     
  44. Greg Frauenhoff

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    18 size true double sunk...and in wonderful condition: 105172.jpg 105173.jpg
     
  45. crsides

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    #45 crsides, Oct 18, 2011
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  46. ben_hutcherson

    ben_hutcherson Registered User
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    I'm not sure if this counts as fancy dial, per se, but I'm going to show it off here anyway. This fits an '83 model. 105627.jpg
     
  47. Jerry Treiman

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    I'm afraid the condition is pretty bad, but here is another Rockford (private label). 25164.jpg
     
  48. Jerry Treiman

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  49. Jerry Treiman

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  50. sderek

    sderek Registered User
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    I bought this one today. American Waltham 18 size.

    131498.jpg
     

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