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Gold vs Gold filled

beachouse45

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Dec 25, 2008
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I have an American Waltham pocket watch, movement # 6684490, 1894/1895. The case is stamped "PURITAN 14K" #355048 inside the back cover. Can I realistically assume that it is real "14K gold" or could it be "Gold Filled"?
 

rrwatch

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The Puritan case grade was listed in the Roy Ehrhardt "trademarks" book to have been made by Bates & Bacon in New York City until purchased by the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. in 1904. Philadelphia continued to use the B & B trademarks after the sale. The Puritan is listed as being a 10 Kt gold filled case, warrented for 5 years, but may have been upgraded to 14 Kt gold filled at a later date.
In any event, I would assume that your case is gold filled until shown otherwise.
 

beachouse45

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Dec 25, 2008
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Thanks so much for your opinion and background information. I will assume that it is "gold filled" as you suggest. I would ask how I can be "shown otherwise"? I am very new at all of this and in this case ignorance is not bliss!
Thanks again.
 

Jon Hanson

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Hello and good evening,

There are many GF cases that have "fake" 14K stamps; true solid gold cases have a certain bend or "feel" to them and any expert can tell solid gold by handling them in person.
 

lkjjkl

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Hello and good evening,

There are many GF cases that have "fake" 14K stamps; true solid gold cases have a certain bend or "feel" to them and any expert can tell solid gold by handling them in person.
I only know a little bit about this because I got one for my father. There is a metal test--referred to as an "acid test". Also there is a way to tell from polishing but I'm not clear on it.

Again, an expert could give you a better answer. You should ask this question in the American Pocket Watches forum. :)
 

beachouse45

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Dec 25, 2008
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Thank you all for your replies. I have now posted this question in the American Pocket Watch forum as suggested.
 

Jon Hanson

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I only know a little bit about this because I got one for my father. There is a metal test--referred to as an "acid test". Also there is a way to tell from polishing but I'm not clear on it.

Again, an expert could give you a better answer. You should ask this question in the American Pocket Watches forum. :)
The above information about acid and polishing is absurd and very BAD INFORMATION and the very worst tests one can do. Any expert can tell from the "feel." Hallmarks and other marks are also tell tale, but one has to be familiar with them.
 
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Cary Hurt

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Dec 16, 2005
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I only know a little bit about this because I got one for my father. There is a metal test--referred to as an "acid test". Also there is a way to tell from polishing but I'm not clear on it.

Again, an expert could give you a better answer. You should ask this question in the American Pocket Watches forum. :)
To follow up on Jon's comments, either of these two tests are frowned upon because they are destructive, and still not definitive.

Acid testing involves scraping a sample from the case and applying an acid reagent, then comparing the reaction with a sample to determine gold content. Two problems with this are that process damages the case, and that if the sample is taken from the surface layer of a 14K gold-filled case, the test will often read as 14K, simply because the outer layer is 14K.

Polishing tests involve either rubbing so vigorously that you remove enough metal to "prove" that it isn't plated (obviously taking away any detail, patina, or contour), or those who claim that they can tell from the "sheen" of polished gold that it is genuine, which is again, not definitive.

I've had numerous debates with sellers who "tested" cases as solid gold, in spite of manufacturer's markings to the contrary.

And with a little practice, as Jon said, the "feel" of a solid gold case, especially in larger sizes, becomes apparent. To gain this ability, you need to handle as many gold cases as you can, test their heft, and the "flex" (very carefully) of the lids, and try to do it side by side with quality gold-filled cases to "feel" the differences.

My two cents,

Cary
 

Tom Huber

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Dec 9, 2000
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Here is another good indicator for the novice as to whether a case is solid gold or gold filled. Is your case a screwback and screw bezel? If so, the chances of it being gold filled are about 99%. Although there are a few examples of solid gold cases with a screwback and bezel, generally solid gold was too soft to hold the threads. Therefore, most all solid good cases have the hinged back and bezel. So--if a screwback and bezel, assume it to be gold filled.

If your case is a hinged back case, another test that is 99% sure is to open the back cover. You will see the inner dust cover which is called the cuvette. With your thumb, place a gentle pressure on the cuvette. A solid gold cuvette is very thin and you will feel a slight give. Remember, use gentle pressure. A gold filled cuvette is solid and you will feel no give to it.

Tom
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Just to confuse matters even more, there were some gold-filled cases marketed that were specially made to be "flexible" like solid gold cases. (I have an old sales catalog around here somewhere that describes them.) The reason should be obvious.

An even stranger beast that I came across was an 18s box-hinge hunting case that was seriously worn and showed lots-o-brass on the center section (or frame/body), but which actually had 10K solid gold front and back covers. They clearly matched the remainder of the case and were original to it. Why? Probably to deceive a buyer (way back when) who might have "tested" only the covers.
 

Jon Hanson

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1. I have never "felt" one.

2. The frame is part of the watch and should be checked out along with the rest of the case, as all true experts do.
 

Tom Huber

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Just to confuse matters even more, there were some gold-filled cases marketed that were specially made to be "flexible" like solid gold cases. (I have an old sales catalog around here somewhere that describes them.) The reason should be obvious.

An even stranger beast that I came across was an 18s box-hinge hunting case that was seriously worn and showed lots-o-brass on the center section (or frame/body), but which actually had 10K solid gold front and back covers. They clearly matched the remainder of the case and were original to it. Why? Probably to deceive a buyer (way back when) who might have "tested" only the covers.
Hi Greg, I am aware of these anomalies. That is why I stated 99% effective. Nothing is for certain.

Tom
 

Woolshire

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Jan 26, 2005
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Here is one of those "even stranger beasts" that Greg eluded to. All three covers, and the bezel are solid gold. Likely 10k, even though the inside back is marked "14". The frame is absolutely gold-filled, with some brass showing. The covers pass the "flex" test with flying colors.
 

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Jon Hanson

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Here is one of those "even stranger beasts" that Greg eluded to. All three covers, and the bezel are solid gold. Likely 10k, even though the inside back is marked "14". The frame is absolutely gold-filled, with some brass showing. The covers pass the "flex" test with flying colors.
W,

What is the hallmark or other markings in your case?
 

Woolshire

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Greg, You're welcome.

Jon, Here is a somewhat fuzzy close-up. looks like an eagle on top of the Liberty Bell...Does that mean anything to anyone?

Thanks...Jim
 

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