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19th c Help Identifying 19th Century Swiss Day Date Calendar Pocket Watch with Alarm Signed Patek & Cie on Cuvette

Charles Thomas

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Nov 9, 2010
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Hello, I recently came across an interesting heavy 19th Century Swiss Day Date Calendar Pocket Watch with Alarm (Réveil et Quantième). I'm wondering if it is worth submitting to the Patek archives to see if it exists in their records. Any other comments, suggestions, or corrections to my description would be appreciated. It is stem wound with the alarm wound and set by key through the cuvette. It runs well and the alarm strikes with a sweetly hammered gong sound. The dial is nicely proportioned and pleasing to the eye. It does have some minor chips and hairlines, and the second hand looks a bit short and may have orginally been in Louis XIV style like hour and minute hands. The watch appears to have a case maker's mark ("SP" with a crown symbol inside a tablet) and metal content marking (K over 18 inside an adjacent tablet) -- both markings inside the back of case along with the case number 4227 matching the one on the cuvette. The typical Swiss woman in profile hallmark for 18K gold is not present so I am not sure what the actual metal content is. The back of cuvette also has the number 4227 and a curious small chevron-shaped stamping. The rim of the inside of the case holding the movement also has an even smaller chevron stamp and possibly a hallmark stamp that I can't make out. The case is pink gold in color with nice floral engraving that makes me think it was sold as a souvenir to remind the traveler of Switzerland. The cuvette is signed "Patek & Cie Genève," "Remontoir" (in reference to stem winding I think), "Nikel" (the nickle plating of the movement may have been considered higher quality at the time?), "Chronometre" (which I think here is only a fancy name for watch, and not for a chronometer-type movement), and the no. 4227, which were it an early Patek would be both the case and movement number. In my experience 19th Century pocket alarms rarely have the added complication of day and date, and the movement appears relatively high quality compared to other keyless-winding pocket alarms I've seen in the 19th century. This is likely a fake Patek but as such it is interesting. I read that In the mid-19th century "Patek & Cie" was used on early Patek Philippe pocket watches in signatures on cuvettes that would be accompanied by a serial number. This one of 4227, would date it to roughly to the early 1850s according to one book, were it a real Patek. Adrien Philippe did invent modern stem-winding in 1845 and joined Patek & Cie in 1851. I guess it's possible then that this watch could be early 1850s and have stem winding. The crown looks too large and of a later style compared to the early stemwind Patek's I've seen in pictures online. I suspect this is a watch from later in the century (ca 1880s-90s) made for the tourist as a fine souvenir and reminder of the natural splendor of Switzerland. And maybe the Patek name was used to further remind the tourist of fine Swiss watchmaking. What do you think?

IMG-2355.jpg IMG-2356.jpg IMG-2357.jpg IMG-2358.jpg IMG-2359.jpg IMG-2361.jpg IMG-2363.jpg
 

Dr. Jon

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I doubt it is by Patek Philippe. Patek Philippe managed to to put these people out of business in a suit.

You have the history mostly right but this watch is 1880 or so not 1850 and the Pateck and Cie operating then was a proprietor with he same name who traded on it.

It's a good watch. It looks a lot like watches made for Gruen in their early days in Madrash but Pateck Philippe I doubt.

It does not cost anything if you apply and they tell you it's not theirs, so you do not have to take my view as the last word.
 
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thesnark17

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I was also struck by the look of the movement. Most likely it comes from Aeby & Landry in Madretsch, who also built Gruen's early movements (signed Columbus Watch Co.) between 1877 and c. 1883.

I don't know of any connection between Aeby and Patek.
 

mosesgodfrey

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Aug 30, 2017
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..this watch is 1880 or so not 1850 and the Pateck and Cie operating then was a proprietor with he same name who traded on it.
To illustrate, here’s an 1884 ad. It’s a chrono, not a calendar, but you’ll see similar features referenced vs this cuvette. There are other references from the 1870s. Possibly made in that decade? A good quality watch in a valuable case, but not PPCo.

E760945A-4242-4B14-B7F1-F630244EF387.jpeg
 

VinSer

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Very nice watch! :thumb::thumb:

According to Mikrolisk the casemaker was Schwob Fréres ; the trademark was registered on 2 May 1881

Just to avoid confusions:

- Schwob Fréres in time will become the owners of Tavannes and Cyma

- Armand Schwob & Frére (one brother only :)) manufactured the "Mysterieuse" watch and were sued for selling watches signed Pateck Geneve. The full story of of this company can be found in this article of Antiquarian Horology

Ciao
 
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eri231

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Just to avoid confusion, the Schwob financiers and from 1901 owners of the Tavannes were two distinct families Theodore and Joseph Schwob and not even related to each other. Theodore was Schwob Freres (Japan, United States and Canada markets) while Joseph was Schwob & Cie (Russia and Middle East markets).
No relationship with Armand Schwob and brother who were originally from Basel and residing in Paris with branch in La Chaux de Fonds.
Regards enrico
 

Barney Green

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I absolutely agree that the watch is from about 1881 because the case ist stamped with the "Neuenburger Raute" which has been in place unitl the new Swiss gold content markings came in place 1882. The case was made by Schwob Freres with the 1881 registered trademark and also I agree that the movement looks like the Aeby movements of that time. Later (in 1891) Armand Schwob had to pay a 15,000 Franken fine to Patek & Cie because of legal issues...
The company name "Patek & Cie" was only valid for Patek, Philippe & Cie" was by the way only in use between 1845 and 1851, a period in which this watch was for sure not built. In my eyes a clear sign of forgery.
To me this looks like a good watch trying to look more worthy by using the Patek name.
 
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Charles Thomas

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Nov 9, 2010
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I was also struck by the look of the movement. Most likely it comes from Aeby & Landry in Madretsch, who also built Gruen's early movements (signed Columbus Watch Co.) between 1877 and c. 1883.

I don't know of any connection between Aeby and Patek.
Thanks. Your comment sent me to Pritchard's "Swiss Timepiece Makers, which mentions that in 1878 the Journal Suisse d'Horologerie reported Aeby & Landry in Madretsch near Bienne was an important shop making complete watches including chronographs, repeaters, and alarm watches. And Gruen stated Leo Aeby of same company was making some of the early Columbus movements for Gruen.
 

Charles Thomas

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Nov 9, 2010
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I absolutely agree that the watch is from about 1881 because the case ist stamped with the "Neuenburger Raute" which has been in place unitl the new Swiss gold content markings came in place 1882. The case was made by Schwob Freres with the 1881 registered trademark and also I agree that the movement looks like the Aeby movements of that time. Later (in 1891) Armand Schwob had to pay a 15,000 Franken fine to Patek & Cie because of legal issues...
The company name "Patek & Cie" was only valid for Patek, Philippe & Cie" was by the way only in use between 1845 and 1851, a period in which this watch was for sure not built. In my eyes a clear sign of forgery.
To me this looks like a good watch trying to look more worthy by using the Patek name.
Thanks. Is the "Neuenburger Raute" the K over 18 symbol or the curious chevron stamp?
 

Charles Thomas

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Nov 9, 2010
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Very nice watch! :thumb::thumb:

According to Mikrolisk the casemaker was Schwob Fréres ; the trademark was registered on 2 May 1881

Just to avoid confusions:

- Schwob Fréres in time will become the owners of Tavannes and Cyma

- Armand Schwob & Frére (one brother only :)) manufactured the "Mysterieuse" watch and were sued for selling watches signed Pateck Geneve. The full story of of this company can be found in this article of Antiquarian Horology

Ciao
Thanks for the "Mikrolisk" link. I didn't know about this database of trademarks. I now realize I misread the "SF" as "SP" and this is a Schwob Frères & Co, SA, La Chaux de Fonds case. Pritchard's "Swiss Makers" has three pages of trademark info and other history on the firm including the "SF" with imperial crown (1881). While the firm hasn't been connected to Armand Schwob & Frère, the firm sued by Patek for fakery in 1883 and found guilty in 1891, Schwob Frères also had, according to Pritchard, "a long history of legal fakery" in marking watches in the 1881 with American names.
 

mosesgodfrey

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Aug 30, 2017
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To build on the SF mark registration, 1881 is when the national registry was coming online. Many of the marks were already long in use, either unregistered or registered in the district offices. For example, the Locle district tm registry began in November 1872. Sadly, I’ve not been able to dig up any of these older registers.

But the point is, the TMs entered 1880-1883 should be taken with a grain of salt: they indicate current owners but not necessarily the first use date.

Personnally, I think it most likely this watch predates May 1881. The new Swiss hallmarks were *supposed* to be implemented by October 1881, and although the mandate was extended into early 1882 there were interim marks mandated that are not seen on this watch.
 

VinSer

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Jun 15, 2021
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... But the point is, the TMs entered 1880-1883 should be taken with a grain of salt: they indicate current owners but not necessarily the first use date. ...
Completely in agreement: given the "old" style of the trademark, it is easy that it was used before its registration.

The Comptoir Schwob Frères started its activity in 1872 or 1873 at Rue Léopold Robert 22 in La Chaux-de-Fonds (source: Indicateur de La Chaux-de-Fonds et du Locle).

Therefore the case could have been manufactured anywhere between 1872 and 1882.

Ciao
 

eri231

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Jan 13, 2012
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The address Rue Leopold Robert 22 was by Schwob Freres by Theodore Schwob, in 1872 Armand was 15 and his brother Abraham was 14.
Schwob Frere address 14 rue Leopold Robert and sales shop in Paris 19 boulevard Bonne Nouvelle.
First registration in Paris 2-11-1881 lasting ten years renewable declared activity fur trade.
They take over the activity of Joseph Moos in La Chaux de Fonds and in 1883 they enter the commercial register.
Dismissed for bankruptcy on 6-5-1892 also the French court declares the bankruptcy for a sum of 572,045 francs
In 1894 Armand is imprisoned on charges of fraud and his brother for fraudulent bankruptcy.
In 1895 the bankruptcy petition was revoked and the Schwob Frere resumed their business.
Regards enrico
 
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