Help Identifying a Paul Ditisheim

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Rafa Borges, Jan 15, 2020.

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  1. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    Hi there,

    Yesterday my mother called me saying she found an old watch and asked me if I wanted it. When she sent me some photos, I was quite surprised to see a Paul Ditisheim. I know his legacy, but I don’t know much about his watches. Could you please help me identify the model and maybe some history behind it?

    The photos are not the best and I won’t ask my mother to open it to show me the movement, so here’s a transcription of all information engraved on its case you can't read it from the pictures:

    Face
    Paul Ditisheim
    Fabricant
    La Chaux de Fonds ​

    Front
    Grand Prix
    Paris 1900
    Paul Ditisheim

    Maker to the U.S. Navy
    74 Prix de L’Etat
    Premier

    Aux Concours Chronomètriques
    Des Observatoires de Kew

    Washington
    &
    Neuchatel​

    Back
    (A crown icon) 3-17750y
    MF 0 (upside down)

    Grand Prix
    DITIS
    Paris 1900

    18K
    0,750
    27744​

    You can see the watch is not on its best condition. Do you think I should send it to repair?

    Thank you!

    3f7bb165-167e-4bb6-afd8-bc2b7a9b89d6.jpg 4d6ebad9-dc53-4c21-9813-8b4406ada755.jpg 815aa380-1aec-44a8-b156-a14e19cae67c.jpg f07343f3-d6e7-4965-a2a7-14ae6425e7b8.jpg
     
  2. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Feb 9, 2013
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    Could you please give us a photograph of the movement, this could well be an important piece.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  3. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    Thank you, Allan!

    I built some courage and asked my mother to open it for me. Here it is. Once again, sorry for the bad quality. I wish my mother had a macro lens, but she can barely use her mobile...

    4e703186-230c-45f2-8372-24a7c430daef.jpg
     
  4. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Jan 8, 2006
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    What do you want to know? P. Ditisheim was a quality firm. Your watch is a nice example of its typical work. It is in a solid 18k case. I am guessing that your watch was made between 1900-1915. The movement is good but not special. "Gran prix" inscriptions usually were put on lesser watches to aid in their marketing. I see nothing to suggest that your watch was ever a prize winner. Your watch looks like it needs to be serviced. When it is, a knowledgeable watchmaker should be able to "soak" the dial to make the hairlines much less noticeable.

    Your mother is a better photographer than most who post photos here.
     
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  5. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    Thank you, Ethan! I'm not looking for any specifc information about it and the info you gave me is enough to understand this watch: it's a good watch, from a good manufacturer, probably costed a good amount of money when it was acquired 100 years ago, but there's not anything special about it.

    It's a beautiful watch and I plan to keep it, so I guess it's time to find a knowledgeable watchmaker here in London to have it serviced!
     
  6. eri231

    eri231 Registered User

    Jan 13, 2012
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    this was the movement type III, the oldest known is from 1899. and was built by an ebauches supplied by LeCoultre.
    it should be after 1906, the first year in which Ditisheim attended the Naval Observatory Washington D.C.
    regards enrico
     
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  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hi Rafa, and welcome to the forum,

    The BHI keeps a register of accredited repairers organised by region, and there are quite a few to choose from in London.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  8. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    For more information about this Type 3 movement, see P. Ditisheim Observatory Watch, discussing a similar, but higher grade, example of this type that I own.
     
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  9. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Dec 16, 2008
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    It's a very nice watch, Rafa, and I would say would benefit from a thorough clean/service.

    As a newcomer to watches, you need to know that a repairer will be able to give you a full quotation for the work needed, and he will need to inspect the watch before quoting. You might also ask your chosen repairer to tell you if he could carry out some mild restorative work on the movement plates.
     
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  10. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    This is mandatory for me. I still don't have the watch on my hands, but my mother told me that it's not working. She's able to change the time, but it's not working. I'm not entirely sure if there's something wrong with the movement or if it's only a matter of her not knowing how to wind it.
     
  11. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    Thank you! This is very useful now that I inherited some old watches that are not working properly!
     
  12. Rafa Borges

    Rafa Borges Registered User

    Jan 15, 2020
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    What an amazing piece you have! Thank you for the info. I will read it later today. Horology is a completely new area to me and it's quite fascinating the amount of history it has.
     

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