Help me determine who made this watch that I have!

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Stephanie Steele, Jan 25, 2019.

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  1. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Hello everyone! I have been searching for months on this watch that has been passed down from generations in my family. I have searched high and low on the internet and no such luck on discovering anything about the watch. I need help, please! Below are attached pictures of the watch. If anyone knows anything about this watch, please feel free to comment your appreciated opinions and information. Thank you everyone!

    IMG_3611 (1).JPG IMG_3615 (1).JPG IMG_3618 (1).JPG IMG_3619 (1).JPG IMG_3620 (1).JPG IMG_3618.JPG
     
  2. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Welcome to the board.

    It would be helpful to see the markings, if any, on the inner part of the case. It seems to have been made for the US market, judging by the engraving on the case, but the name of the case maker and the material of which it is made is likely stamped on one or more of the covers.

    The watch movement itself looks to me like a fairly ordinary Swiss movement, but I am not a watch man and that may well be entirely wrong.

    Others who know watches will be along soon, I am sure.

    JTD
     
  3. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie, it is definitely not Low Grade; it has Wolf Teeth Winding Wheels; a much better photo of the movement would help; no shade on movement. Regards Ray
     
  4. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Thank you so much for your input. I am going to post here a couple more in depth pictures. On of the cases, Ernst Kutter Hof=uhrmacher Stuttgardt is engraved. On the other case, it looks like 30959. It has three cases total. The watch does work. It is a wind up kind. I am having so much trouble on finding anything that leads to me to the make and model. I did take it to a jewelry place and they said they thought there was around 17 jewels. I really need someone who knows a lot about watches and the history of them. On the front of one case, it is an eagle with only 13 stars. This kind of made me think of the 13 colonies?? Revolution Era? Any help or information/opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    IMG_3637.JPG IMG_3638.JPG IMG_3639.JPG IMG_3640.JPG
     
  5. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Well, I didn't mean to suggest it was low grade, but I knew (as I said!) I could well be wrong about the movement. However, I do know a little about Ernst Kutter, Hofuhrmacher in Stuttgart. (Hofuhrmacher means he was watchmaker to the court).

    He was born in 1824 in Sulz am Neckar and learnt the watchmaking trade under several well-known watchmakers, including Matthias Hipp in Reutlingen. In 1850 he joined the firm of Friedrich Baader in Stuttgart and in 1854 he married the boss's daughter! He took over the business in 1856. I have found only in German the information, but no doubt you can find some also in English.

    There was also another thread on this site posted by Cliff Lacrone just a few of days ago (January 15th), asking almost the same questions. It looks like the same watch. Is it?

    JTD
     
  6. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi JTD, I did not imply that; it was just my opinion. Regards Ray
     
  7. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Yes, Cliff is trying to help me. We are both reaching out to sites that know about watches. Well, I will just cross my fingers and hope that someone will know something. Thank you again for your help.
     
  8. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    Stephanie,Your pics show a good (much above average) quality stem wind and pin set swiss movement in a case of yet unknown provinience.The movement has a nice large compensation balance and -on the first view- 15 jewels.As mentioned above it has so called wolf teeth winding wheels,allways a sign of superior quality.The signature on the second back lid called the cuvette is that of the first retailer,a jeweler in south west germany.The movement-allthough keyless wound- provides the possibility of winding and setting with a key by the squares found on the barrel arbor and the center shaft.All features together make me think of about 1880+-10 years of manufacture.Could You please show some pics of the inside of the different lids/covers since any hall marks there might help to better estimate the time and location of production.
    And wellcome here from me,too!
    Burkhard
     
  9. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    It is very confusing to have two threads about the same watch at the same time on the same site.

    I hope a moderator can combine the two and thus prevent confusion and duplication.

    JTD
     
  10. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    JTD, cliff will no longer be using the discussion that he created. I am now doing the discussion and he is just going to be reading along with me on this forum. Thank you
     
  11. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    Thank you for your discussion back to me. I will for sure attach some more in depth pictures of the inside of the cases. However, we have been looking at the cases for months in depth and the numbers are so tiny that you can barley see them. The numbers on the different cases are so little. We have looked and looked with in depth magnifying glasses. Some of the numbers we are 95 percent sure they are right and then other numbers are so tiny and hard to make out so for that reason we aren't 100 percent. Below, are the attached photos of the watch. We have wrote next to the pictures of what we think the numbers are and where they are located at on the watch. The watch also has a chain that is connected with a leather loop. The watch also came with a stand? Not sure if the stand is supposed to go with the watch or my family just bought it after the fact to have something to hold the watch. Thank you again for all of your input. We really want to know more about this watch and look forward to hearing everyone's opinions and input in regards to this mystery watch :)

    IMG_3641.JPG IMG_3642.JPG IMG_3643.JPG
     
  12. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, if they are small scratched numbers they are Repairers and they mean nothing. What we need is any Stamped Hallmarks Like photo! Regards Ray

    8.jpg
     
  13. MLS

    MLS Registered User
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    A picture of the movement in better light would help the most. If it’s sunny where you are go outside and take the picture
     
  14. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    MLS, how do I take better picture of the movement? Are you meaning like a video? Please give advice on how to take the proper pictures in order to give more details to you all. Thank you so much for all your help!
     
  15. MLS

    MLS Registered User
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    Just more clear and with better light so any small distinguishing marks could be seen if present.
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    Get rather closer to the watch but keep it in sharp focus, with a macro facility if your camera or phone has one, then with a good light such as a desk lamp, take some still pictures. If you can't get very close without blurring, sharp focus is more important, we can always zoom in. Something like this will tell much more than just words!

    DSCF1568.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    No matter the light, the markings are so tiny and you cant see them unless your in person with a magnifying glass. Im so sorry. I don't know what else to do?
     
  18. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    These are the best pictures that I can get. I hope this helps. Thank You!

    IMG_3637.JPG IMG_3614 (1).JPG IMG_3616 (1).JPG IMG_3616.JPG IMG_3617.JPG
     
  19. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Stephanie, are you using a camera or a phone to take the pictures?

    With a camera, you can cut the bottom out of a gallon milk jug and cut the top open where the cap would be to be large enough to stick the lens through. That results in a diffuser stabilizer. If you should be able to rest the camera on the diffuser to keep it steady and shine a bit of light on the side of the diffuser to generate some shadow. If everything is carefully focused you should get a picture that can be enlarged to show all the detail.

    If you are using a phone, you can do essentially the same thing but it may be harder to make the phone stable on top of the diffuser. There is a device I use called a Nimbus Dome that has elastic straps to hold your phone on a flat platform with a dome below it to provide the diffuser.
    E0773A2F-371A-4A4B-993A-0BE57AC3D689.jpeg
     
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  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    I know, it's hard to photograph the small shallow markings inside cases, but from what you've just posted it appears that there really aren't any marks of interest inside that case anyway, although using a light from the side at a glancing angle can reveal more sometimes. It can require a little experimentation with lighting and camera angles to get the best pictures. Anyway, I think there's enough in your pictures of the movement to allow some more informed members to offer suggestions on its origins, apart from the obvious one that it's Swiss; the lever tail with a ring around the escape wheel arbor is a distinctive feature, (sorry about the technicalities, but it's understood by those who need it!).

    The 'Avance' and 'Retard' markings on the regulator are just the French words for 'Fast' and 'Slow', that lever in between them is the way the timekeeping can be adjusted; if it's running a little fast, the lever is moved towards the 'Slow' side, and vice versa if it's running slow.

    I'm guessing from their format that the answer to Tom's question is that you're using a phone to take the pictures.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  21. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Gmorse, The photo of the watch that you uploaded looks a lot like the one we have but our gears are hidden? Does this have any meaning? What kind of watch is the one you sent the picture of?
     
  22. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Gmorse, On the discussion you sent the other day, you said that it is obvious that our watch is a Swiss watch. How do you know that? Since the engraving's on the watch don't seem to be important, do you think that any meaning or value like a serial number could be under the gears?
     
  23. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    The watch I posted is what's known as a generic Lepine calibre, but not made by him. Jean Antoine Lepine was an eminent French watchmaker who developed a layout with each wheel in a separate cock and no top plate, which allowed watches to be made much thinner. Yours is in the same style and clearly related, although with slight differences in the layout and of rather better quality. The winding work being partially hidden under a bridge is usually a sign of better quality, and the exact shape of the cocks and bridges may provide a clue to who made it for some of our knowledgeable European specialists.

    This Lepine style was widely adopted by French and Swiss manufacturers on each side of the border between the two countries, which includes the principal watchmaking area of the Jura where much of the Swiss watchmaking industry was and still is based. The Swiss in particular exported huge numbers of watches in the 19th century in this general style, from very basic, cheap models, (like my example, which has a cylinder escapement), through the better quality pieces such as yours, up to the very top end. The trade was initially organised on a sort of 'cottage industry' basis, with farmers producing components in the winter months when working outdoors was difficult, and their output being assembled into movements by agents who sold on to others who cased and sold them on to wholesalers. It was complicated and meant that the majority of these watches have no indication of their origin, at least in terms of signatures or serial numbers, (which if present at all are now meaningless without the ledgers where they may have been recorded). However, the style of the movements all follows the Lepine pattern or 'calibre' quite closely, which is a fairly sure indication that they are Swiss, even if the names of the makers are unknown.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  24. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    Thank you so much Graham. I really appreciate all of your knowledge on this subject. It is very interesting to hear and learn about. In your opinion, do you think the watch that I have is worth any value at all? I am just trying to figure out if I should have it appraised or just stop searching and let it be. I really want to find out what I have for certain but I am having no such good luck. Thank you Again!
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    Although the rules prohibit any discussion of values in this forum, you can ask for members' informed opinions if you go to the bottom of the 'Main Page' and read the section headed 'What do you think it's worth?', then follow the instructions to confirm that you agree to the terms before starting a thread under the appropriate heading. It won't cost you anything! Much of the monetary value of watches is now bound up in their cases; if they're a precious metal it can make quite a difference.

    As for discovering more about the movement, I should hang around and see what some of our other members have to say on the subject. I suspect @eri231 could help with this, he's very knowledgeable on European watches, (my main interest is in English watches).

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  26. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    HI Graham! I went to the discussion about seeing how much worth the watch that I have is. It wont let me post anything because it says I don't have full ability to do so. I do have a question though. I took the watch to a city about an hour from where I am located. The guy who I saw looked at the watch and told me that he didn't think the movement was anything special and was below average. He also said that he doesn't specialize in watches that may have been from other countries. However, a couple people from this discussion told me that the movement was above average quality. I am so confused? The guy said that the thinks the watch that I have was probably made for Ernst Kutter himself due to the engraved naming on one of the cases. Anyways, I am hoping someone will come along on here that knows more about this watch. I appreciate all of your help. I am hoping to find some answers soon. Thank you again!
     
  27. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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  28. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    If you follow Graham's instructions, then you will be able to post in the valuation section.

    JTD
     
  29. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie, he probably specializes in Battery Changes or wanted to make an offer for it. Regards Ray
     
  30. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    I'm not sure what the person who said this meant. Kutter was a skilled watchmaker himself, he would not need someone to make a watch for him personally.

    However, Kutter certainly didn't make every watch he sold. He bought in movements and/or cases or even complete watches, and sold them with his name on them. So if the person you spoke to meant that the watch was bought and sold with Kutter's name on it, then yes, you could say someone else made the watch for him. But if the person you spoke to meant the watch was Kutter's own personal property, I think that is very unlikely. There would have been all sorts of clocks and watches around which were sold by Kutter and had his name on them, but they weren't his personal property.

    JTD.
     
  31. eri231

    eri231 Registered User

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    this movement was made by Lecoultre, they were sold finished and ready to be encased., in french were called " Chablon" it was very similar to the movements made by Adolph Hirsch with little differences and of a lower grade
    regards enrico
     
  32. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hello Stephanie-Your watch is an high grade Swiss watch, but at the moment no one can say which Swiss firm made it-though I am sure there are others who are looking and will get in touch. In the mean time you could look on the net for that article "Betsý Ross Flag" this is the true story of the 13 star flag, and from there you can check it against your ancestors. That flag on the back of your watch was put there by one them-I dont think it was sold that way, because the inscription on the inner cover is in German-In Swizerland-they use three main languages-Italian, German, and French. I think you will be able to enjoy the watch more, after you have read the article-Good seaching, Allan.
     
  33. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    Yet he's prepared to offer his opinion on it! I shouldn't bother with people like that, Ray is probably right about his level of expertise. But do take Enrico's opinion as sound; LeCoultre were a quality manufacturer who supplied movements to many big names.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  34. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    Thank you all for your help and advice. Its hard living in a small city because the options are few and far between when it comes to specialty stores. The guy from yesterday pretty much told us that the watch was nothing great and the movement was low quality. I have no idea when it comes to antique pocket watches so I'm kind of out of the loop on what to believe. I trust your opinion over anyone else's because you all show so much interest and know what you are talking about. I did everything gmorse told me to do when trying to post to the what is the watch worth discussion and it still says I cant post. I agreed to the terms but still cant post. I tried starting a conversation with Erie but he hasn't typed back yet. I needs you all's advice on what to do now? I have tried emailing Kutter jewelry store in Germany but they have not got back to me yet. Fingers Crossed right?
     
  35. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Sorry Enrico- I had not seen your post, when I wrote the above-you will notice I was still writing when you posted.Regards, Allan
     
  36. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    If you clicked on the 'Click here to agree . . . . ' line it should take you to your Personal Details page. If you ticked the box there which confirms that you agree to the rules for posting in the value forums, when you go and look at that same page now, that particular item shouldn't be visible any more if your agreement has been properly recorded, but if it is, maybe you didn't scroll to the bottom and click the Save button? Your Personal Details page is also accessible via the small avatar box in the top bar next to the search magnifying glass icon.

    I expect Enrico, (@eri231) will respond soon, I think he's a busy guy.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  37. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

    Jan 25, 2019
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    I have another question. The hands on the watch face seem to be called Flor De Lis. Does this meaning anything when researching a watch? Every watch that I find on the internet looks somewhat like the one I have until I look at the hands and the movements. I have not been able to find an exact replica or something very similar? Is it possible that back in the day when they made this watch that they possibly only made one? Another thing that I read online was during the 1700's is when they had the leather loop fobe on the chain? In my thinking and questioning, why is this watch not stamped Gold? I would have thought that Swiss high end would have made their watches gold? Thank you
     
  38. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    Does it make a difference if the gears are covered on the movement? I have seen a a lot that are similar to my watch but their gears are not being covered. On similar swiss watches, the Avance Retard is in block letters but mine is in cursive writing? What difference does this make?
     
  39. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    Not really, fleur-de-lis hands were a fairly common style. In addition, hands were easily damaged and consequently often had to be replaced and this was sometimes done with whatever hands the repairer had available, so the style generally tells us nothing.

    No, that's highly unlikely. The movements were broadly similar, and there may be differences in the treatment of the dials and cases, but 'one-off' watches aren't found as a rule. It depends on how narrowly you define the differences.

    Differences in the details of the engraving at this level aren't significant.

    If you do a search on this board for 'LeCoultre' yo may find some similar watches to yours.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  40. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    Hi everyone! Has anyone got any new information on this watch that seems to be a mystery? I am beginning to think I am never going to find the make and model of this watch. The movement seems to be foreign while the case seems to be American. The watch is not stamped gold so I am thinking it is golf filled or something of that sort. I am crossing my fingers that someone will come along on here and know what the deal with the watch is. Thank you again!
     
  41. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    The country of origin has been given as Switzerland, the maker of the 'ebauche', or basic movement has been given by Enrico as LeCoultre, and JTD has given some information on the retailer, Ernst Kutter. I suggest that there's little more that anyone can add to this, because the Swiss trade was very complex in its interrelationships and you have a lot more information on this than most Swiss watches. The concepts of 'make' and 'model' were not much in evidence in their watchmaking culture when this was made; these were not made in factories as we would understand them.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  42. Stephanie Steele

    Stephanie Steele Pocket wtach

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    Thank you Graham! You have been so helpful as has everyone else! One more question...is it possible that the watch that I have could be real gold and just wasn't stamped? Lets say this watch was made 1800+ years..did they always stamp watches that were real gold during that time? Is there any chance that the watch could be rose gold? Or maybe because that was so long ago, did they stamp the gold under the movements? If you don't mind, help me understand if and how to determine if this watch is real gold or just gold filled? With reading online, it seems to me that the price is significantly much greater if it is stamped? As too the price being much lower if it isn't stamped? I know everyone is saying the movements seem to be high quality but my questions is does that matter if its not gold stamped? Thank you again
     
  43. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stephanie,

    Regarding Swiss hallmarking, I suggest you read David Boettcher's informative website on the subject. One thing that's evident is that there was no uniform system of marking across the whole country before the Precious Metals Control Act of 1880. These post-1880 marks can be very small, but if there's absolutely no sign it doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't gold, but may just pre-date 1880. With this case style, there isn't anywhere 'under the movement' which could carry a case mark, you can open it everywhere that may be marked, and a case mark wouldn't be underneath the dial; that's part of the movement, not the case.

    To be really sure about the case in the absence of acceptable hallmarks, the only way is to get it tested electronically for gold content, (not the old acid method, which can give misleading results and also damage the case). You're quite right to suppose that the larger part of the value if it were proven to be gold would be in that gold content of the case, even though it is a decent quality movement.

    Serial numbers on watches and cases have no meaning today if we don't know who made them and also if the ledgers and records of the makers no longer exist, both of which are the case more often than not. This chimes in with my earlier comment about these things not being made in a factory system, where records may have been better preserved.

    Regards,

    Graham
     

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