Help with Watch ID please

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by sburow, Jan 14, 2008.

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  1. sburow

    sburow New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
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    Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

    In cleaning out my father-in-laws house, we ran across a key wind pocket watch. There is no manufacturers name on the face, roman numerals, and a second dial at the six o'clock position with the seconds deliniated at the 15, 30, 45, and 60 second marks.

    It has a hinged front and back. On the back was engraved a scene with three dogs and a tree.

    Opening the back there is a small engraving of a three wheeled steam locomotive with smoke coming out of the smokestack and what look to be the numbers 0800. Below that is what looks to be a diamond shaped mark with a bird in it. The bird's wings are pointed down and legs are visible under it as if it were walking. At the base of the back case there is a capital "E".

    Inside there is a second cover over the movement. Engraved on the outside of this cover are the words "Cylindre" and "8 rubis". On the inside of this second cover are the words "metal" and another capital "E".

    There are few marks on the movement itself that I can discern.

    The adjustment is marked "Avance" and "Retard"

    Around the winding key hole is written in script "Sie 25" and "No. 571"

    The only other mark I can find on the movement itself is a small round stamping of "Cortebert" around a six pointed star.

    I apologize for the poor photos. I do not seem to have the knack of taking close ups and make details visible.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. sburow

    sburow New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
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    Follow-up:

    I located the hallmark in a database. The diamond shape with a bird in it is a Swiss mark used from 1882-1934. The bird is a grouse, and indicates the case is 0.800 silver.

    I'm assuming that the locomotive is a makers mark then?
     
  3. Englishlever

    Englishlever New Member

    Jan 4, 2008
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    The name 'Cortebert' and the 6 pointed star is in fact the trademark and name of the movement maker.

    Cortebert is a highly respected maker, and supplied their Cal 534 ebauche to Rolex as Cal 540 for their pocket watches.
    The same 534/540 ebauche by either Cortebert or Rolex, are often to be found inside WWII miltary cases with either GSTP (Cortebert) or AS (Rolex) engraved into the caseback. (but not in your watch unfortunately)!

    Your watch having 'Avance / Reterd' on the regulator suggests it was produced for the Swiss/French market rather than for export to the UK or other English speaking nations.

    It was probably produced to meet the demand of the mass market, as it has a cylinder escapement (less expensive to produce) and 7 ruby jewels.

    The inner dome is probably silver plated copper or brass (Metal!).

    The loco engraving could be a casemaker's mark, or it could have been commissioned by the owner/supplying jeweller.

    Hope this helps!
    Best regards
    John
     
  4. sburow

    sburow New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
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    Thank you John.

    It helps narrow things down a bit.

    The Swiss mark narrows the age down some as being between 1882-1934. My jeweler looked at it and made an educated guess as around the late 1880's to 1890's.

    Is the movement a Cal 534? I couldn't make a definate ID from the pictures I saw.

    How it ended up in Mid-Missouri USA is a good question.

    Thanks again.

    Scott
     
  5. Englishlever

    Englishlever New Member

    Jan 4, 2008
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    Happy to help Scott,

    No, unfortunately the movement in your watch isn't a Cal 534, I just added that info really to illustrate that Cortebert produced some good quality watch ebauche with a direct association with Rolex.

    For the age of the watch, I would say pre or very early 1900 tops as it's KW/KS, after then the trend had largely gone onto Pin or even pendant set, but there are exceptions to every rule.

    I'd guess the watch ended up in the USA in the pocket of an immigrant!
    There was a huge amount of emigration from the UK and mainland Europe to the US in the late 1800's, which continued into the early 1900's too.

    One point I forgot to mention about the inner dome, and the 'Metal' inscription.
    I believe this was a dictate by the assay offices for casemakers to distinguish precious metal from base metal components - to prevent buyers from being mislead into thinking it was all precious metal.

    As the inner domes would have been plated to match the main case, the deception would have been easy.
    I believe copper base inner domes are usually marked 'Cuivre', whereas brass and steel would simply have been marked 'Metal'
    If anyone can enlarge on this, I'd be interested to hear.

    John.
     

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