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HENRY CAPT POCKET WATCH MYSTERY / CAN YOU HELP ?

CHASKA

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Oct 19, 2021
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Hello.
This is my first time posting a message.
I found this watch in an old jewelry box that belonged to my father.
I wound it up very slowly and it began to tick !
It keeps great time if i wind once each day.
Dad passed away 50 years ago, so it has not been opened in at least that long.

I brought it to a local watch repair person to open it and maybe learn some things.
She said it might be 15 jewels and might be made in 1930.
She did not recognize the name Henry Capt.
She thought it might be worth a couple hundred bucks.

I looked at Henry Capt photos on the internet, but they all looked pretty fancy.
I know nothing about watches, but this one seemed kind of plain.
I think it must be made of steel, because I touched it with a magnet.

One thing does strike me as unusual :

This watch has Henry Capt in CURSIVE on the dial.
All the ones I saw were printed on the dial.

Inside the back of casing looks like 670465 engraved.
I see no name on the movement.
The outer ring of movement looks like 51964 engraved.

I would greatly appreciate anything you can tell me about this mysterious little pocket watch.
Thank you for your time.

FRONT 1.jpg FRONT 2.jpg FRONT 3.jpg FRONT 4.jpg SIDE.jpg BACK COVER.jpg INSIDE BACK COVER 670465.jpg INTERNAL 1.jpg INTERNAL 2.jpg INTERNAL 3.jpg INTERNAL 4.jpg INTERNAL 5 51964.jpg
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Actually Mikrolisk shows that "Henry Capt, Geneva was registered to L. Gallopin & cie of Geneva on January 20th, 1920. (And one in 1880)

Type in Henry Capt into the search bar on this site to see the listing.
Mikrolisk - The horological trade mark index.

So the watch was put together and branded by L. Gallopin, using a Tavannes movement. Sometime around 1920ish.
 
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Dr. Jon

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Henry Capt was a very fine "maker" usually using movements from first class movement makers. To me, Henry Capt watches are remarkable for their beauty achieved with elegant style and restrained but well balanced design.

Gallopin succeeded Capt and for the most part their watches are also very fine. Gallopin made some nice silver cased watches but this looks below their level. I suspect the dial is the only item from the Capt operation. Note also the hands are badly mismatched.
 

CHASKA

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Oct 19, 2021
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Hello and welcome.

The movement itself is made by Tavannes. I do not know anything about Henry Capt.

Neat watch!
Hello, Rick !
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post.
This is fun stuff !

Very interesting.
How did you know it was a Tavannes movement ?
To my undiscerning eye, the movement was blank.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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I've been looking for a larger version of that movement, nicely jeweled and two tone. Haha. There are a few I know by sight.. and this is one of them. Unfortunately I do not have a page available to show the calibre as proof.

These are called ebauches. Basically raw movements that could be ordered in (what seems like) any state of completion and companies could purchase them to assemble their watches.

Sort of like modern day. All of these watch "brands" are using Sellita, ETA, Miyota ect.
 

eri231

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This caliber from Tavannes was, with the same design, also in 19 lines. With a slightly different escape bridge even in 15 lines.

Tavannes.jpg

Regards enrico
 
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CHASKA

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Oct 19, 2021
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Actually Mikrolisk shows that "Henry Capt, Geneva was registered to L. Gallopin & cie of Geneva on January 20th, 1920. (And one in 1880)

Type in Henry Capt into the search bar on this site to see the listing.
Mikrolisk - The horological trade mark index.

So the watch was put together and branded by L. Gallopin, using a Tavannes movement. Sometime around 1920ish.
Hi Rick.
I went into the Mikrolisk site.
That is some very interesting history.
Your evaluation of this pocket watch is incredibly helpful !
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Henry Capt was a very fine "maker" usually using movements from first class movement makers. To me, Henry Capt watches are remarkable for their beauty achieved with elegant style and restrained but well balanced design.

Gallopin succeeded Capt and for the most part their watches are also very fine. Gallopin made some nice silver cased watches but this looks below their level. I suspect the dial is the only item from the Capt operation. Note also the hands are badly mismatched.
Made to deceive? Or perhaps a reused dial?
 

CHASKA

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Oct 19, 2021
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I've been looking for a larger version of that movement, nicely jeweled and two tone. Haha. There are a few I know by sight.. and this is one of them. Unfortunately I do not have a page available to show the calibre as proof.

These are called ebauches. Basically raw movements that could be ordered in (what seems like) any state of completion and companies could purchase them to assemble their watches.

Sort of like modern day. All of these watch "brands" are using Sellita, ETA, Miyota ect.
Greetings from Minnesota, Rick.
I was very fortunate to have you spot the Tavannes movement.
I typed them into Mikrolisk, as well.
They have been around for quite a while.
Would you consider them high quality movements ?
Or maybe it depends on what the buyer does with the ebauche ?
I had no idea watches were built in this manner.
Do you think my watch is "nicely jeweled" ?
The watch repair person said it might be 15 jewels.
Good luck in your search for a larger version.
 

eri231

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This type of very thin case was called "Dress watch" to be used in evening dresses for social occasions.
Regards enrico
 

Dr. Jon

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Tavannes was a fine movement maker and it is a solid movement. I have not seen a Capt or Gallopin watch with this movement before. It is good movement but I beleive Capt and Gallopin used better movemnts and dials.

Here is one of their lower end examples Face.jpg Front Cover.jpg Mvt.jpg

It has the more usual movemetn which I think os from LeCOultre and has extra cap jewels. The inner cover is signed but I do not have a photo handy.

It also fills the case.

This does not mean the one posted is definitely a counterfeit but it is very differnet from usual. Sometimes a smaller movement goes into case to make it appear to be a very thin watch, they also usually use a large dial.

It looks wrong to me.
 
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Dr. Jon

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I do not think it was intended to deceive as much as just get a dial upgrade. All the Capts and Gallopins I have seen have the case signed and are either in gold of silver with gold accents. Neither names were prominent enough for faking.
 

CHASKA

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Tavannes was a fine movement maker and it is a solid movement. I have not seen a Capt or Gallopin watch with this movement before. It is good movement but I beleive Capt and Gallopin used better movemnts and dials.

Here is one of their lower end examples View attachment 677231 View attachment 677232 View attachment 677233

It has the more usual movemetn which I think os from LeCOultre and has extra cap jewels. The inner cover is signed but I do not have a photo handy.

It also fills the case.

This does not mean the one posted is definitely a counterfeit but it is very differnet from usual. Sometimes a smaller movement goes into case to make it appear to be a very thin watch, they also usually use a large dial.

It looks wrong to me.
Good day to you, Dr. Jon !
I thank you for sharing your opinion with me.
You have certainly given me a lot of food for thought.

The casing and the movement look very different and look wrong from the Capt and or Gallopin that you have encountered.
Does the dial also look different or wrong from your experience ?
Have you ever encountered a cursive signature on the dial of a Henry Capt ?
Have you ever encountered a cursive signature anywhere on a Henry Capt ?

I find the whole situation fascinating and I enjoy listening to your thoughts on the matter !
 

Dr. Jon

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Th edial looks very odd form my experience. I just checked an auction archive and did not find any cursive Henry Capt signed dials and very few metal ones. I did find a wrist watch with a metal dial and cursive "Capt" signature, but not Henry Capt. I have looked at perhaps 40 of about 10,000 watches they made so I am far from certain that they never did a cursive dial.

The other aspect of the dial which looks bad to me is the seconds bit and the way it cuts through the numbers in the circles but it is hardly a smoking gun.

Metal dials corrode as is evident in the top part of the dial. The dial may have been redone and the dial restorer used a script font and may have even changed the maker's name.

I am am far more certain on the case and movement not being typical of the firm,
 

CHASKA

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Th edial looks very odd form my experience. I just checked an auction archive and did not find any cursive Henry Capt signed dials and very few metal ones. I did find a wrist watch with a metal dial and cursive "Capt" signature, but not Henry Capt. I have looked at perhaps 40 of about 10,000 watches they made so I am far from certain that they never did a cursive dial.

The other aspect of the dial which looks bad to me is the seconds bit and the way it cuts through the numbers in the circles but it is hardly a smoking gun.

Metal dials corrode as is evident in the top part of the dial. The dial may have been redone and the dial restorer used a script font and may have even changed the maker's name.

I am am far more certain on the case and movement not being typical of the firm,
Hi Dr. Jon.
This whole process has been quite the learning experience and your input has been invaluable.
I will try that idea about an auction archive.
Now that I am retired from the railroad and winter is coming I have the time to check out some of those 10,000 Capt watches !
They are incredible.
I will include my Capt photo and three Audemars Freres photos just for comparison.
The Audemars Freres is dated as between 1885 and 1900.

FRONT 3.jpg 90174 1 Audemars Freres.jpg 90174 3 Audemars Freres.jpg 90174 4 Audemars Freres.jpg
 

Dr. Jon

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Thanks.
Henry Capt is one of my favorite makers, or .ore correctly etabisseirs. (I am on a mobile and my French is bad).

The firm's watches are usually lovely, with movements by the best makers.
 

eri231

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IMHO, this watch is original. Although far from the fame of Henry Capt, son of Henri Daniel Capt for some years partner of Isaac Daniel Piguet, in 1883 Henry Capt left in favor of Louis Gallopin in company, Ls Gallopin Successeurs de Henry Capt, with Pierre and Paul Dupuis traders of diamonds.
Since 1913 the person in charge is the son Edouard and on the death of his father Louis the general partnership continues with his mother and widow Jeanne Castres remains a family business until 1999.
Also, the dial is original I have seen another one, with the gold case, and the same dial in italics the trademark had been taken up by Edouard in 1920 evident that the Henry Capt trademark was only a commercial trademark.
Regards enrico
 
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CHASKA

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IMHO, this watch is original. Although far from the fame of Henry Capt, son of Henri Daniel Capt for some years partner of Isaac Daniel Piguet, in 1883 Henry Capt left in favor of Louis Gallopin in company, Ls Gallopin Successeurs de Henry Capt, with Pierre and Paul Dupuis traders of diamonds.
Since 1913 the person in charge is the son Edouard and on the death of his father Louis the general partnership continues with his mother and widow Jeanne Castres remains a family business until 1999.
Also, the dial is original I have seen another one, with the gold case, and the same dial in italics the trademark had been taken up by Edouard in 1920 evident that the Henry Capt trademark was only a commercial trademark.
Regards enrico
Hello Enrico.
This is breaking news !
Exciting news.
This is like hitting a homerun.

This story is getting better and better !
All I am looking for is the truth.

So Henry Capt is in partnership with Louis Gallopin.
Henry Capt dies.
Gallopin continues.
Louis Gallopin dies.
His wife (Jeanne Castres) continues the family business until 1999.
The son (Edouard Gallopin) is the person in charge since 1913.
The cursive signature trademark is taken up by Edouard Gallopin in 1920.
Is this correct ?

This story inspires me to think it could really be original.
You say that you have seen another one with a gold case.
I expect that should you ever locate that other one again, it would be asking to much to share that with us.
But I feel obligated to ask.
It would certainly be a great chapter in the history of this little "dress" pocket watch !

Is there any easy way to research this Gallopin partnership other than googling each of these individual names ?
Thanks kindly.
 

zedric

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Yes, it’s the same business (Capt, not Capp by the way). usually the carriage clocks are, high end, but they also sold some standard ones. The clock above is relatively early, probably mid 19th century and should have the word Geneva above the 6, but the names were often written onto the dials after they were fired, and easily rub off if people aren’t careful.
 

Rudders

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Yes, it’s the same business (Capt, not Capp by the way). usually the carriage clocks are, high end, but they also sold some standard ones. The clock above is relatively early, probably mid 19th century and should have the word Geneva above the 6, but the names were often written onto the dials after they were fired, and easily rub off if people aren’t careful.
Thank you for this information Zedric. I have the opportunity to buy this clock but the steel screws in the handle don't look right and the balance staff is broken. Still tempted but not at the price asked.

20210828_164807.jpg 20210828_165326.jpg 20210828_165343.jpg 20210828_165416.jpg
 

zedric

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It’s straying a little off the topic of the original post, but I think you are wise to give this a miss if the price is not right - it’s time and alarm only, so fairly basic with no strike, and the escapement has been replaced in recent years, which will reduce the value to a collector. There are plenty of fine Capt carriage clocks, ranging from something like this one


To the more simple such as this


And through to the basic such as this one, or the one you are looking at

 
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