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"Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plated?

kevinstang

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I just recently picked up this watch case, it housed a 23j Hampden, but I am finding it hard to get a definitive answer on the composition of this case. I have read online that the "Hercules" line was just a silveroid or whatever case, but on this case there is heavy tarnish like found on silver or silver plated cases, never seen this tarnish on a silveroid case. Case is also rather large in size and heavy- its also a swingout. Included a couple pictures trying to show markings and tarnish.Thanks for any info in advance...

herc1.jpg herc2.jpg
 

MrRoundel

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I'm not that familiar with the Illinois Watch Case Company's cases. However, that "4" that's incused (?) into the case might be a tip-off that it's a 4 oz silver case. It's odd that it's not marked with "Coin" anywhere, but I don't recall seeing the weight number on non-silver cases.
 

Kent

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I saw this on eBay a couple of weeks ago. At the time, and now as well, I thought that it was a nickel case. Although, it's hard to tell from pictures, it just doesn't seem to have the 'white' appearance that silver cases exhibit.

I don't recall ever seeing an Illinois Watch Case Company (IWCCo) description of their Hercules grade of case. If I did, I would have added it to the "Case Grades" table in the Illinois Watch Case Co. Encyclopedia article.

I do agree with MrRoundel; it is highly unusual to see a 'weight stamp' on a nickel case. Nevertheless, IWCCo has a reputation of marking its cases in a manner that suggest that the cases are something that they are not. The most blatant of of these was the use of the Elgin name, trying to create the impression that they were connected to the National Watch Co. (a.k.a. Elgin).
 

kevinstang

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

Thanks for the quick replies guys, I am more familiar with old silverware/silverplate markings, and the fact that this wasn't marked as coin or sterling but did have the "4" marking, but also had the colorful toning made me think it might be silverplated.
 

Fred Hansen

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I believe these Hercules cases are a silver layer over a nickel core.
 

Tom Huber

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I have several nickel/silver cases that have a weight number stamped in them.

Tom
 

Squite

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I own a couple of nickel swing-out cases that have 'tarnish' on the surface. I never once thought it was due to a silver plating. Looks like straight nickel alloy to me.
 

Fred Hansen

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I own a couple of nickel swing-out cases that have 'tarnish' on the surface. I never once thought it was due to a silver plating. Looks like straight nickel alloy to me.


Very heavily worn Hercules cases often show areas of wear through to the core metal, and the core metal is clearly different than the surface metal.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I do not recall the name, but I have a couple of cases marked silver filled and one of them is/was worn through to the nickel.
 

Squite

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Re: "Hercules" Illinois Watch Case Co. pocket watch case is it Silver or Silver Plate

I wasn't specifically referring to a Hercules marked case, just big swing-out cases in general.
 

Rene Herteux

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Hope it's OK to revive an old thread. I recently pulled one of these cases that had been in storage for over 10 years. It's a big old heavy case with a huge scratched up glass crystal. It's similarly marked Illinois Watch Case Co., Elgin, then "Hercules" then the number 4 stamped below that. This watch was well worn. In fact I'd never seen an old 18S case that was this worn, to the point that (what I'm assuming was a gold inlay on the back) was almost completely worn off. The coin edging on the front bezel was almost completely worn smooth and the crown as well. Despite all this the watch had a heavy layer of silver tarnish...the whole thing was almost completely black. I'm thinking if it was just silver plated most of that silver would have worn off and now I'm wondering if it may be a 4oz solid coin or sterling watch. Is there any way to tell for sure?
 

luvsthetick

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Hope it's OK to revive an old thread. I recently pulled one of these cases that had been in storage for over 10 years. It's a big old heavy case with a huge scratched up glass crystal. It's similarly marked Illinois Watch Case Co., Elgin, then "Hercules" then the number 4 stamped below that. This watch was well worn. In fact I'd never seen an old 18S case that was this worn, to the point that (what I'm assuming was a gold inlay on the back) was almost completely worn off. The coin edging on the front bezel was almost completely worn smooth and the crown as well. Despite all this the watch had a heavy layer of silver tarnish...the whole thing was almost completely black. I'm thinking if it was just silver plated most of that silver would have worn off and now I'm wondering if it may be a 4oz solid coin or sterling watch. Is there any way to tell for sure?
FWIW.............

I also have one of these cases, it contains a 23 jewel Seth Thomas which I acquired from the family of the original owner.

When I got it it was heavily tarnished but still in fairly nice condition. I do not polish my cases but do give them a bath in warm water and Dawn. Here are before and after pictures of the case.

s-l1600[2] f.jpg DSC_0003ay.jpg

Unlike your bezel mine is not worn smooth, it is still sharp.

DSC_0006 (2)a.JPG

If any Illinois Watch Case Co. description of these cases exists I have not found it.

I have always thought my case is plated. If you examine the case with the movement swung out there is a difference between the case body and exposed surface. It is most noticeable at the lever cut and slot to pull out swing ring. It is also present between the outer surface and body but must less obvious, probably because of bezel rub when it is tightened. Hope you can see the difference in these pictures.

DSC_0011.JPG DSC_0011ac.jpg

Is your case serial # close to mine?
 
Last edited:

Rene Herteux

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Oh my, yours is way nicer than mine! I'd be curious to see your bow and crown too. My crown is worn down almost completely smooth and the bow is extremely floppy. Tried tightening it with my bow tightener but no dice, it's just to thick. My serial number is 1565452. Also, I just noticed that the swing out portion is marked "Nickel".

Upon further inspection with a loupe it does look like there is some wear through on the case edge close to where the bezel meets the case. Regardless, it must have been some pretty heavy silver coating because this case has barely any wear through despite how tremendously worn it is.
 
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