How Old is this Watch

Ecskill

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This is a Vallon pocket watch. Porcelain face. Regular numerals. No: 78369. There is a penant engraved on the back inside panel with a star in the middle. There is a flying bird and flowers and what looks like a row of snail shells (probably not!) on the outside gold case. The case if 14k gold filled. Can anyone tell me how old it is.

Eileen
 

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Kent

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Hi Eileen:

Welcome to the NAWCC Pocket Watch Message Board!

Vallon pocket watches are Swiss-made and a little tougher to date than most American-made pocket watches.

It would be helpful if you could post pictures of the movement (the "works"), the dial (the face) and markings stamped inside of the case (you can ignore any "hand-scratched" characters, they're watch repairers' marks), the clearer and sharper, the better. Other pictures will help a little, but these are the most important. We may be able to come up with some approximate dates from seeing these. In trying to open the watch, you might find the information in "How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" useful.

To post an image, scroll to the top of the thread and click on "FAQ," then scroll down to "vBulletin FAQ" and click on the "How to post images." Once in the "How to post images" box, go about halfway down to the statement "There are two ways to attach images while editing a post on the message board." and follow the instructions there. Note that there is no indication of attaching a file (picture) until you go to actually post your thread or your reply. The picture does not show up in the "Instant Reply" text box in which you've written your thread or your reply, nor does the picture appear in the "Preview." Once you see an indication in the "Manage Attachments" box that your files were uploaded, be sure to submit the post from which you opened the "Manage Attachments" box. If you don't, your files will not really be uploaded. You can test your efforts in the Just Practicing and Learning Forum. If you have a problem getting the picture(s) to load, check your file size and make sure that it is less than 500Kb. If it is, it should load to be posted. Too large of a file size is probably the most common problem in trying to upload a picture.

Its also helpful if you can post all the markings that are on the movement (the "works") in case they can't be seen in the picture(s).

Good luck,
 

Ecskill

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Jul 6, 2011
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Picton, ON, Canada
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This is a Vallon pocket watch. Porcelain face. Regular numerals. No: 78369. There is a penant engraved on the back inside panel with a star in the middle. There is a flying bird and flowers and what looks like a row of snail shells (probably not!) on the outside gold case. The case if 14k gold filled. Can anyone tell me how old it is.


Hi Kent, THanks for the tips. I'm posting a couple more pictures. I don't know how much help they will be.

Eileen
 

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knight.six

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Jun 30, 2016
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I collect and restore mechanical pocket watches. Just received an 18S "VALLON" HC, lever set - no precious metal marks or indications anywhere on Case except for a Flag with a single Star (no info on this Flag/Star in any written or web reference). Dial is unusual - roman numerals set in blue crystal-like dots around the dial. Case serial #6141589 - no reference. Movement serial #78369. NOTE: I have gone to FOUR (4) web links selling a "Vallon" pocket watch - none of them related in any manner whatsoever and ALL FOUR + THE ONE ABOVE ON THIS PAGE HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SERIAL NUMBER = 78369 (making six (6) in all including mine). While I believe the watch was made in Switzerland, there's no information available. Some indication Vallon had a New York office but no info there either. Unable to confirm serial number or any providence for "VALLON" at all. Q: Did some movement maker in Switzerland mass-produce a movement and stamped them all with "VALLON" + "78369" for mass consumption? Anyone out there with any information would be greatly appreciated. John

04.08.2021 VALLON 3.jpg 04.08.2021 VALLON 6.jpg 04.08.2021 VALLON 7.jpg 04.08.2021 VAlLON 10.jpg
 

knight.six

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Jun 30, 2016
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Sierra Vista, Arizona
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This is a Vallon pocket watch. Porcelain face. Regular numerals. No: 78369. There is a penant engraved on the back inside panel with a star in the middle. There is a flying bird and flowers and what looks like a row of snail shells (probably not!) on the outside gold case. The case if 14k gold filled. Can anyone tell me how old it is.


Hi Kent, THanks for the tips. I'm posting a couple more pictures. I don't know how much help they will be.

Eileen
Hi - I'm trying to run "MY" Vallon to ground, but no luck yet. You state "YOUR" Vallon is "14K gold filled." Please share what you see on your Vallon to give you that impression? I am unable to find ANY reference to such a flag in any printed reference book I've got (The Complete Price Guide To Watches) or on the web. There's no cartouche, karat stamp or precious metal indicator anywhere on the case or the movement. I'm also at a loss to determine any providence (or history) on my Vallon. I've discovered that after reviewing five completely unrelated links to Vallon on the web - each and every one of the five have the SAME serial number = 78369 (and mine = SIX)!!!! There's no registry for Vallon so I'm unable to date or locate the watch's origins. Any assistance would be very welcome. John
 

Dr. Jon

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Checking the thread on dating by import marks shows this watch to be pre 1897.

The case mark of the flag with the star is very close to a Dueber Watch Case Co trademark. Dueber was a an American Watch case Company

Pritchard's Book lists The Vallon Watch co and references Didsheim, Fontainmelon and Juillard as related makers but I could not find the entries for these makers on Vallon .
 
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bruce linde

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interesting... but you’ve also dined in on a thread that was ten years old...

but now i really want to know about them all having the same serial number... definitely different watches?
 

bruce linde

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and... since the number on your watch and the one on the move don’t match, is it possible that’s just the movement model number and not a serial number?

I am a clock guy so I don’t know how to watch guys do it
 

roughbarked

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Movement could be based upon the MST 6 mirrored?
This one "The Vallon" doesn't have a number stamped on the movement.
Jean Vallon made watch cases for Omega Zenith and Patek Phillipe among others but I daresay he came along a bit later. "The cases of these watches were made by Jean Vallon, the La-Chaux-de-Fonds master case maker that specialized in anti-magnetic and water-resistant cases". Jean Vallon used a stylised image of a Narwhal as his trade mark.
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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These swiss movements are very common, especially in ladies sizes.

You will find that it is most likely a standard American size. Hard to tell from your picture but probably 6s, maybe 0s. The fancy dials are a selling point for anyone who was going for "pretty". A lady could find a nice case to show off to her friends, and place this inexpensive yet attractively dialed movement in it to create a nice accessory. Alternatively the jobber who brought the movements into the country could have cased them before sale to retailers. This didn't just apply to ladies watches, they made them in men's sizes as well.

Here are several such ladies movements from an 1896 catalog, sadly yours is not listed but they are of the same background.

Attached to this message is another catalog page from 1891 Richards & Rutishauser. It shows some 18s men's and one 6s women's.


I realize I haven't helped identify your movement, but the goal was to explain it a bit better. The case will be of no assistance in finding the movements manufacturer. It matches a Dueber trademark, as Dr. Jon says, and there isn't a reason to doubt it was cased in America.

Vallon could be anything. It could have been a name placed on the movement by the manufacturer, or it could have been specified from the purchaser. Either way it may or may not have anything to do with the movement. The word translates to Valley, from French.

It's all marketing, you see!

Good luck on your search. Maybe a jobbers catalog will surface showing these for sale.

roughbarked your photos are not showing up, can you post them again?
 

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knight.six

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Jun 30, 2016
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Sierra Vista, Arizona
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I collect and restore mechanical pocket watches. Just received an 18S "VALLON" HC, lever set - no precious metal marks or indications anywhere on Case except for a Flag with a single Star (no info on this Flag/Star in any written or web reference). Dial is unusual - roman numerals set in blue crystal-like dots around the dial. Case serial #6141589 - no reference. Movement serial #78369. NOTE: I have gone to FOUR (4) web links selling a "Vallon" pocket watch - none of them related in any manner whatsoever and ALL FOUR + THE ONE ABOVE ON THIS PAGE HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SERIAL NUMBER = 78369 (making six (6) in all including mine). While I believe the watch was made in Switzerland, there's no information available. Some indication Vallon had a New York office but no info there either. Unable to confirm serial number or any providence for "VALLON" at all. Q: Did some movement maker in Switzerland mass-produce a movement and stamped them all with "VALLON" + "78369" for mass consumption? Anyone out there with any information would be greatly appreciated. John

UPDATE: 04.10.2021: Under higher magnification, I found the word "SWISS' and the letter "K" engraved onto the lower plate, adjacent to the balance. Also, confirmed it has a cylindrical balance mechanism (no pallet fork visible). I've gone through every "Deuber" reference I have but no joy on a flag with a star in it. No idea what the "K" is a reference to. Any help? John

View attachment 648333 View attachment 648334 View attachment 648335 View attachment 648336
 

knight.six

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interesting... but you’ve also dined in on a thread that was ten years old...

but now i really want to know about them all having the same serial number... definitely different watches?

All of the separate "Vallons" I found had different dials - only one had a dial with circular dots like mine but they were a gold color. The others had standard dials for the period. I am mystified by the fact the serial number is the same for all the Vallons I've found (:???:??)
 

Jim Haney

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These would fall into the "Swiss Fake" category of watches. Cheap European movements produced for the American market.

Most Swiss Fakes have the same serial number on the movement to save time & money...

Sorry for the disappointing news...
 

knight.six

Registered User
Jun 30, 2016
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Sierra Vista, Arizona
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I collect and restore mechanical pocket watches. Just received a Swiss 18s "VALLON" HC, lever set - no precious metal marks or indications anywhere on Case except for a Flag with a single Star (no info on this Flag/Star in any written or web reference). Dial is unusual - roman numerals set in blue crystal-like dots around the dial. Case serial #6141589 - no reference. Movement serial #78369. NOTE: I have gone to FOUR (4) web links selling a "Vallon" pocket watch - none of them related in any manner whatsoever and ALL FOUR + THE ONE ABOVE ON THIS PAGE HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SERIAL NUMBER = 78369 (making six (6) in all including mine). While I believe the watch was made in Switzerland, there's no information available. Unable to confirm serial number or any providence for "VALLON" at all. Q: Did some movement maker in Switzerland mass-produce a movement and stamped them all with "VALLON" + "78369" for mass consumption? Anyone out there with any information would be greatly appreciated. John

View attachment 648333 View attachment 648334 View attachment 648335 View attachment 648336
UPDATE 04.13.2021 - I'm attaching two more pictures - the "K" and "SWISS" I found on the bottom plate of the Vallon movement. Otherwise, I have completely "bombed out" on trying to ID this one. While there is a "Vallon, Switzerland," there is no record in any written or online reference to a Vallon workshop, manufacturer, or clock-smith by that name. I am agreeing with Jim Haney (above) that it's probably a Swiss "fake" cheap European movement made for the American market. Same "Vallon" and "78369" serial number on EVERY iteration of this watch I have found on the web = SIX (6) including the one I have. 04.13.2021_K_.jpg 04.13.2021_SWISS_.jpg
 

John Matthews

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I know very little about Swiss watches and even less about the Swiss trade with America. However, I did a quick internet search and there appears to be no great difficulty in finding references to Vallon. Here is a starter from the Mikrolisk site -

1618330518317.png

Also here

John
 

knight.six

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Jun 30, 2016
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Sierra Vista, Arizona
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I know very little about Swiss watches and even less about the Swiss trade with America. However, I did a quick internet search and there appears to be no great difficulty in finding references to Vallon. Here is a starter from the Mikrolisk site -

View attachment 649204

Also here

John
Thank you, John. I already have that reference, but went back to make sure I didn't miss anything. Under "V," I can't find "Vallon" anywhere:???:
 

knight.six

Registered User
Jun 30, 2016
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3
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Country
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I collect and restore mechanical pocket watches. Just received an 18S "VALLON" HC, lever set - no precious metal marks or indications anywhere on Case except for a Flag with a single Star (no info on this Flag/Star in any written or web reference). Dial is unusual - roman numerals set in blue crystal-like dots around the dial. Case serial #6141589 - no reference. Movement serial #78369. NOTE: I have gone to FOUR (4) web links selling a "Vallon" pocket watch - none of them related in any manner whatsoever and ALL FOUR + THE ONE ABOVE ON THIS PAGE HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SERIAL NUMBER = 78369 (making six (6) in all including mine). While I believe the watch was made in Switzerland, there's no information available. Some indication Vallon had a New York office but no info there either. Unable to confirm serial number or any providence for "VALLON" at all. Q: Did some movement maker in Switzerland mass-produce a movement and stamped them all with "VALLON" + "78369" for mass consumption? Anyone out there with any information would be greatly appreciated. John

View attachment 648333 View attachment 648334 View attachment 648335 View attachment 648336
Today is April 20, 2021. In a search for "FACT," I disregarded the money I paid for this watch (Estate Sale) and decided to completely disassemble it instead. I wanted to ascertain its providence 100% and hopefully NOT based on guess work. Popping off the crystal ring was necessary to have the movement come out from the front of the case after removing two case screws on the back of the movement. Gently raising the movement up at an angle to the case front allowed it to come out of the case. Removal of a small screw in the stem body then permitted the crown and stem to come out. I removed the hands, then removed two dial screws at the back of the movement to have the dial come free. I took photos of each and every step of my disassembly but will only post ones I haven't included previously.
1) The crystal is acrylic
2) The ONLY jewel I found in this movement was the cap jewel for the balance. Careful examination of each and every hole throughout all the movement plates were devoid of any synthetic jewels - just open holes. The cap jewel was cracked and broken
3) The balance has a cylinder escapement...there is NO pallet fork seen here. The escape wheel has odd caps at the end of each radial
4) The winding barrels, barrel plate, click spring, etc, all appear in standard configuration for a movement of this type
5) I found and posted pictures above of the word, "SWISS" and the letter, "K" engraved on the bottom plate. After total disassembly, I also found the letter "P." I am unable to account for these letters. There is NO reference to them in any written watch documentation I have available or via the internet. There are NO other letters or words anywhere else on this movement or its edge - or the case.
6) Picture #1 shows the cracked/broken cap jewel
7) Picture #2 shows the "K" / "SWISS" / "P" (I cleaned this area up to show them more clearly)
8) Picture #3 One side of the movement plates
9) Picture #4 The other side of the movement plates
10) Picture #5 Total disassembly - all the pieces
11) The CASE appears to be common metal with a stamped design. There is NO precious metal or markings to indicate such anywhere on the case. The flag with star does not match any symbol or cartouche in any "case" reference. I believe this was just another attempt to add credibility to an object that has none.

CONCLUSION: There is no providence or method to ascertain such as ALL "Vallon" movements researched to date are ALL engraved "Vallon" "No. 78369" leading me to conclude a "jobber" or similar made these to be sold cheaply. Where they actually manufactured in Switzerland and exported? Unknown. Any competent watch maker of that time could have done so and easily engraved the movement to make it appear as if it was. Absent true providence - there's no way to prove or disprove this. There is no national or local registry containing anything about these watches or their serial number. I will readily change my conclusion if any other member can add to my research and pin down any other pertinent information (or if I stumble onto anything new). Therefore, such watches have NO value whatsoever outside of being a novelty.

Be aware of the following concerning cylinder escapements:

"The Swiss perfected the design of the cylinder escapement and produced watches with it in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, right up to the beginning of the twentieth century. Swiss watches with cylinder escapements that were imported into England were usually at the cheaper end of the price scale and consequently the cylinder escapement is usually looked upon rather contemptuously by watch collectors."

"The major drawback of the cylinder escapement is that the cylinder is always in contact with the escape wheel, causing sliding friction as the cylinder turns. This means that the timekeeping changes as the oil used to lubricate the contact ages, and without regular cleaning and oiling the cylinder can wear very badly. Today this would probably be uneconomic to repair unless the watch was something special, and the number of repairers who can replace a cylinder is small and dwindling. John

04.20.2021 Disassembly 40_cropped.jpg 04.20.2021 Disassembly 33.jpg 04.20.2021 Disassembly 26.jpg 04.20.2021 Disassembly 27.jpg 04.20.2021 Disassembly 42.jpg
 
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knight.six

Registered User
Jun 30, 2016
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Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Today is April 20, 2021. In a search for "FACT," I disregarded the money I paid for this watch (Estate Sale) and decided to completely disassemble it instead. I wanted to ascertain its providence 100% and hopefully NOT based on guess work. Popping off the crystal ring was necessary to have the movement come out from the front of the case after removing two case screws on the back of the movement. Gently raising the movement up at an angle to the case front allowed it to come out of the case. Removal of a small screw in the stem body then permitted the crown and stem to come out. I removed the hands, then removed two dial screws at the back of the movement to have the dial come free. I took photos of each and every step of my disassembly but will only post ones I haven't included previously.
1) The crystal is acrylic
2) The ONLY jewel I found in this movement was the cap jewel for the balance. Careful examination of each and every hole throughout all the movement plates were devoid of any synthetic jewels - just open holes. The cap jewel was cracked and broken
3) The balance has a cylinder escapement...there is NO pallet fork seen here. The escape wheel has odd caps at the end of each radial
4) The winding barrels, barrel plate, click spring, etc, all appear in standard configuration for a movement of this type
5) I found and posted pictures above of the word, "SWISS" and the letter, "K" engraved on the bottom plate. After total disassembly, I also found the letter "P." I am unable to account for these letters. There is NO reference to them in any written watch documentation I have available or via the internet. There are NO other letters or words anywhere else on this movement or its edge - or the case.
6) Picture #1 shows the cracked/broken cap jewel
7) Picture #2 shows the "K" / "SWISS" / "P" (I cleaned this area up to show them more clearly)
8) Picture #3 One side of the movement plates
9) Picture #4 The other side of the movement plates
10) Picture #5 Total disassembly - all the pieces
11) The CASE appears to be common metal with a stamped design. There is NO precious metal or markings to indicate such anywhere on the case. The flag with star does not match any symbol or cartouche in any "case" reference. I believe this was just another attempt to add credibility to an object that has none.

CONCLUSION: There is no providence or method to ascertain such as ALL "Vallon" movements researched to date are ALL engraved "Vallon" "No. 78369" leading me to conclude a "jobber" or similar made these to be sold cheaply. Where they actually manufactured in Switzerland and exported? Unknown. Any competent watch maker of that time could have done so and easily engraved the movement to make it appear as if it was. Absent true providence - there's no way to prove or disprove this. There is no national or local registry containing anything about these watches or their serial number. I will readily change my conclusion if any other member can add to my research and pin down any other pertinent information (or if I stumble onto anything new). Therefore, such watches have NO value whatsoever outside of being a novelty.

Be aware of the following concerning cylinder escapements:

"The Swiss perfected the design of the cylinder escapement and produced watches with it in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, right up to the beginning of the twentieth century. Swiss watches with cylinder escapements that were imported into England were usually at the cheaper end of the price scale and consequently the cylinder escapement is usually looked upon rather contemptuously by watch collectors."

"The major drawback of the cylinder escapement is that the cylinder is always in contact with the escape wheel, causing sliding friction as the cylinder turns. This means that the timekeeping changes as the oil used to lubricate the contact ages, and without regular cleaning and oiling the cylinder can wear very badly. Today this would probably be uneconomic to repair unless the watch was something special, and the number of repairers who can replace a cylinder is small and dwindling. John

View attachment 650371 View attachment 650373 View attachment 650374 View attachment 650375 View attachment 650376
UPDATE: Just FYI - I made the leap to purchase ONE of the TWO complete sets available: "Swiss Timepiece Makers, 1175-1975, First Edition, Kathleen H. Pritchard (ouch - four figures!). I'll be able, hopefully, to shed more light on this when they arrive end of next week. Stay tuned. John
 

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