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20th c Identification and spare parts - pocket watch

vuv716g

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Nov 29, 2022
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Thank you for the welcome.

I live in the UK and amongst some items inherited last year from my wife's Nanny (died at a healthy 98 years old at her home in Chislehurst in Kent) included this pocket watch (complete with a silver embossed case) which belonged to her father.

Looking at the case the hallmark reads 1908 (Birmingham) but the clock (which sat on the same dresser in the house she built with her husband in ~1950) appears unbranded apart from what I assume is a serial number inside. As many will notice it is missing what I think is the mainspring barrel (the mainspring is present along with the crown, crown gear and I assume the intermediate wheel in a separate plastic bag) which generally seems to be a difficult item to identify and thus replace.

We are keen to get the watch cleaned and working again but wondered if anyone might have any more information on watches of this type and the best approach to repair / replace ? I have not been able (image search etc) to find an identical item which even if not working could provide the missing barrel - alternatively is it possible to measure and have the item recreated (my understanding is that it would be prohibitively expensive but I have no idea what that equates too).

I assume the watch to be of limited financial value but it is valuable to the family and if possible I am keen to resurrect it and see it cleaned and working again

Grateful for any ideas on maker etc - the hallmark on the case suggests 1908 in Birmingham, UK so assume the watch to be around that sort of time,

Steven

external.jpg case_after.jpg case_before.jpg IMG_20221117_085307629.jpg internal.jpg insideplusparts.jpg
 
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gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Steven, and welcome to the forum,

These are normally quite large, too big for a typical pocket, and are known, unsurprisingly, as 'Goliath Watches'. Many are 8-day, but yours doesn't appear to be, at least it doesn't have an extra wheel in the train to extend the running time from 30 hours. They were often sold in ornate silver-fronted desk stands, and yours looks quite attractive.

You may be lucky and find someone here who can identify the maker, but Swiss watches are very often unsigned and acquiring the missing parts could be a challenge. You're quite right about the potentially high cost of having parts made, (a barrel could be several hundred pounds), although there are certainly people here in the UK who could do this.

Regards,

Graham
 

eri231

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Jan 13, 2012
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The click-spring also seems to be missing. Possibile ti see the movement behind the dial?
Regards enrico
 

vuv716g

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Nov 29, 2022
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The click-spring also seems to be missing. Possibile ti see the movement behind the dial?
Regards enrico
eri231 Thank you for the comment and the observation ! I think I can see something that looks like it marked (badly) on the right in the image below but am not sure ? Is it responsible for causing the case release button (on the left) to return (it currently does not) ? Separately it also feels to me as though the crown / crown gear 'slot' is slightly out of line - is it possible that the movement may have turned a few degrees such that it is now not aligned correctly ?

click_spring_and_alignment2.jpg
 

vuv716g

Registered User
Nov 29, 2022
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Hi Steven, and welcome to the forum,

These are normally quite large, too big for a typical pocket, and are known, unsurprisingly, as 'Goliath Watches'. Many are 8-day, but yours doesn't appear to be, at least it doesn't have an extra wheel in the train to extend the running time from 30 hours. They were often sold in ornate silver-fronted desk stands, and yours looks quite attractive.

You may be lucky and find someone here who can identify the maker, but Swiss watches are very often unsigned and acquiring the missing parts could be a challenge. You're quite right about the potentially high cost of having parts made, (a barrel could be several hundred pounds), although there are certainly people here in the UK who could do this.

Regards,

Graham
gmorse Thank you - the information that you have provided is very useful background and confirms some of my assumptions :).

I had imagined that measuring the diameter of the large empty gap together with the depth might allow me to calculate the mainspring barrel required.

Measuring the mainspring itself (which I assume is no longer very 'springy' but doesn't seem to have been broken - iow I feel no rough edges!) I had assumed could further confirm the size of the barrel (which seem to come in 'standard' sizes ?).

All the same thank you again for the extra information :)

Steven
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Steven,
Measuring the mainspring itself (which I assume is no longer very 'springy' but doesn't seem to have been broken - iow I feel no rough edges!) I had assumed could further confirm the size of the barrel (which seem to come in 'standard' sizes ?).
The overall size of the barrel isn't the only factor to consider when looking for a replacement, it has the first wheel of the train built into it, which drives the pinion on the centre wheel arbor. This means that the diameter must be perfectly correct and so must the number and pitch of the wheel teeth, so that it meshes properly with that centre pinion. The arbor that runs through the centre of the barrel has to fit in the plates without undue play, and the ratchet wheel I can see in your parts picture has to fit on the square at one end of it.

Many watch repairers will replace mainsprings as a matter of course as part of a standard service, old ones can break unexpectedly with possibly disastrous results.

Regards,

Graham
 
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vuv716g

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Nov 29, 2022
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H Steven,


Yes, I think it has.

Regards,

Graham
Am I right to assume that if I carefully remove the 'larger' screws at 10 and 4 o'clock on the back I should be able to remove the movement in one piece (it will drop out easily....:))? Assuming so (and it is difficult to visualize how these screws hold the movement inside the case) how could it have rotated slightly when the case appears undamaged (despite being rather dirty and lightly scratched) - unless it is simply an interference fit ?
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
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Breamore, Hampshire, UK
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Hi Steven,
Am I right to assume that if I carefully remove the 'larger' screws at 10 and 4 o'clock on the back I should be able to remove the movement in one piece (it will drop out easily....:))? Assuming so (and it is difficult to visualize how these screws hold the movement inside the case) how could it have rotated slightly when the case appears undamaged (despite being rather dirty and lightly scratched) - unless it is simply an interference fit ?
Those two screws are indeed holding the movement in the case, but if they're the usual type with partial heads, they don't need to come out completely but can just be turned so that the flats are aligned with the case. Then the movement can be removed from the dial side once the front bezel is taken off.

The winding stem would normally hold the movement in the correct orientation in the case before those half screws are fully tightened, although in some movements there's also a small locating pin in the edge which fits in a slot in the case.

Regards,

Graham
 

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