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Is this pocket watch worth repairing?

Jlb22

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Nov 27, 2021
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Hi All, I was wondering if this watch that I bought recently would be worth repairing? One of the hands has fallen off inside. It's marked 18K not Hallmarked so I'm guessing it's not English. Any advice or opinions on its value repaired or scrap, or its age would be very appreciated. It weighs 39g.

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eri231

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Jan 13, 2012
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Was made by Langendorf, the gold case with the Helvetia hallmark (18K) also branded Langendorf.
Regards enrico
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Jlb22, and welcome to the forum,
It's marked 18K not Hallmarked so I'm guessing it's not English.
It's Swiss, probably from the last quarter of the 19th century, and has a cylinder escapement, now long obsolete, but it appears to be rather better quality than the majority of Swiss cylinders that turn up. The condition is very clean and tidy and it's evidently been well looked after and serviced, the screws aren't damaged and I can't see anything obviously wrong, so Les is very likely to be correct and it would only need a clean and lubricate apart from re-attaching the minute hand.

The dial is decorative and in good condition and the hands look original. Swiss carat markings can be a little 'flexible' so it may not be quite 18 carat, but if you do get a jeweller to test it, make sure they use a non-destructive method such as XRF, and not acid. If it is 18 carat or close to it, Swiss cases like this were often fairly thin metal, so lightweight compared to similar English watch cases.

Have you tried to wind it a couple of turns to see if it runs?

You may need to search around for someone who's willing (and competent) to service this since it is an obsolete escapement, but if no parts are needed the costs shouldn't be prohibitive. The BHI website has a list of qualified repairers and you may well have someone in your area.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Jlb22

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Nov 27, 2021
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Hi Jlb22, and welcome to the forum,


It's Swiss, probably from the last quarter of the 19th century, and has a cylinder escapement, now long obsolete, but it appears to be rather better quality than the majority of Swiss cylinders that turn up. The condition is very clean and tidy and it's evidently been well looked after and serviced, the screws aren't damaged and I can't see anything obviously wrong, so Les is very likely to be correct and it would only need a clean and lubricate apart from re-attaching the minute hand.

The dial is decorative and in good condition and the hands look original. Swiss carat markings can be a little 'flexible' so it may not be quite 18 carat, but if you do get a jeweller to test it, make sure they use a non-destructive method such as XRF, and not acid. If it is 18 carat or close to it, Swiss cases like this were often fairly thin metal, so lightweight compared to similar English watch cases.

Have you tried to wind it a couple of turns to see if it runs?

You may need to search around for someone who's willing (and competent) to service this since it is an obsolete escapement, but if no parts are needed the costs shouldn't be prohibitive. The BHI website has a list of qualified repairers and you may well have someone in your area.

Regards,

Graham
Many thanks Graham that is very useful. I will get it repaired. It would be criminal for it to be scrapped. Thanks again
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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Swiss carat markings can be a little 'flexible' so it may not be quite 18 carat
Just to clarify I checked David Boettcher's site.

From 1880, the single Helvetia head was used on gold items of 18K (0.75% Au) and the regulations allowed 3‰ flexibility.

1638116321155.png

In 1887, for items destined to export to the UK, the Swiss authorities introduced 3 bears for 0.935 silver and three Helvetica heads for gold with a purity 0.755 Au. Items so marked, allowing for the 3‰ flexibility, the minimum purity would be 0.752, i.e. greater than 18K and acceptable to the UK. The heads accompanied by the fineness stamps of 18C and 0.755.

I cannot remember seeing the 18C & 0.755 fineness marks, other than that illustrated on David's site, but I have seen 18K & a single head, as here, quite frequently. I know little about Langendorf Watch Co., but I understand they were formed in 1873 and despite severe difficulties in 1880 they then flourished for the remainder of the decade.

eri231 - do you know when this watch would have been made and can you explain the reason why the majority of Swiss 18K cases I have seen have one head rather than the three? Am I under a misconception possibly because I have mainly seen Swiss gold cases that were exported to America, where I assume 18K and one head were the stamps used?

John
 

eri231

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Jan 13, 2012
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Given that the imports of gold cases to the English market were much lower, 13% of the total, 35% in metal and 50% in silver in 1910.
In fact, rarely see Swiss gold cases with the three Helvetia head hallmarks.
The law provided that the cases, originally, they had to be declared for the "Controle Anglaise" and must be 0.755 or 5 thousandths more to meet the requirements of English law.
However, the traders at their own risk exported watches to England without having undergone the "Controle Anglaise" maybe the English customs were not very strict or declared for re-export to other markets.
Regards enrico
 

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