It's an effort but worth it....John H Wilterding Jr Collection

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Kevin Neathery, May 29, 2018.

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  1. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    #1 Kevin Neathery, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
    On my travels this weekend I came across a case in a antique store. There were somewhere between 175-200 pocket watches in it. I wasted no time in getting someone to unlock the case so that I could start going through them. The name did not strike me at first, mainly because someone had tried to conceal the name on the cards and such, but what did was the organization and effort spent on each watch.

    Each had a card that detailed information about the watch. Not like a dealer, but more like a enthusiastic collector. One that took the time to research every detail and make note of it. Then there was pricing information on the back and they went by years. This is not something a dealer would do. They usually slap some eBay printout showing some crazy buy it now price and hope you get suckered in.

    I know this is a long post but I promise there are watches and pictures. So without a book OR internet and my limited, in my opinion, knowledge I began picking through. I selected 5 based solely on what was on the cards. One I had no reservation about and was the first one I said...."I will take this one for sure." After leaving the store I got my precious internet back. I was on vacation so I was not prepared for this....but I am always looking for watches. I knew the name had a connection to the NAWCC after seeing some mention of the Bulletin on a few cards.

    Once I found out more about John....I made a second trip and bout a further 11-12 watches from the case. Again with no internet or book. I read a few articles that John had a hand in or wrote and realized, these cards and watches were the result of a far more knowledgeable collector and member. I had asked the gentleman being patient with me the first time the background to the watches. So many and with cards, struck me as odd. From what he knew the antique dealer selling them had bought a watch collection from the family or son after the collector had passed.

    I am a sentimental type and figure that something that took so much time and effort deserves a bit more respect than sold off to random tourists in browsing and buying "some old watch that looked neat". While they go great with what I have been wanting to do with my own collection, I don't want to just merge them into my collection. I will maintain the cards, boxes, and felt bags each has. I intend to make note that they came from John's collection and that there is a history there. I intend to go back and buy more this weekend as soon as I can free up funds

    So the first one I picked.....

    E Howard L Size Series III Cole's Escapement


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    It was not $1450 btw.

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    I will post more soon. Have to do this dang thing called work......
     
  2. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Illinois 18s 7j The Farringdon D

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  3. Dave Coatsworth

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  4. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    I remember selling that Howard watch to Mr. Wilterding many years ago. He was a fine gentleman, and I am sorry to learn from this thread of his passing. It's a nice watch, and I think John may have considered it his flagship piece. I believe there is a Gothic "H" marking on the underside of the cuvette in addition to the "B.W.C.F." marking. That same marking appears sporadically on other cases for Howard watches as well.

    I don't think that's my tag, or my handwriting, though.
     
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  5. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    It is a great watch and I am thrilled to add it to my collection. Ben was saying that you may have been the one referred to in the card. The tag though I think was from some other attempt to sell the watches. In total there was the card, that tag, and another antique dealer tag on each watch. Varying prices on all so I think they were added by someone other than John.

    There is a gap in time between his passing in 2013 and them being sold by this dealer who it was said put them in the case in late April. So I don't know what else could have been in the collection other than those in the case. I did call the store and ask them to hold one aside for me but others I would have to be there to select. I also asked if they could get a total price for all of them from the dealer. Long shot and I doubt I would have enough but you dont know unless you ask.

    I will update the card with the correct spelling of your name.
     
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  6. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Waltham 10s 15j PSB 18k

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    The pictures show up the right way on my computer. Sorry. This one needs a clean....dusty.
     
  7. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    I would kill for a 10 size Waltham KW/KS case. What a shame his family was not interested in the watches, the way they sold them, the buyer probably got a good deal.
     
  8. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    That was my feeling too, even before looking him up. I tend to think there is kind of a brotherhood to being a watch collector. Some see the watches as just objects that are fun to collect. Others see the deep history and enjoy digging deeper. But no matter what, when you meet a stranger and find out they are a watch collector, it is easier to talk to them. The common thread is the watch collecting. So when I hear of a collection being just sold off randomly, It makes me think of my own collection.

    For some of us it is the majority of our lifetime that is spent hunting and learning. That is a lot of effort to build the collection we have. We do it because we love doing it, but I will be the one to disperse my collection unless something happens to me suddenly. I still have 40 or 50 years left though...I hope.
     
  9. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Tremont and Melrose. Thought it would be good to pick up the pair.

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  10. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    John was an interesting fellow... he lived about 30 Miles from me and more than once we traded a Saturday afternoon comparing.... He did give me an opportunity to buy what I wanted from him before he passed.. Picked a few watches that fit my interests at the time... but he did indicate he wanted to sell the whole collection either as one or put them on eBay individually ... He did sell some that way before he passed .... I believe there were at least 100 watches in his collection... most running and serviced .... His wife appreciated the collection but I think it was his son eventually had to dispose of what was left... His interest was big into case making and it’s history... A Gentleman above all else...
     
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  11. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    I can only imagine what he must have had if whay I saw was left. I am thankful they did not all end up on eBay or I would not be enjoying this as much ☺

    I did notice most cards noted a service or restoration date and by who. His attention to detail was very admirable.
     
  12. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    One for tonight

    Newark

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  13. Jim Haney

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    Kevin,
    Thank you for saving some of these watches and the notes that he made for them..

    I would recommend to anyone who see this that they make plans either in writing or to a spouse what to do with their collection so it will not end up like this.

    I would strongly recommend letting one of the established specialist for watches or clocks take over the collect for the widow or family and sell it professionally to realize maximum benefit to the estate, like Jones & Horan or R.O. Schmitt.

    I have referred these companies to several widows and they have very happy with the results and relieved that they did not have to worry with the details etc.
     
  14. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Tonight I figured I would look at the N.Y. Watch Co ones I picked up.

    Chas E Hayward 11/15J 14,032 Hunter

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    A PL for Linus Weed of Norwalk 11J 39941

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    Rather basic but I could not leave it behind John Hancock 7J 21204

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  15. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    I believe the Hayward has a replaced seconds hand. I will see if Marty has one available.
     
  16. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    I did speak with the dealer directly today. He is willing to sell at a blanket $X's per watch. I fear though the number even at the amount he stated will still be far more than what I can handle.

    I may end up seeing if I can get a better price on say 15 or so. He bought them all from John about 8 years ago. Roughly 175 watches. I would guess there are over 100 in the case, close to 130. He said he kept a few interesting ones including some hidden closure type cased one. A local watchmaker said he would back me on any major finds a few weeks back. May see what he had in mind.
     
  17. musicguy

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    I personally see this as a great opportunity(based on the watches you have already posted)
    to add some very nice watches to your collection. I assume you are getting these watches
    for a fair price(I don't know). I have had the opportunity to buy
    other peoples collections(of different things) over the years and I have resisted doing that.
    For me, I like to add to my own collection as I find watches that I like and interest me. Some I end up selling but most of them I keep
    or give to my family. If someone has the money it's very easy to accumulate a lot
    of watches, but I like the excitement from buying them slowly over time(thinking I'm getting the best deals:screwball:).
    Each watch has some sort of meaning to me. If it doesn't I sell it.
    Good luck with deciding what to buy(or to buy all of them). But buy
    what you like that fit's into your collection.


    Rob
     
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  18. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Pick out what fits for your collection, to yourself. Add it up in your head. Write down your offer,
    put it in an envelope and leave it with the guy.

    You should get a call within two weeks.

    Keith R...
     
  19. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Bit of an odd one tonight. I was reading the card and it almost sounds like the pillar plate was changed but honestly I am not sure if he was mistaken. I have looked at other BWR in this serial range and the same model and it looks right. I would have to do a tear down to see the numbers. Anyway I don't think that is what was of the most interest to him. It looks like a good amount of effort was spent getting the Abbot Stem Wind to work properly. It was his first Abbot attchachment watch....now my first.

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  20. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    I read one of the old threads here about the attachment and man....it got a little heated. Some hated them and considered the Abbot an infection and destruction of a good watch. Others saw it as a novelty. I guess, before some heated talk may start here, that I should put my views out there for you to have something to take pot shots at if needed.

    To me an abbot is a novelty that was contemporary to the watch.It would be like buying a anew watch these days and having some type of modification done to make it have a function it did not before. We would not think of taking a modern watch and making a modification to it as "destroying it's value" as another could be bought any time and with out any hassle. From a collector's point of view I can see how a rare movement having had this done in the past can feel like a desecration. That a movement is no longer original and thus does not hold the same value.

    But when it comes to a rather common movement that would not hold some great value in an original state, the contemporary conversion, done well, can still serve as a novelty and something that is a part of the past of the watch world. I find it to be an interesting piece just for the sake of having a watch with an Abbot's. I think of it as an interesting engineering idea that had a need at the time it was created. The invention of it was not there to destroy the value of the watch you owned but to give you a function that you wanted to your own watch. No mind was paid to the future value of said watch at the time as it would have been your daily wearing watch.

    I tend to take the middle ground on many things...except the destruction of a vintage pocket watch to convert it to a wristwatch monstrosity. That is a modern destruction of a historical piece....they want to convert a pocket watch...there are plenty of cheap new Chinese made ones they can have a go at....but in 150 years someone my view that statement as promotion of the destruction of a perfectly good watch that had some future value.....interesting thought.....thus my middle ground.
     
  21. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Kevin, not sure if you saw this in my Pre-Railroad thread. Here's my only Abbotts.

    edit........................Kevin, what you are reading are old wars. I would love to have
    a repeater, look that up in the Price Guide.

    Keith R...

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  22. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    I did not....do you have a link to the tread?

    My repeaters were made as repeaters but I would find the attachment fascinating.
     
  23. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Kevin, American Repeating Watch Co. Repeater attachments, 16 size watches,
    page 107 of the 04 PG.

    Page 106 18 size.

    Keith R...
     
  24. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Pg 99 and 101 of the 2000 version of the book. I don't use the book for prices so only the condition of the book counts....this one was given to me free and was almost new.

    I think the repeater attachment would seem less offensive to some because I don't think it required the movement to be modified. Much like I have seen repeater modules, like chrono ones, for ETA movements. The two are just attached without the need for machining.
     
  25. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Owning one with an Abbotts, oh well. Owning an entire collection with Abbotts attachments,
    someone needs their head examined.

    But I get the point.

    Keith R...
     
  26. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    "It was a pain but I managed to get that model dang serial number 131 Howard fitted with that attachment. Could not stand having to use a key all the time."
     
  27. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    One more tonight...

    Illinois "SWCo" 7j 18s. 80588

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  28. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #28 Keith R..., May 31, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
    Kevin, I'd probably turn down a Howard series I with an Abbotts..........they made 1,800
    of them.

    However, I would not turn down an original Pitkin with an Abbotts. I'd probably buy the seller
    breakfast at IHOP, right after the watch was in my possession. The lone one I have, I picked
    it up like this. AT&Co grade, 15J. That run, had that balance cock. It's also an English export.

    Keith R...

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  29. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    What movement is in that beauty? Got to show the movement.
     
  30. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    #30 Kevin Neathery, Jun 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
    Tonight it is the Illinois 18s 11j Railway 141568

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    Illinois Mason 18s 7j serial 976

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    Illinois Miller 5th Pinion 17j

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  31. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Well I picked up everything that was still there. 94 watches. Been going through it and have some letters folded up that were from Bill Meggers. He apparently worked on a few of them for John. They are not just watch business and it is good to see the friendship that is on those pages.
     
  32. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Also...anyone heard of an Illinois Dispatch before?

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    Card says 18s 11h KW/IS Dec 1882.

    Lots of cards say restored or overhauled by AJ "Tony" Wiederhold.
     
  33. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Congratulations! You definitely have a very special collection. It's wonderful to hear about the care that this collection has received and the evidence of the long-lasting friendships that our hobby can create. Thank you for sharing!

    Pat
     
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  34. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    One of my favorites.....and yes it is a fake but....so nice.

    It is a PJ Bartlet Waldham Mass. Even went as far as to mark the case.
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  35. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    #35 Kevin Neathery, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    Dial on the Despatch in question...

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    I realized it says Despatch which according to some sources is the common spelling of dispatch in the 19th century.
     
  36. luvsthetick

    luvsthetick Registered User

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    Kevin,

    Glad to hear you were able to get the remaining watches. Congrats!

    Looking forward to the continuation of this thread.
     
  37. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    #37 Kevin Neathery, Jun 4, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    If I post all of them...this thread would go on way too long lol

    On a different note....does anyone have any information on a Illinois serial 321092? The one I have in the group is marked Mechanic and the only lookup I have for Illinois shows it to be a grade 106 model 2. It is not a 5th pinion.

    What is funny is that when I was a kid I vaguely remember seeing a Illinois watch marked "Mechanic" at a NAWCC show in Houston. I was 16 or 17 at the time but I remember someone showing it to me and indicating it had some significance. I also remember seeing a pair of Hamilton watches that were low serial and consecutive. It would be funny if this was the watch I saw way back then.

    I have an email out to Jon for the CD and I have the Vol 2 on the way as well. Figured both would help me from bugging everyone.
     
  38. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    Yes, I have three in my collection. Serial numbers 234492, 240548, and 256123
     
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  39. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    It is indeed a model 2 grade 106 per the Illinois CD. 2600 of this configuration made. I have two Mechanics in my collection. Serial numbers 214067 and 320829.
     
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  40. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    I would also PM Bryan Eyring, who is a member of this message board.
     
  41. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Thanks Dave!

    What kind of dial's are on yours?
     
  42. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Jon emailed me back and I will be sending a check out today. Thanks!
     
  43. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    Just a regular 'Illinois Watch Co.' dial. Like yours without the 24 hour markings. Yours was probably sold in Canada.
     
  44. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    You might consider adding these Illinois private labels to the Illinois Private Label thread: Illinois private-labels
     
  45. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Will do.

    Should I add the Iowa watches or just the Despatch and the Mechanic? Also there is a Standard Watch Co with a model name that was an Illinois IWCo grade.

    Oh and a gold flashed Standard. Not a Standard Watch Co.
     
  46. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    Yes, all of these should be added.
     
  47. MJKauz

    MJKauz Registered User

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    #47 MJKauz, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    Hello all,

    I'm sorry to bump an old thread but I couldn't resist. John Wilterding was my grandfather.

    I'm glad to see that his collection is still being appreciated. I'm nearly in tears reading through this thread. Though I can't speak completely to the specifics of why the collection was sold because I was 23 and only the grandson – and in an ideal world I would have liked to keep all of them – but it was a family decision to sell a large portion of the collection. In no way did these watches go unappreciated by the family but after his long, difficult, decline and passing, it was time to let the rest go.

    After we each (myself, my grandmother, my mother, and my uncle) saved a handful of watches that were special to us, we sold the remaining watches to a family friend who is an antique dealer. He gave a hefty sum, one that (as I understand it) there's no way in the current market he would recoup by piecing the collection out (or not without a substantial amount of time), so I'm guessing you got quite the deal. I also think that my grandfather would have appreciated knowing so many more people could have loved his watches than just having them in his safe looked at occasionally. So for those people being negative about what happened with the watches, please don't project your assumptions.

    As for myself, I'm hoping to continue collecting pocket watches (and eventually wrist watches) when I have the finances to do so. I grew up looking at watches with my grandfather from a young age. In fact, my first words were "tick tock clock" which is what he would say to me while holding me and showing me an Illinois Grade 706 with a 1920 BW Raymond Case. He gave it to me as a gift when I was 13. I'm 29 now. I own about eight watches from his collection (though I have a feeling my grandma may give me more in the coming years as she did this past Christmas). They include (off the top of my head because I don't have them handy, and bear with me because I'm not as well versed as you all are):
    • 1899 American Waltham 16S Riverside in a 14k Mexican Diener Hermanos case with a beautiful Louis the XVI style dial
    • 1883 Waltham with a Fahys dial and Montauk/Caduceus YGF case (a favorite because of the pears gilt into the face with sapphires at the 5 minute marks)
    • Elgin (can't remember the year or many details) 16S 21J "Timed by the Stars" which I just love the simplicity of the dial
    • Hampden Duber with a box hinge and gorgeous stag on the case
    • Fredonia keywind with a Fahys case
    • 1903 Hamilton, 16 size, 17 jewel, with a 24 hour dial and no seconds
    Kevin, I'm glad to hear that 96 of them ended up in your hands. I hope you appreciate them half as much as my grandfather did. He was somewhat prolific, from what I understand, in his writings about Fahys (one of his favorites) and often made an effort to reunite watches with engravings with the original owner's families, even generations later. Maybe we can keep in touch and I could potentially take some of the less interesting watches off your hands when I have funds, just to bring them back into the family.

    Thanks to everyone that appreciated reading about his collection or following Kevin's story. It means a lot.
     
  48. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    #48 musicguy, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    MJKauz,

    Great story and welcome to the American Pocket watch
    side of the NAWCC Forum!

    When you get a chance start a new thread and pick one
    of the watches you inherited and post some photographs of it.
    Pick one of the ones that is meaningful to you or that you may
    want more information on.


    Rob
     
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  49. MJKauz

    MJKauz Registered User

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    #49 MJKauz, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    Thank you! I might try to do that over the holidays. Most of the watches are with my parents. I'm a photojournalist living in New York and I travel often so I don't trust their safety in my apartment. But, as you all have noticed, my grandpa was pretty fastidious about his note taking so I have access to pretty much every detail about the watches I could imagine, except for the market value, which I guess would only serve to inform future purchases. Aside from not having more watches, I only regret I wasn't able to learn even more from him.

    The note about him being an enthusiastic collector couldn't be more true. He had a few passions (he would take me to watch Great Lakes shipping vessels, talk about steam engine trains, WWII aircraft, collected pressed glass) but when I think of him, I think of watches. I remember being about 11 or 12 and he put out a watch (in a box like you see, with the handmade felt pouches my mom or grandma sewed) on the dining room table. Then he set a handful of thick books nearby, gave me one of his blank index cards, and told me to figure out all the information. If I had to guess, he probably tested me on that Illinois in the BW Raymond case I mentioned, maybe to to see if I was ready to have it soon. I must have done that a dozen or so times growing up.
     
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  50. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    There are many misspellings on the cards, including in the names. Are you sure "Richard Wagner" might not be "Richard Warner?" If so, may folks here know him, as they knew his late father Ralph. I see Richard at the shows not infrequently.
     

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