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just venting

Greg Frauenhoff

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It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people who claim to be knowledgeable watch collectors can be. Here's a question/comment/accusation I rec'd recently:

"This appears to be gold fill not gold filled as it is gold over copper if it was gold filled it would state and not say 20-25 years"

What is one to do? I have no idea.
 

topspin

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The offender in question does have a little bit of my sympathy. Whether we call it "gold fill" or "gold filled" I think the term is ambiguous to the point of being a misnomer. The word "filled" usually implies "in the middle" or "throughout", not just a layer on the outside.
I'm not sure what the word ought to be - it needs to be something distinct from "plated". Maybe I'll go and watch some GF items being made, hopefully the mechanics of the process itself will suggest a more suitable name.
 

Jerry Treiman

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... Whether we call it "gold fill" or "gold filled" I think the term is ambiguous to the point of being a misnomer. ... I'm not sure what the word ought to be - it needs to be something distinct from "plated". ...
It's not just what "we call it" or what we think it ought to be.

In my 1886 H. Muhr's Sons catalog their Crown cases are called "filled cases".

In an 1899 jobber catalog the term "gold filled" is used by Crown, Fahys, Dueber, Bates & Bacon, and Crescent. Wadsworth has their "14K filled" and 10K filled" cases, and Keystone has "Jas.Boss filled" cases of various karat.

So, regardless of how much sense the term makes, "filled" or "gold filled" is well established by historic usage. [I have never heard "gold fill" before].
 

novicetimekeeper

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We use rolled gold over here, which is how it is made.
 

Jerry Treiman

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In American usage a rolled plate or rolled gold plate case is generally cheaper than a gold filled case, but I am not sure what the construction difference is. In the same 1899 jobber catalog that I cited there are also listed rolled plate cases by Keystone or T.Zurbrugg Co. which are only guaranteed for 5 years or 10 years (in contrast to the 20 and 25 year gold filled cases).
 

novicetimekeeper

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In American usage a rolled plate or rolled gold plate case is generally cheaper than a gold filled case, but I am not sure what the construction difference is. In the same 1899 jobber catalog that I cited there are also listed rolled plate cases by Keystone or T.Zurbrugg Co. which are only guaranteed for 5 years or 10 years (in contrast to the 20 and 25 year gold filled cases).
Presumably the difference is the thickmess of the gold applied, the construction method is the same. It isn't an area of interest for me but when I first came to this board I had no idea what gold filled was, I've collected flatware for decades and been interested in gems and jewellery but the system of cladding base metal in gold is not seen as desirable here in the same way as it is in the US.

We have gilt brass cases on 17th and 18th century wares but presumably these were originally fire gilded.
 

Bard

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'Rolled gold involved rolling gold into a micro thinness and, under extreme pressure, bonding it to each sheet of base metal. Rolled gold carried a five year guarantee. The thickness of the gold sheet varied and had a direct bearing on value, as did the richness of the engraving.'

Gilbert/Engle/Shugart complete price guide to watches 2016

I suppose since less gold is used = cheaper case than filled
 

rolandantrobus

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Rolled gold and gold filled are two descriptions of exactly the same thing. The only difference is that if you call it gold filled the gold must be at least 5% of the total weight. I believe in the USA that for gold filled items between 10 and 12 carat this figure is 10%. Hope this helps. I too have never heard of "gold fill".

20 or 25 year refer to the thickness used and can apply to gold filled or rolled gold.
 

Mark UK

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20 or 25 year refer to the thickness used and can apply to gold filled or rolled gold.
I presume the alloy of the gold has to be taken into account as well as the thickness. A 20year durability for 9ct or 10ct would not need be so thick as say 14ct, depending on what it was alloyed with.
 

rolandantrobus

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I presume the alloy of the gold has to be taken into account as well as the thickness. A 20year durability for 9ct or 10ct would not need be so thick as say 14ct, depending on what it was alloyed with.
Thats correct. So ideally its nice to have the highest carat with the longest durability.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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My little vent appears to have morphed into a discussion of nomenclature, quality, making, etc.

"Gold-filled" is not some obscure term, as applied to American watch cases. Every knowledgeable collector (a necessary caveat) I know understands it. The industry used it, collectors today use it. Was it intentionally a little "fuzzy" in the 1880s and 1890s? Sure. But it ain't fuzzy today (or shouldn't be among knowledgeable collectors). Is it the same (manufacturing wise) as "rolled gold plate"? Yes. Did the industry make a distinction between the two? Generally, yes. GF was (generally) used for items with a thicker gold layer than RGP. Did RGP replace the term GF over time? Yes (there were laws put in place).

Back to my vent. In the 1880s and well into the 20th century, many GF cases were identified by trademarks that included guarantees such 20 yrs but that did NOT specifically include the words "Gold-Filled". All the knowledgeable collectors I know understand this. I also have no idea what "gold fill" is (as regards American watch cases).

Here's a fun old ad. I could dig up hundreds (if not thousands) from the magazines in my librbary.

img396.jpg
 

Nathan Moore

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Here is a detailed explanation from the 1897 Sears & Roebuck Catalogue regarding the manufacturing process of gold filled cases.

SearsRoebuck-1897-HowGoldFilledCasesAreMade.jpg
 

topspin

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So, regardless of how much sense the term makes, "filled" or "gold filled" is well established by historic usage. [I have never heard "gold fill" before].
A quick search on a well-known auction site for
pocket watch "gold fill"
came back with 49 hits. So I would theorize that that might be where the original offender got that variant from. Was it also a "double hunter" case I wonder. Lol.

Wikipedia discusses GF... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold-filled_jewelry

Like one of the other posters above, I had never heard of GF until introduced to it through Americal PWs. Nobody is disputing that it is now an authentic, long-standing industry term. But I still wish whoever coined it had come up with a more natural way to describe items that aren't solid gold, but are still a lot more upmarket than a few microns of electroplating.
 

Kent

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My little vent appears to have morphed into a discussion of nomenclature, quality, making, etc.

"Gold-filled" is not some obscure term, as applied to American watch cases. Every knowledgeable collector (a necessary caveat) I know understands it. The industry used it, collectors today use it. Was it intentionally a little "fuzzy" in the 1880s and 1890s? Sure. But it ain't fuzzy today (or shouldn't be among knowledgeable collectors). Is it the same (manufacturing wise) as "rolled gold plate"? Yes. Did the industry make a distinction between the two? Generally, yes. GF was (generally) used for items with a thicker gold layer than RGP. Did RGP replace the term GF over time? Yes (there were laws put in place). ...
Here's an example of late 19th century fuzziness (or does the last sentence firm up that which was fuzzy):

The book [b][u]History of the American Watch Case[/u][/b], contains the registered trade mark application and Gladiator illustration on pages 78 and 79. The trade mark was applied for on June 4, 1887 and registered on July 19, 1887. It states, in part that, the [main="Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Co."]Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Co.[/main] "... has adopted for its use a Trade-Mark for Rolled Gold-Plate Watch Cases, of which the following is a full, clear, and exact description. Said trade-mark consists, essentially, of the figure of a naked gladiator holding a raised shield with his left hand to protect his head, while his right hand grasps a broadsword wherewith to attack his adversary, ... The words shown, "We Defy Competition" and "What is worth doing is worth doing well," are non-essential. This figure of a gladiator is stamped on the inside of the backs of watch cases, and has been so used ... since the 28th day of March, 1886. The class of merchandise to which said trade-mark is appropriated is watch-cases, and the particular description of goods comprised in such class on which it is used by said company is rolled-gold-plate watch-cases, or, as they are more commonly called, "filled cases."
 

darrahg

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I find it a great opportunity to educate folks when questions like that are received. It can be frustrating but that person is reaching out, whether he/she knows it or not. Hang in there Greg.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I find it a great opportunity to educate folks when questions like that are received. It can be frustrating but that person is reaching out, whether he/she knows it or not. Hang in there Greg.
I could post the rest of my exchange with the individual, but it quickly became clear that he was "right" and nothing to the contrary could sway him. The frustrating aspect is that such individuals can actual cost people money (e. g. with the buyer is always right feedback system on some internet sales sites).
 

darrahg

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Yes, I did not know the full story do realize that there is that 10%. Some folks just can't or are not willing to learn. Write 'em off and don't let them ruin your day. :cool:
 

topspin

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"There's none so blind as them that just will not listen!" - Del Boy Trotter.
 

SHBKF

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Just pull a modern coin out of your pocket & look at the edge for an example of "sandwiched metal". All Clad cookware is another example. Many higher end knives have stainless steel outer surfaces with harder alloy steel in the center for the actual edge. There are numerous items made this way. I have been puzzled as to exactly how a chain could be made as a "gold filled" item. But I have several marked GF. Manufacturing techniques are an amazing example of man's ingenuity. For me, 10K GF and so on, means I have a chance of actually affording the old watch. SHBKF
 

Tom McIntyre

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Presumably a gold filled chain is made from gold filled wire. Instead of rolling the sandwich as in the gold filled process, the gold filled rod would be drawn down through a series of dies until it is the desired thickness. As in gold filled by the rolling method, the ratios remain constant during the process.

Even if a portion of the gold was shed at the end of the billet, the amount could be measured and the process adjusted to make the original layer enough thicker to make the result come out with the correct karat value.
 

RJSoftware

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topspin

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Just pull a modern coin out of your pocket & look at the edge for an example of "sandwiched metal".
Ah, perfect. "Gold-filled" should have been called "Gold-sandwiched" and then there wouldn't have been all this confusion.
 

SHBKF

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Ah, perfect. "Gold-filled" should have been called "Gold-sandwiched" and then there wouldn't have been all this confusion.
"Laminated" would be another excellent choice. But venacular is the main thing to remember. SHBKF
 

Tom McIntyre

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I suspect that the reason for a special term was that the process resulted in welding the 3 layers together. Lamination or sandwiching imply some sort of adhesive holding the layers together.

I read the term gold filled as gold filled with base metal to a particular resulting gold content.
 

Kent

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I suspect that the reason for a special term was that the process resulted in welding the 3 layers together. Lamination or sandwiching imply some sort of adhesive holding the layers together. ...
In the course of my career I worked for several OEMs of plastic film machinery. The industry referred (and probably still refers) to the bonding of two or more layers of film, via heat and pressure - a process similar to how the plates of gold-filled cases are bonded, as lamination.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Gotta a message from someone a while back asking why an item I was selling was so much higher than the one they bought (for way way less). I tried to gently break it to them that their's was a fake. No response, so I guess they think I'm nuts. I've had a 30 year collector claim that an Aurora I was selling couldn't have been RR grade (geez, I know a thing or two about RR standards and even more about Auroras). No response, so I guess they think I'm nuts.

This is partly venting on my part, but it is also symptomatic of the lack of knowledge out there among many cyberspace collectors. We regularly see examples on our message board where people, having shelled out large sums for something, bring it to our attention only to discover that there are numerous "issues" with the piece. Oh well. I have no idea what can be done.
 

John Pavlik

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Greg, all you can do is keep telling it like it is, not how people wish it is.... Knowledge is king... eventually most learn this the hard way.. and if not, that is their problem.. Hucksters will always be around ... at least they are quite entertaining... and demonstrate that intelligence is not always passed out equally.. I have a guy that bought a watch from me on eBay and wants me to cancel the sale because he didn't read the description.
 

rolandantrobus

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A few weeks ago there was a guy on ebay selling what he said was a low serial num (300s) Waltham. It was clearly a Swiss fake, didn't even say anything on it bar the ser num. So I contacted him asking why he thought it was a Waltham. The reply went along the lines of " I've been in this business
50 years and I just know etc etc ". So I left it at that despite me being in the business 50 years also!:chuckling:
 

ben_hutcherson

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Being pedantic over things that don't have a basis in fact sounds like something that would come out of a certain former NAWCC chapter.

I'm reminded of discussions about half headed case screws, even in light of factory material catalogs that advertise them.
 

topspin

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A few weeks ago there was a guy on ebay selling what he said was a low serial num (300s) Waltham. It was clearly a Swiss fake, didn't even say anything on it bar the ser num. So I contacted him asking why he thought it was a Waltham. The reply went along the lines of " I've been in this business
50 years and I just know etc etc ". So I left it at that despite me being in the business 50 years also!:chuckling:
Ah yes, very familiar story - a typical ebay watch seller who hasn't a clue what the watch is, will usually guess "Waltham". It gets even funnier if they have looked up the serial number of their random incabloc Swiss watch in the Waltham serial numbers list, found a match, and convinced themselves that their small, stem-set, piece of tat which even says "SWISS" on it, is actually a Waltham 1857...
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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An internet genius has recently emailed me that I've misidentified the maker (Elgin) of an 18 size private label mvt. The genius is wrong. Another wants a refund for an item that they never paid for (the transaction was canceled by me due to lack of payment) and has filed a complaint with you-know-who. I guess I should be thankful, in a way, that there are so many clueless watch buyers out there, but it is still disheartening.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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A true story:

Newbie, who'd never bought anything on you-know-where before, buys a watch chain (for about $10 total). He gets it only to find out that it is a yellow chain and not a white one. He wanted a white one. Picture showed the exact chain and it was clearly yellow (yes, monitors, etc., can have color and contrast issues but yellow is still yellow and white is not). After emails are exchanged buyer admits that they goofed but decides to keep the chain anyway, even though they could have returned it for a full refund including shipping. A month goes by and buyer leaves negative feedback for the transaction. After emailing buyer it is discovered that ebay sent buyer a message asking if they were happy with item or not as they (buyer) had not left any feedback for the transaction. Buyer, who wanted a white chain, thinks about it and decides they're not happy so they leave a negative. Moral: ignorant buyer with one transaction (and a $10 one at that) can leave a negative which can cost seller with tens-of-thousands of positive transactions significant money.

Just giving examples of "the other side of the coin". I'm perfectly familiar with shady and dishonest sellers.
 

Tom McIntyre

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I am confident that gold filled was chosen to imply that it was a gold case with the center of the material "filled" with base metal. It strikes me as a little like the filled silver items with plaster in the middle for a little weight and solid feel.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Here's what I rec'd via email about an Elgin marked "Standard" on both the dial and movement:

"If it was made by Elgin, it would be helpful for you to provide some discussion, and evidence.... After all, ...most people will think is a NY Standard, because that's what it says on the dial and the movement. NY Standard is a company in its own right, and made lower-cost watches, as you may know. I don't believe it would have been typical, or likely, for Elgin to sell high-grade BW Raymond movements (which is what comes up under a serial number search) to a company selling cheaper watches. In other words, giving NY Standard a competitive edge in the market place using Elgin's very own high-grade movements, seems like a very bad business practice."

So, a person who doesn't understand what my watch is, evidently doesn't understand the idea of private label or special factory markings, etc., has taken to lecturing me about Elgin and their business practices or lack thereof. Oh well.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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So, this is fun. Here's what I wrote to the inquisitor about my "Standard" Elgin.

"The marking of "Standard" on this Elgin has nothing to do with the New York Standard Watch Co. It has to do with the introduction of rules for railroad employees in the late 1880s for their workers to carry what were called "standard" watches, meaning that they meet the minimum criteria for watches in railroad service. And yes, this Elgin marked "Standard" is indeed made to B. W. Raymond grade specs. And yes, it is a rare high grade piece.

If you are under the mistaken impression that the watch in question is a New York Standard or was made for New York Standard, then you need to do a little more research on old watches. I can't do that research for you.

If you really want to learn about American pocket watches, I would suggest you look into NAWCC.org. There is way more knowledge and info that can be had there than any other site. It is a great site with lots of helpful and very knowledgeable collectors."

I won't post the curt reply I got, but suffice to say that the inquisitor wasn't interested in anything I had to say.
 

Clint Geller

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I believe a metallurgist would describe the processes involved in making "gold filled" and "rolled gold" items respectively, as "roll bonding" of two gold layers onto a brass substrate; and gold "roll reduction," followed by gold-to-brass "pressure bonding." But these descriptions make lousy advertising copy.

Calling what is called a "gold filled" case "gold filled" is a lot like calling a peanut butter sandwich "bread filled peanut butter." The syntax is brass backwards. :) But which description would more likely attract a consumer's interest: "brass case with gold overlayer," or "gold filled case?" Obviously, sellers wanted the word "gold" to come first. Of course, the sellers were mostly full of something else - and it was more like peanut butter than brass.
 
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Jeff Hess

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IS there some book or article out there that supports this statement: (I get this comment at least twice per year)

"Sir, your case says warranted 14k gold. Everyone knows that if it says warranted it is NOT 14k gold"
I guess they are confused with the BII warranted cases ??
 

topspin

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As I recall, a while ago someone suggested that "gold-sandwiched" or better still "gold-laminated" would have been less confusing terms for what we now know as gold fill.

It is difficult to imagine any book or article supporting the idea that "Warranted 14k gold" is anything but what it says on the tin. It seems possible that some manufacturer somewhere did get caught out once upon a time selling a few fake gold items, but to scale that up to a general statement about what the marking means, is "fake news".
 

gmorse

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Ahh, but it's not "fake news" any more, it's "alternative facts" . . .
 

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