• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Knowing if a case is original to the watch

Lee Passarella

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Jul 8, 2015
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This is a dumb question, I know. But I always read that you can tell if the case is original to the watch if you see extra screw marks. I'm not sure what this means or what it looks like. Could somebody please explain or, preferably, explain and illustrate? Thanks.
 

Rodney Leon

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But I always read that you can tell if the case is original to the watch if you see extra screw marks. I'm not sure what this means or what it looks like. Could somebody please explain or, preferably, explain and illustrate? Thanks.
Here are 2 cases I marked the extra screw marks on the back so you can see this was not the original case for the watch.

case marks.jpg case.jpg
 

musicguy

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So Lee just to complicate it a little more...............

Without knowing the history of the watch (from new) it's impossible to
know just from the screw marks. These watches have been through many collectors hands
and many repair persons hands and cases do wear out and were replaced by the owner.

Most of the movements I've paired with cases have gone into cases
that previously had held the exact same company grade. This creates a complete watch
without any extra case screw marks. So in the end it is almost impossible
to know if it's "original". That being said I have some fantastic watches that
do have extra screw marks and it's totally fine with me. It's part of the history of the watch.
One of my watchmakers even marked a replacement case with a service mark
so I would never change that replaced case.

My only personal concern is with factory cased watches and also that
the case is from the same time period that the movement is from.

Rob
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Rob beat me to the punch while I was writing this response:

Extra screw marks almost certainly show that another movement was once installed in the case, but they do not prove that movement now in the case was once in another case. I doubt it was very common, but I am sure that new movements sometimes were installed in used cases.

The absence of extra screw marks does not prove the case never housed another watch. Some collectors remove those marks when feasible (I never would) or try to find a used case that once held a movement of the same design because the case screws of the newly installed watch will cover the old screw marks.

Even if the case was brand new when the present movement was installed, it isn't necessarily the first case that movement ever had.

In short, it normally is impossible to prove that a movement and case were always paired up absent paperwork, such as the box label, showing both the movement's and case's serial numbers or the movement and the case having the same serial number (which often is the case on solid gold Swiss watches).
 

topspin

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Short version -

Screw marks show that other movements have been in the case.
Absence of screw marks does not prove that the movement was new nor that the case was new when they were paired, but does make it more likely.

Similarly -
Movement & case from different eras = probable recase.
Movement & case & dial all pinned down to a similar time and location does not prove they have always been together, but does make it more likely.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Short version -

Screw marks show that other movements have been in the case.
Absence of screw marks does not prove that the movement was new nor that the case was new when they were paired, but does make it more likely.

Similarly -
Movement & case from different eras = probable recase.
Movement & case & dial all pinned down to a similar time and location does not prove they have always been together, but does make it more likely.
As noted above by several, there's no way to tell for sure without paper work. Topspin gives a good concise version of what to consider.

I would add that if the mvt looks a bit worn (dull finish, etc.) or scratched from having been cleaned a good number of times or stored loose but the case is excellent or better, then a recase is very likely. Also, watches from non-collector or non-watchmaker sources, that have the usual "originality" characteristics noted by Topspin, are less likely to be recases (in my opinion). Of course, once such a watch gets into the hands of a collector this helpful aid disappears.
 

GeneJockey

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Without paperwork, you're left with screw marks and knowledge - was that kind of case available with that type of movement? After the watch companies started mostly selling cased watches, it's a bit easier to know. And even then, without paperwork, you can only know whether the case is authentic, not original.
 
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Clint Geller

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Strictly speaking one can only disprove case originaly, never prove it. That said, some American watch movements and cases, especially early Howard keywinds and some later prestige watches, can be found with matching movement and case serial numbers. Matching case and movement serial numbers are more common on English watches. Even more rarely, you can find a watch that still has its original sales paperwork that mentions both movement and case serial numbers. Sometimes you can find a watch with matching private label markings on movement dial and case, or matching personalizations on case and watch dial, which also offer some reasonable assurance that the movement is likely original to its case. However, absent one of these special circumstances, the most one can say about an American watch is that the movement is completely appropriate, or "correct" for its current case.

Correctness is assessed based on the case's authenticity being consistent with:

- all functional attributes of the watch (i.e., plate diameters, thickness, and winding and setting arrangements [key holes, if any, in the cuvette; lever slot, if any, underneath the bezel; lack of interior thread on the pendant [on Howard stemwinds], detent screws in the movement (on Howards and Waltham Model 1888's)] )

- all historical attributes of the watch (case style, composition, construction, makers' and/or retailers' marks, decorations and other engraving, especially date marks on foreign watchcases, or dated personalizing inscriptions; movement make, model, grade, serial number or other period-specific details), and

- all evidence of prior use (case screw marks, filled or misaligned holes in the dust cover, locating pin holes, milled plates or dials, etcetera).
 
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