left a Columbus King by my grandfather

brl0301

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I was left a Columbus King by my grandfather when he passed in 2013. It originally belonged to his father and is engraved with his initials. It is a 25 jewel serial 503163. Face is marked Columbus King 25 jewel with roman numerals and movement is marked Railway King. I could take and upload some photos if there is any interest.
 

musicguy

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Hi and welcome to the NAWCC forum

Please post some pictures of your family
watch would love to see it.

Rob
 

luvsthetick

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Watch people love seeing new examples of great watches that are just getting viewed for the first time publicly.

I look forward to your pictures and thanks for showing your family heirloom.
 

rrwatch

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Standing right behind Marty, I'd love to see the inside of the case back, movement and dial.
Some of these "Railway King" movements sported "Columbus King " dials due to a lawsuit with the Hampden Watch Co. over their use of the word Railway on Columbus watches. Columbus lost, and had to stop using Railway King as their supplies of old stock ran out. Only 200 of these 25 jewel movements were made.
 

musicguy

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A real beauty!


Rob
 

brl0301

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From the research I have done, it looks like this watch was made between 1898-1900. Is that correct? Also, does anyone know how pocket watches like this were sold at the time? Were they sold from a retail location that would place the movement in the case and do any engraving on the case at that time? Just trying to get a better understanding of where this piece of history came from. Thanks!

Bryce
 

Downing

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Per the Pocket Watch Database:

Screen Shot 2020-12-14 at 4.56.44 AM.png

My understanding of the watch retail business at that time is that generally you would go to a retailer and pick out a movement, then a case for fitting and engraving or have it engraved later.

That's a really nice watch made all the better by belonging to your great-grandfather. Document its history as best you can so you can provide that information when you pass it down to your son or daughter.
 
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yellow_sub

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WOW that's an amazingly beautiful watch! Do you know much about your great-grandfather? like his profession or anything like that? That watch could not have been cheap back then.
 

brl0301

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Per the Pocket Watch Database:

View attachment 627225

My understanding of the watch retail business at that time is that generally you would go to a retailer and pick out a movement, then a case for fitting and engraving or have it engraved later.

That's a really nice watch made all the better by belonging to your great-grandfather. Document its history as best you can so you can provide that information when you pass it down to your son or daughter.
thanks for the info! I definitely need to start documenting its history while the family members who know anything about it are still around. My grandfather lived on the other side of the country and I didn't get to spend a ton of time with him after I was old enough to actually appreciate it.
 

brl0301

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WOW that's an amazingly beautiful watch! Do you know much about your great-grandfather? like his profession or anything like that? That watch could not have been cheap back then.
I know that my great-grandfather was a farmer in rural Michigan with his brothers and sisters. Not sure what they farmed or at what point in his life he was in a position to buy such a nice watch. If I remember correctly, he emigrated here from Sweden.
 

John Cote

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What a fantastic watch. As a long, longtime collector, I can tell you, as could a lot of the regulars on this forum, that 99% of family heirloom pocket watches are either run of the mill or worse. Yours is a blazing star of an heirloom. I am so glad that you like it and want future generations of your family to know about it and treasure it as much as you do. You have gotten great information here so I don't have much to add to that except to say, congratulations and hope that it stays in the family for more generations. Your great grandpa had fantastic taste.
 

George Frick

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I was left a Columbus King by my grandfather when he passed in 2013. It originally belonged to his father and is engraved with his initials. It is a 25 jewel serial 503163. Face is marked Columbus King 25 jewel with roman numerals and movement is marked Railway King. I could take and upload some photos if there is any interest.
There are some very interesting threads on this site that cover Columbus Kings if you are interested. Pictures, data, etc. They can give you a better appreciation for the jewel you have.
Hopefully others can give you tips on searching. Since the upgrade about the only thing I look at is American Pocket Watches
 

Joe Blossic

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Bryce, an outstanding example even more meaningful with the family ties!

If you would like to know more about it, there is a Bulletin, June 2003, The Railroader's Corner, written by Greg Frauenhoff and John Dimar, in collaboration with E. Ueberall and K. Singer. Volume 45, Issue 344, Page 360. It has a great amount of details of these high grade 5xx,xxx models, including quantity made, correct dials and hands, history of the company at that time, and more.

Members can access it. At the top of page navigation ribbon, go to Publications - Watch & Clock Bulletins. At the bottom of that page you can search past issues. Next page click on the decade 2000's. Next page scroll down to find June 2003.
If you are logged in, this link may work --> Log In

Again, congrats and thanks for sharing it with us! Joe
 

Schatznut

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I'm into clocks and don't spend much time in the watch threads, but this one caught my eye for some reason. Boy, am I glad I opened it - I know next to nothing about watches but I know exquisite beauty when I see it. As everyone else has said, wow!
 

thesnark17

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Something I've wondered for a while on the 25 jewel models: where are the last two jewels? I can see 23 on this Columbus. Does it have an internally jeweled barrel as well?
 

Downing

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Bump.

I'm hoping someone can answer Snark's question.
 

rrwatch

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Something I've wondered for a while on the 25 jewel models: where are the last two jewels? I can see 23 on this Columbus. Does it have an internally jeweled barrel as well?
Yes, there are a total of four mainspring jewels on the 25 jewel Columbus movements.
They are:
1. Top barrel bridge, comes into play when wound, acts against the upper barrel arbor.
2. Bottom plate, comes into play when wound, acts against the lower barrel arbor.
3. Barrel cover, comes into play when running, acts against the barrel arbor and the barrel cover.
4. Barrel, comes into play when running, acts against the barrel arbor and the barrel.

The system uses a going barrel with an internally jeweled barrel (jewels 3 and 4). Jewels 1 and 2 are cosmetic only.
 

thesnark17

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So it *does* have an internally jeweled barrel! Truly fascinating! But apparently only on the very top of the top-of-the-line movements. I wonder if they had to pay a patent-holder for the use of the internally jeweled barrel, and that's why there are so few 25 jewel watches?

The thought processes of these companies elude me, and it bothers me. Adding [relatively] useless jewels when you could be adding [relatively more] useful ones, then charging a very high premium for the result? It feels so cynical, but maybe I'm missing something. I believe the following companies did something along these lines on some watches: Columbus, Seth Thomas, Rockford, Hampden. All had a 23 jewel 18s watch with non-functional jeweled barrel arbor; some had higher-jeweled offerings that presumably have more useful jewels. Hamilton had a jeweled barrel arbor on the 944 and 946; maybe theirs is more effective - I don't know.

Is the Columbus barrel jeweling similar to a Waltham jeweled safety barrel, or is it a different design?
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff