"Lever"age? Why so few choices of large high grade pendant set "Gent's watches?

KipW

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Lately, I've had a jones for high-grade "Gents" watches...as in 'railroad grade' quality and finish or better . However, only in RR sizes...16 or 18...(no 12 or smaller), preferably 'thin' and absolutely, definitely PENDANT SET! Not as easy to manage as I thought it would be.

One of the prime candidates (IMO) and my first choice, would be a Getty model Illinois. Are there any stem set grades/variations? I'm not seeing any on "that auction site" and frankly not sure they exist in high grade versions. (IE:Sangamo)

Waltham Crescent Street or Vanguard grades would be dandy, but again not nearly as many pendant set as lever set are readily available...Drat!

Same with Elgin and others. It also seems like ultimately, the only 18s that might be considered "thin" would be a Model 8 Elgin? Most 18-size cases don't seem to go along with any notion of thin. So... am I stuck with 16s, which is only a comparatively thin watch.

The "flip side" (if there is one) would seem to be finding a 10 or 12-size that actually measures more like a skinny 16. (Hamilton's 945 comes to mind.)

I find this perplexing.

Did demand for RR watches with fiddley lever setting, reduce demand (and production) of stem set gentleman's versions that much? Did stem setting and thin, wind up (pun not intended) dominating only in the 12-size domain?

Suggestions? Alternatives? Guidance? Help? THANKS!
 

Kevin Neathery

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Look for a pendant set 992 or 950 would be my suggestion if you want a high grade 16s with RR specs. There are some other Hamilton's like a 952 or 960 that could be had as a pendant set too.

Could look for a Jones model IWC as well. But they are not as slim.
 

Fred Hansen

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Looking at 16 size watches with 21 or 23 jewels ...

With Waltham you have a great option with the Riverside Maximus which had the vast majority of its production as pendant-set. The bridge model "American Watch Co." grade is an even better watch yet, but will be more costly.

Among Elgin you have a great option in the Grade 156 or 162, both pendant-set 21 jewel movements of top quality and finish and in my opinion these are a good value in today's market. For a bit more costly option there is the Lord Elgin Grade 351 of which the high majority were pendant-set.

For Hamilton you can aim for Grades 970 and 971, or the pendant-set versions of the Grades 950, 952, 960, 961, 992, 993, and 994.

For Rockford there are some pendant-set examples of the Grade 545. Also the "Pocahontas" is a great looking pendant-set watch.

Illinois will be limited to Model 6 and 7 movements in the numbered grades. Nearly all of these will be upper-mid quality watches without quite the same finish as the contemporary railroad grades. The only very top quality grade in these models was the 310 which was as high grade as anything Illinois ever made, but is extremely rare and have always been very expensive on the rare occasions they show up.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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I think there are more candidates than you believe. Here are the high-grade pendant set 16-size examples in my Elgin and Hamilton collections:

Elgin Grade 155 in 14k Hayden Wheeler Hunter Case
x.JPG IMG_2382.JPG IMG_2381.JPG


Elgin Grade 156 in 14k W.W.Co. Hunter Case
IMG_0663_edited.JPG 345.jpg 123.jpg

Elgin Grade 162 in 14k Roy OF Case
IMG_4526.JPG IMG_4530.JPG IMG_0913_edited.JPG

Elgin Grade 243 in 14k DuBois Watch Case Co. Hunter Case
IMG_1677.JPG IMG_1676.JPG IMG_1684.JPG

Hamilton 950P in 14k Hamilton 14k OF Case
IMG_8323_edited.JPG IMG_8324_edited.JPG IMG_7997_edited.JPG


My Waltham collections include a number of high grade pendant set models, all in solid gold cases: American Watch Co. grade Model 1888 and Bridge Model (OF and hunter), the Am'n Watch Co. Model 1888 (OF and hunter), Riverside Maximus Model 1888 (OF and hunter), Riverside Model 1899, Riverside Maximus Model 1899, and of course the Premier Maximus, here in 18k.

IMG_4794.JPG IMG_4796.JPG IMG_4795.JPG IMG_4805.JPG

I am sure there are other high-grade US-made 16-size pendant-set watches. Because my collecting focuses on smaller watches and because US watches comprise only 1/3d of my collection, I am not an expert on 16-size pendant-set US watches. I am much more knowledgeable about 10-13-size watches. I don't recall any of mine being a "skinny 16-size", but most of them are as at least as high-grade as any railroad watch and all or nearly all of them are pendant set.
 

Fred Hansen

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I forgot to include Hamilton's 21 jewel pendant-set Hayden W. Wheeler which is another watch that I think is a terrific value in today's market given its rarity and unusual appearance.
 

musicguy

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Ethan and Fred gave you some great choices, I guess it will come down to what you are willing to spend.



Rob
 

KipW

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Not to beat the horse, but when lever set stuff seems to run about 20-1 to pendant set, the problem isn't so much what to look for as how to find it. Fleabay seems barren and there aren't any local/regional touch-it-feel-it events going on in these times.

As much as I appreciate the suggestions, (especially Fred's and Kevin's) another issue is the price tags on "one-star" and scarcer watches.

Yes....what I am "willing to spend"... and what I can FIND!

PS - Ethan - your watches are DD GORGEOUS! (Like you never heard that before.)
 
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DeweyC

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Did demand for RR watches with fiddley lever setting, reduce demand (and production) of stem set gentleman's versions that much? Did stem setting and thin, wind up (pun not intended) dominating only in the 12-size domain?
Kip,

It could be that pendant setting was superfluous in a RRG watches reported to have kept rates as good as a chronometer (1865 Elgin BWR for example).

Plus, the extra parts and assembly time added to the cost.
 

musicguy

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Did demand for RR watches with fiddley lever setting, reduce demand
It's interesting because I find the lever set watches easier to set than pulling
out the crown on a watch(sometimes). I have quite a few pendant set and some are very hard
to pull the crown on.


Rob
 
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KipW

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Dewey, you might be right since the marketing of RR grade watches swamped the marketing of any other. Meantime...perhaps the Swiss were picking up slack in the Gent's market...pendant set high grade stuff.

All I know is (price aside) at this point it appears to be harder to find an American watch (that fits the criteria) than one like this:

s-l1600 (1).jpg s-l1600 (2).jpg s-l1600 (3)-.jpg s-l1600 (4).jpg s-l1600.jpg
 

KipW

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Dewey - yes! Bring that list to bear! Thanks!

Music Guy - it's not the lever per se - it's the opening the case all the time, open face especially. I have a waltham 645 with a hinged front bezel that's not too bad. (Should have been standard on "standard" watches IMO!) Even a pin set is more convenient.
 

DeweyC

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Big smile. Kip, surely you are not complaining about being reduced to owning that watch!

But as for Hamilton 16s pendant set, I know from other conversations that you know these were short lived except for the 975 and a few RRGs like the 950 and 993.

Robert gave the reports. Before about 1907 (based on my database) Hamilton 16s pendants were based on the Waltham stem. Waltham only produced cases for these for a very short time. This is independnet of the 17s "problem".

These movments are not all that hard to find on ebay. I think the most I paid was for a 961 movement and dial and it was around $400.

I think a 970 just went for around $250 (with the winding bar) recently and I am pretty sure that something like a 960 went for around $350.

I consider those a decent buying price for limited production watches. Of course, you still have to replace the case. But to me, in the end the case is to protect the movement. I do buy good cases when I can; but it is more important to me that the case be contemporary than in "unused" condition.
 
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Kevin Neathery

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While the lower production numbers for pendant set 950 would seem to translate to a higher cost, it is actually the inverse for the 950. The pendant set ones regularly sell for a couple hundred less than a lever one. Mostly because, from my understanding, it is not a RR watch to most collectors.

I also agree that the HWW Hamilton watches are rather underappreciated. They were excellent quality and can be had for less than a 950 while still being scarce.
 
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DeweyC

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Dewey,

Just happened to have that list.

Robert

View attachment 590571
Thanks Robert. You are a goto archivist. I thought what Kip wanted in an earlier thread was a percentage watches produced in various qualities.

I had actually started doing those tabulations using adjusted vs unadjusted last year based on the NAWCC Catalog of Hamilton Watches; but my work was interrupted and I forgot about it until Kip's query reminded me.

I used that list a couple of ways and probably should be sure you get the data for your records.
 

Jerry Treiman

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I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned Howard (Keystone). I believe almost all of their railroad grade watches were available as pendant set models. Wouldn't a nice 23-jewel Series O fit nicely in your pocket?
 

Paul Sullivan

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This applies to HAMILTONS only and leaves out ALL 18s Hamiltons which are all lever set (well at least I think they are).

I got these numbers by sifting through the NAWCC 18s and 16s serial Hamilton serial numbers grade lists. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe ALL 18s Hami's are LEVER set so they have been omitted. I have also omitted all 12s Hamiltons and smaller (almost all P/S). BTW are there any 12s L/S Hamiltons?

This is what found from Hamilton.

16s L/S 352,819 Total

16s P/S 402054 Total

I imagine the 16s 974 and 956 pendant sets pushed them over the lever sets.

Paul
 

Kevin Neathery

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This applies to HAMILTONS only and leaves out ALL 18s Hamiltons which are all lever set (well at least I think they are).

I got these numbers by sifting through the NAWCC 18s and 16s serial Hamilton serial numbers grade lists. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe ALL 18s Hami's are LEVER set so they have been omitted. I have also omitted all 12s Hamiltons and smaller (almost all P/S). BTW are there any 12s L/S Hamiltons?

This is what found from Hamilton.

16s L/S 352,819 Total

16s P/S 402054 Total

I imagine the 16s 974 and 956 pendant sets pushed them over the lever sets.

Paul
In my limited knowledge there were no production 10/12 size Hamilton pocket watches. The 974 and 956 very much pushed the pendant numbers. But so did the fact that Hamilton started the 16s as only pendant set.
 
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KipW

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Jerry - you're right! Howard is a good call...preferably the jeweled barrel variety.

Paul - surprising numbers! But...(as with Howard) the issue isn't so much about the existence of these watches as it is..."WHERE ARE THEY NOW"? "Readily available" just doesn't seem to be the case these days.
(That said, I did notice "that auction site" has a few pendant set Hamilton 950's listed.)
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Waltham Crescent Street or Vanguard grades would be dandy, but again not nearly as many pendant set as lever set are readily available...Drat!
With Waltham you have a great option with the Riverside Maximus which had the vast majority of its production as pendant-set. The bridge model "American Watch Co." grade is an even better watch yet, but will be more costly.
Waltham (of course) are among my favorites, and Kip and Fred have mentioned the top of the line, but don't neglect the Riverside (17j or 19j). These were mostly pendant set and were adjusted to 5 positions. [It seems that an awful lot of Riverside Maximus movements have also been showing up on Ebay, having recently been relieved of their gold cases].

10505440m1.jpg 15082654_m.jpg
 

DeweyC

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[It seems that an awful lot of Riverside Maximus movements have also been showing up on Ebay, having recently been relieved of their gold cases].
Jerry,

That has been my thoughts on the early Hamilton PS as well. I bought a "nice" Hamilton movement last year and at the close of the sale asked the guy if he still had the case. Told me it was already melted. So it goes.

I wonder why they do not try putting the intact cases on Ebay at melt plus 10%?
 

musicguy

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I wonder why they do not try putting the intact cases on Ebay at melt plus 10%?
For most sellers Ebay(and many other auction houses) charge a 10% Final Value fee and that does not include PayPal fees.
When something is scrapped they get Cash in hand. At one time mining gold from a stream
with a pan was the way of the gold rush now they mine estates, eBay and many other places
and could care less what the gold object is, they are mining gold. Gold is a commodity.
In January 2016 gold was(plus or minus) $1,140.00 an oz. now it's 1,763.00 an oz. that's a 54% increase.
If you are a solid gold case collector and you are looking to buy your prices have gone up. It seems not to effect the gold fill cases too much.
On the other hand gold can drop back down to it's former price when the market stabilizes
and someone could loose up to 54% of the value of their gold case.
For all the people who bought solid gold cases many years ago they have seen a big increase in the
value of their watches. Personally I'm a movement collector and their prices don't
increase or decrease in value 50% in 2 years(but that's just me).



Rob
 
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DeweyC

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For most sellers Ebay(and many other auction houses) charge a 10% Final Value fee and that does not include PayPal fees.
When something is scrapped they get Cash in hand. At one time mining gold from a stream
with a pan was the way of the gold rush now they mine estates, eBay and many other places
and could care less what the gold object is, they are mining gold. Gold is a commodity.
In January 2016 gold was(plus or minus) $1,140.00 an oz. now it's 1,763.00 an oz. that's a 54% increase.
If you are a solid gold case collector and you are looking to buy your prices have gone up. It seems not to effect the gold fill cases too much.
On the other hand gold can drop back down to it's former price when the market stabilizes
and someone could loose up to 54% of the value of their gold case.
For all the people who bought solid gold cases many years ago they have seen a big increase in the
value of their watches. Personally I'm a movement collector and their prices don't
increase or decrease in value 50% in 2 years(but that's just me).



Rob
Rob, The same equations apply to movements, At melt plus 10 as a starting bid to experiment with the market seems a viable trial to me. And gold coin dealers seem to have no problems on eBay.

Speaking of coins, I bought 20 Candian Maple Leafs for $190 in 2001 and sold them when gold reached $1200 the first time. Put the money into my stock account and never regretted it. Today I just hold GLD (again a nice runup). I can't eat gold.
 

Maximus Man

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Like others it amazes me how many cases are being melted and how many great movements are currently on eBay. seems in the last month or two the bids for these high grade movements keep going up. At the same time gold is fairly steady. I guess my question then is why are complete watches priced at the combination of values not selling except to scrappers? It is kind of a mixed service they provide along reducing supply of great complete watches, helping movement collectors and parts guys, and driving up prices on killer watches.

Not to get away from the previous topic, don't forget the tough ones in PS to find: Edward Howard, Hamilton 951, Lord Elgin, etc...

I have the opposite issue- finding high grade PS movements for great orphaned non-lever-slot cases.
 

Jim M.

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Looking at 16 size watches with 21 or 23 jewels ...
With Waltham you have a great option with the Riverside Maximus which had the vast majority of its production as pendant-set.
Greetings Kip,
This may fit your search requirements for a good quality gentleman’s 16S, pendant set, thin, open faced watch. I acquired this reasonably priced 1899 Riverside Maximus having a seemingly original Fahy’s ‘Permanently’ gold filled case ~15 years ago. The unique script dial is mint and the watch is in good overall condition. As mentioned by Fred and others, these 1899 RM’s seem to be frequently available now.
Best regards,
Jim M


s-l1600.jpg s-l1600-5.jpg s-l1600-1.jpg s-l1600-2.jpg s-l1600-3.jpg
 
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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff