Lifetime brand mens pocket watch

tinybubbles

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I have my father or grandfather's pocket watch. It is an open-faced silver with a decorative edge. The brand name is listed as "Lifetime" on the inside face of the watch. I can not find any info on a company by that name. Can anyone suggest where I could look? :confused:
 

Kent

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Hi tinybubbles:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

Your watch sounds like a private label watch. To answer your question directly, it would have to be compared to pictures or drawings of the various movement manufacturers (including the Swiss) to see if it exactly matches one of them. One place to see a lot of pictures or drawings is in the book: Complete Price Guide to Watches, No 27, C. Shugart, T. Engle and R. Gilbert, Tinderbox Press, Mount Pleasant, SC, 2007 (a new edition comes out each year in January. This book is available at libraries, most major bookstores and online at the NAWCC Gift Shop - ask for the latest edition). Despite its title, it isn't really complete, but its a pretty good guide for a beginner.

Or, we can help you identify it if you could post pictures of the movement (the "works") and markings stamped inside of the case (you can ignore any "hand-scratched" characters, they're watch repairers' marks), the clearer and sharper, the better. Other pictures will help a little, but these are the most important. We may be able to identify it by the shape of the plates. In trying to open the watch, you might find the information in "How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" useful.

To post an image, scroll to the top of the thread and click on "FAQ," then scroll down to "vBulletin FAQ" and click on the "How to post images" and follow the instructions. Note that there is no indication of attaching a file (picture) until you go to actually post your thread or your reply. The picture does not show up in the "Instant Reply" text box in which you've written your thread or your reply, nor does the picture appear in the "Preview." You can test your efforts in the Just Practicing and Learning Forum.

Its also helpful if you can post all the markings that are on the movement (the "works") in case they can't be seen in the picture(s).

Good luck,
 

Tom McIntyre

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Perhaps you are describing the Lifetime Series sold by Macy's and made by Illinois. Here are pictures of an example.

This example is a grade 410. They may have made the Lifetime Series in other models and grades as well.
78261.jpg 78262.jpg 78266.jpg 78267.jpg 78268.jpg
 
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Kent

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Nice watch Tom!

I can see why you would have one of these.
 

Kevin W.

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Very nice Tom.The watch looks a bit like a Abe Lincoln, from the front.I like watches with a personal message on them.:)
 

Jerry Treiman

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The Illinois Lifetime watches I have seen have all been grade 410. I have also seen some 23-jewel Swiss movements in similar "Life Time Series" cases. A big difference is that they are marked LaForge & Valentine on the dial and also marked this way on the cuvette. However, they still indicate that the lifetime guarantee was honored by R.H. Macy & Co., Inc.

Tom -- it seems curious to me the initials on the back of your watch do not match the name on the cuvette. :confused:
 

Tom McIntyre

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Good question on the inscriptions, Jerry. I don't see how the case could reasonably be a marriage, so the next best guess would be the second, outer monogram was applied as part of an inheritance. The monogram shield looks original, but it could have been applied later by a good jeweler.
 

tinybubbles

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Dec 9, 2010
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Tom McIntyre;513114 said:
Perhaps you are describing the Lifetime Series sold by Macy's and made by Illinois. Here are pictures of an example.

This example is a grade 410. They may have made the Lifetime Series in other models and grades as well.
Thank you Tom! His watch looks very similar to picture #4. I don't know much about pocket watches so I don't know what the grade 410 means. I'm not sure if this was my father's or grandfather's watch. It was engraved with initials on back, but both had the same.
Thank you to all that replied to my post.
 

Tom McIntyre

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tinybubbles, if you can open the back cover and look at the inner cover that hides the movement, it should have the name spelled out as in the example I showed above. You ought to be able to open the cover with your thumbnail.

Grade 410 was a high grade 12 size watch made by the Illinois Watch Co. in Springfield, IL. It was either the best or close to the best watch they made during its production period.
 

tinybubbles

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:)Thank you Tom! Picture #4 is very close. My father or grandfather's watch is silver with same trim. Center striping is same as is Lifetime in center. Top clip is a little different. The back case is engraved with initials they both shared same. I really have no clue as to what a 410 grade means. I'm not sure how old watch is, but I will now start checking for the Illinois company/Macy's and see what I can find. Maybe I can figure out if it first belonged to my grandfather.

Thanks to all who replied to my message also!
 

tinybubbles

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Dec 9, 2010
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Sorry Tom, it appears I sent two messages. I wasn't sure how to send the first one and if it went through. The case appears to have a hinge at 6 and a thumbnail between 10 and 11. I tried to follow directions from above post, but am not able to open it. I do not want to damage it, so I will take it to a jeweler to open.
Tim O'Connor
 

Kent

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Hi Tim:

For a start, there is the Illinois Watch Company Encyclopedia article.

You might find the information in "How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" useful. Look at the section on Hinge Back & Bezel cases.

You may also find the following Encyclopedia articles useful:
Watch Grades
Watch Models

If you can confirm that the watch movement looks just like the one that Tom pictured and tell us the serial number that is on the movement, we ought to be able to give a close approximation of when it was built. Telling us the rest of the markings will be useful as well.
 
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Tom McIntyre

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This is a very old thread, but I think it is the only LaForge and Valentine image for the Lifetime guarantee from R. H. Macy.

I was looking at my Hallmark and Lifetime watches from Illinois and found Ethan Lipsig 's post here.

This revival of interest started with the 23J Illini watches that we have been discussing recently (August 2022 :))
 
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