Need help - Audemars Freres pocket watch

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Beres, Aug 23, 2012.

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  1. Beres

    Beres New Member

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Hello, dear watch and clock collectors,
    I inherited a pocket watch Audemar Freres from my beloved grandfather. I am not planning to sell it, but it would be interesting to find out what could be the age of the clock and how much is it worth. I don't know much about all this stuff! Anyway, any information would be useful for me. The information that I found on the watch:
    56
    0,585
    14K
    and the number below is 190286.

    The watch still works perfectly, by the way.
    Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. P8230223.jpg P8230224.jpg P8230198.jpg P8230100.jpg P8230175.jpg P8230217.jpg

    Thank you!
     
  2. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Welcome to the board, Beres :)

    I would date your watch to the last quarter of the 19th century.

    The three marks "56", ".585" and "14K" all mean the same thing - the case is 14 karat solid gold, and the gold will be the most valuable feature of the watch although Audemars Freres were a good middle-of-the-road watchmaker whose watches are collected. We cannot discuss actual values in this forum, but at the foot of the main index page on this site you will see a forum called "How much is this watch worth" and you can ask about value there in return for a modest fee.
     
  3. Beres

    Beres New Member

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Thank you, MartyR, for all this information, I appreciate your help!
     
  4. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Audemars Freres was one of three successor companies set up after the bankruptcy and liquidation of the original Louis Audemars company in 1885.

    This company was founded by Hector and Charles-Henri Audemars (junior), the sons of Charles-Henri Audemars (who perfected the perpetual calendar mechanism), the youngest son of the original founder, Louis-Benjamin Audemars.

    Audemars Freres lasted from shortly after the 1885 bankruptcy until - very roughly - around 1900 so that 15-year window is when your watch was made. The watches are quite sought-after.

    The three "successor" companies are thought (in the case of two of them actually known) to have profited by acquiring movements and complications from the original company during its decline, before setting up their own enterprises.

    However from the serial number you have given I would say that is probably not a movement from the original Ls Audemars company, but an entire product of Audemars Freres.

    Lucky old you.

    Paul
     
  5. Beres

    Beres New Member

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Thank you so much for being so helpful, I am glad to know all these interesting facts!
     
  6. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Beres, I know that collectors like to see other watches that are the same as their own, so I think you might like to see these two :)

    The first is in a gun-metal black case and the second in a more traditional silver case. They both date to the same period as yours. Incidentally, I have never been sure about that display of medals on the cuvettes - they look credible, but they don't show the name or date of the Exhibitions at which they were allegedly won. If these were on any other watches than Audemars Freres I would automatically assume that they were bogus .... but you never know :D The one on the bottom right is interesting - it says it was awarded by the Emperor of Austria and has the word "ganerkennung" in the centre which I believe is equivalent to the English "by appointment to".

    Maybe Paul can give us some information on these?

    90174 1 Audemars Freres.jpg 90174 3 Audemars Freres.jpg 90174 4 Audemars Freres.jpg

    90251 1 Audemars Freres.jpg 90251 3 Audemars Freres.jpg 90251 4 Audemars Freres.jpg
     
  7. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    I translated parts of my great-grandfather's (Louis Audemars-Valette's) writings in the early noughties when I worked on the text of Herr Zantke's book . Then I dropped it - but a year or so ago I started again and I have nearly finished.

    Louis A-V gives a list of the awards won by the original Ls Audemars company and I reproduce it below.

    All three "successor" companies (including Audemars Freres) put images of those awards on the backs of their watches.
    I don't know if any of the three businesses gained any additional awards, but I rather think not. (Louis Audemars-Valette got an "enamel medal" at Yverdon in 1894 but I don't think that counts...........)

    There is no archive material for any of them as far as I know apart from L A-V's account.

    His list is:

    1 Medal 1st Class London 1851
    2 Bronze Medal New York 1853
    3 1st Class Medal of Honour of the Académie de France 1856
    4 1st Class Medal of Honour of the Académie de France 1863
    5 1st Class Medal Paris 1855
    6 1st Class Medal of Honour London 1862
    7 Medal of Progress Vienna 1873
    8 Allerhoechste Anerkennung - Highest Distinction of HM the Emperor of Austria following the Vienna Exhibition of 1873
    9 Medal of Progress Philadelphia 1876
    10 Gold Medal Paris 1878
    11 Cross of the Légion d’Honneur Paris 1878
    12 Medal of Honour Sydney 1879
    13 Watchmaker by Appointment to HRH the Grand Duke Heir Presumptive of Russia.
    14 Watchmaker by Appointment to HM the Emperor of Russia.

    "Anerkennung" means "recognition" - (subject to correction by our German readers !!).

    All the awards and certificates were brought to London by my Grandfather when he set up the fourth (and last) successor company sometime in the early 20th Century - Louis Audemars & Co Ltd at 66 Hatton Garden.

    That building was fire-bombed during the 1940s blitz.
    The awards were melted to clinker, and the certificates reduced to ashes.
    The last few complicated movements left from the original Audemars company resembled over-roasted chestnuts, but my Father kept them anyway.
    My Mother threw them away when he died.

    Ho hum

    P
     
  8. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Further to the last post:

    I note that all the watches in this thread show clearly that the medals depicted were "....obtenues par l' Ancienne Maison Ls Audemars, fondee en 1811" so they certainly weren't trying to mis-represent them as their own.

    Here's one of my Grandfather's letterheads.

    P L A & Co Invoice Heading.jpg
     
  9. PerryN

    PerryN Registered User

    Oct 1, 2012
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    I too have a pocket watch I inherited from my grandfather. I know nothing about it except that I can't find a likeness of it anywhere. It runs perfectly and the glass doesn't have a scratch on it, however clearly it was used based on the wear on the back. Inside on the back cover are two numbers that appear to be inscribed by hand - the number 375 with the letter "A" below it and across from it the numbers 6683 with ? at the end. Perhaps someone on this forum can possibly date it or tell me more about this watch?


    Audemars 375_1.jpg Audemars 375_2.jpg Audemars 375_3.jpg Audemars 375_4.jpg Audemars 375_5.jpg Audemars 375_6.jpg Audemars 375_7.jpg Audemars 375_8.jpg
     
  10. Squite

    Squite Registered User

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    Hand inscriptions are usually watchmaker's service marks and are generally considered useless for identification purposes. Sorry :(
    All I can tell you about your watch is that it's case is seems to be incomplete - it's missing its front cover. That, and it appears that you have a repeater mechanism, which should chime. If it chimes to the nearest quarter-hour when activated its called a quarter-hour repeater, if it goes to the nearest minute, it's a minute repeater, which is even more sought after. There is a 5 minute variant as well. Also, the escapement on that repeater watch looks unusual to me...
     
  11. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Welcome to the board, Perry :)

    I don't think the case is incomplete, I think it's a simple recase as a sidewinder (a hunter movement in an open face case). This watch would almost certainly have been cased originally in a solid 14K gold case.

    In addition to being a repeater it is a chronograph but is missing its centre seconds hand.

    I can't see the escapement in your photo, but then I can't even see a balance wheel !!!!

    Perry, I think what you have was once a fine watch but has fallen on bad times :( Can you post a really sharp and high density of the movement (your 7th photo) so that we can enlarge it and scan it closely?

    It will also help if you can tell us if the repeater mechanism is working - press in the button in the rim at the 6o'clock position and release and you should see the 4-spoke wheel at the 9 o'clock position rotate and the hammers at the 12o'clock should strike the circular gong around the movement.

    Also you have a slide in the rim at the 2o'clock position which should operate the chronograph. When you move this sideways, you should see some of the levers in the movement operate.
     
  12. Squite

    Squite Registered User

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    #12 Squite, Oct 3, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
    Sorry. I thought I saw a hinge on the bottom...Well, for the front, I mean :) Marty's probably right in saying that it's likely been recased.
     
  13. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Perry,

    As regards the date - please see earlier in this thread - Audemars Freres was founded after the 1885 bankruptcy of the original Ls Audemars company and lasted until around 1900 - precise date not known - well not to me anyway (and if anyone out there does know, PLEEEEASE would they tell me :???:) so your watch was made in that window of around 15 years.

    As someone else has said it would most certainly have been in a gold case so what you have is a re-case probably dating to sometime between 1900 and WW1, when a whole lot of gold stuff got melted down.

    There is a very faint chance the movement of your watch was made by the original Ls Audemars company, and an even fainter chance that number might figure in my archives - so if you can come up with a movement serial number (which will NOT be hand-scratched, but properly punched in) it just might be very interesting.
    If not obvious from the visible parts of the movement, the number might be on the side under the dial - but getting at it is a specialist job.

    Paul
     
  14. PerryN

    PerryN Registered User

    Oct 1, 2012
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    Thanks guys for all the info.
    The quarter hour repeater works great.
    I've searched for some kind of stamp on the movements but I can't see anything. What kind of value might knowing the serial number be?
    The slide at the two o'clock is a button release that only opens the back of the case and creates no movement.

    Audemars 375_9.jpg

    Perry
     
  15. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Hmmm .... I was hoping it operated the chronograph, but that was maybe too much to hope for given the recase.

    The new photo is good - now I can see the blur of the moving balance wheel :thumb:

    It might help to show you an Audemars Freres repeater/chronograph (which I sold) which shows where the chronograph button should be, and what the centre seconds hand looks like. I think there are minor differences in the movements between the two ... but only minor ones, I think. By the way mine was indeed cased in 14K solid gold.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. PerryN

    PerryN Registered User

    Oct 1, 2012
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    Interesting. Your picture is indeed more similar than the other pictures here on this thread. You may be right about the second hand.

    You can't see it in my photo, but the lever to adjust the speed of the watch sits on a dial that is in english "Fast" and "Slow" as well as the french word "Retard" below the "slow". I can't make out what is written above "fast". It seems odd that a movement, possibly made before the turn of the century, would have english as the primary language on that part. Would this have been done back then?

    Also, what do you suppose was is missing to the right of the balance wheel? There is a pin sticking up and the impression of something circular having been there.

    Perry
     
  17. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Perry,

    Knowing the serial number wouln't necessarily add to the value and in any case as you already know this site doesn't do values.

    But the movement serial number might help a bit in dating your watch and if it did turn out that the movement was made by the original Ls Audemars company it would make the watch that bit more interesting to all sorts of people.

    It would certianly interest me.
    While we know from the records that two of the three "successor" businesses used movements from the failing company, we have no sign of the founders of Audemars Freres doing so.
    It seems to me highly unlikely that they didn't, so if there turns out to be confirmation that they did, I would be very happy.:excited:

    Paul
     
  18. PerryN

    PerryN Registered User

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    If I were interested to have this watch taken apart enough to look for a serial number, would I need a specialist or would any local watch repair person be able to do it?
     
  19. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Definitely a specialist, Perry - mainly because it's a repeater and reseating the hands on their pinion is a job for someone who really knows what he's doing!

    i understand Audemars' interest, but personally I doubt tht you will find a serial numbee anyway ;)

    If you decide to have this watch repaired/restored, which is a specialist job itself, then you could ask the epairer to look for a serial number. A repair might be very expensive ...
     
  20. dshumans

    dshumans Registered User
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    Perry,
    I work on these watches all the time and specialize in repeaters. I just love them. What is missing on the little staff is the chronograph drive wheel, which was mounted on the staff of the 4th wheel there, so your chronograph does not run. Finding serial numbers may help identify the maker (like LePhare) but many of these mid-grade repeaters were made as ebauches and sold to many different jewelers and "watchmakers". Finding the maker would not likely increase the value, but might answer your curiosity. It looks like when it was re-cased that the brass button was there to operate the chronograph, but since then, the drive wheel has been removed. Probably best just to enjoy the watch, with its history, as it is.
    Doug
     
  21. PerryN

    PerryN Registered User

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    Thanks for all your input. It's great to know more about my watch. I think I'll do as Doug suggested and just enjoy the watch as it is.
     
  22. Pallasite

    Pallasite Registered User

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    Paul
    Capture+_2018-11-29-17-56-01.png
     
  23. Audemars

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