$ Non Magnetic Watch

Joseph P

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Apr 16, 2021
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Hello all, I’ve been following threads in an attempt to identify my watch, it was my father’s. It is in superb condition with no scratches or damage and works great. Can anyone please tell me about it? It is serial #243482. Thank you so much
Joe B2C96875-06D4-4D84-9B67-4B1FF52B9AB7.jpeg C1253AF2-AE05-46A0-8835-529D54B1831B.jpeg 77DC525C-5BCA-49A0-90D6-8772088BF7AA.jpeg CB095749-3901-4D8E-ADAF-0EF100257192.jpeg
 

roughbarked

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The exact origins of the anti-magnetic watch are difficult to track down, but many signs point to a non-magnetic, palladium-made escapement patented by Charles-Auguste Paillard in the mid 1880s. Several years after his invention, the Geneva Non-Magnetic Watch Co. began offering pocket watches with his escapement. For the next 25 years or so, variations of the Paillard escapement found their way into pocket watches from the Non-Magnetic Watch Co. of America, Peoria Watch Co, Paillard Non-Magnetic Watch Company, A.C. Smith Watch Co, A.C. Becken Co, and Elgin. Meanwhile, companies like IWC and Waltham patented their own non-magnetic designs.

While it’s not entirely clear who pioneered the first anti-magnetic wrist watch, IWC’s Mark 11, released in 1948, was certainly an early one. Rolex and Omega were not far behind with the Milgauss and Railmaster, respectively. These three watches were purpose-built tool watches that relied on a soft iron protective layer around the movement (colloquially referred to as a Faraday cage) for protection. Thanks to the foolproof Faraday cage — it’s still used today — and resilient construction, the original Mk11, Milgauss and Railmaster would all still pass muster according to modern official anti-magnetic standards (ISO 764), which require resistance to a field strength of 4,800 A/m (amperes per meter, the International Unit for magnetic field strength). Copied from: To Protect and Serve: 6 Great Anti-Magnetic Watches

Notes
The Geneva Non-Magnetic Watch Co. of America, Geneva In 1885-1886, the new non-magnetic alloy (palladium with copper) invented to produced non-magnetic and non-corrosive hairsprings and balances by Charles-Auguste Paillard (1840-1895) came to the attention of a young Dresden businessman, Charles W. Ward. He and his associates were impressed by the invention and decided to form a company making watches based on the Paillard’s patents granted in Great Britain (No. 6 367, May 11, 1886, for “Hair-springs”, and, No. 8 730, July 3, 1886, for “Balances”). Ward made preliminary arrangements with Paillard, a former regulator for Patek Philippe & Co., and Louis Bornand, a former manager of Henry Capt & Co., in Geneva, and began arrangements to get rights to the Paillard’s patents. On January 1886, a draft was made for a proposal of forming the company. It was to be incorporated in Detroit, with a capitalization of US$ 50 000.-, and to be called the “Geneva Watch Co.”. About a month later it materialised. The watches were to be manufactured by Bornand in Geneva. On February 23, 1886, the first order was given for 34 pieces including twelve with horological complications. On March 16, 1886, a new agreement was signed and the name of the company was changed to “Geneva Non-Magnetic Watch Co.”, incorporated in New York with Paillard and Bornand responsible for the manufacturing. Paillard’s agency was located at 2, rue Kleberg in Geneva and the Bornand plant at 64, Grand Quai in Geneva (former Tiffany plant, as reported by Jeweler Circular in 1889). The Non-Magnetic Watch Co. office was located at 5, Quai du Mont Blanc. In 1886, the company filed for the patents rights for manufacturing palladium springs in France, England, Germany and the United States, because in Geneva, Dufane-Lutz had also started making palladium springs. In 1887, a new contract was signed with J.-J. Badollet in Geneva and Aeby & Co. in Bienne, watch manufacturing companies, for producing ebauches. That same year an arrangement was made with Patek Philippe & Co. for their blancs to be made in the Patek Philippe factory and finished by Bornand. These were probably the highest grades of Non-Magnetic Watch Co. In the same year, a new company was organized, the “Non-Magnetic Watch Co. of America”, in the hope of promoting the watch as an American product, for at the time these had an excellent reputation (see: Antiquorum, December 2001, The Art of American Horology). The watches were tested by Thomas Edison, Webb C. Ball, and Henry Abbott. In 1889, the Non-Magnetic Watch Co. showed its products in the Saint-Louis Exhibition and in 1893 in the Columbian Universal Exposition in Chicago. In 1895, Charles Paillard died; it appears that shortly after A. C. Becken of Chicago purchased the company and started selling the inventory. He contracted the Illinois Watch Co. to make non-magnetic movements for him and marketed them as “Non-Magnetic Watch Co. of Chicago, USA”. In 1899, Becken advertised products labelled “Paillard, Non-Magnetic Watch Co., Chicago, USA”. The movements were made by the Illinois Watch Co. A year later in his catalogue appeared watches labelled “Geneva Non-Magnetic” and “Non-Magnetic of America”. These most likely came from the Non-Magnetic Watch Co. inventory. He also stated that he was “the manufacturer of Paillard Non-Magnetic Watches”, and that he had bought Non-Magnetic inventory and acquired the rights to the patent.
Copied from: A site which has an auction.
 
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Joseph P

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Wow thanks for replying, that’s a lot of information to digest, any thoughts on my watch?
 

Joseph P

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Thanks I had no idea it was that old, I was told it was a “railroad watch”
 

StanJS

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Just a point of information. Your serial number is on the movement and is 5 digits. It looks like it might be 36809 (not 243482) from your picture.
 

Joseph P

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That’s good to know, I was looking at the stamped number on the case, I’m trying to determine value. Thank you
 

Kent

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.... Is grade c a mid-grade? I don’t know how collectible it may be.
The grade C was more or less a mid-grade; not as collectable as some Non-Magnetic Watch Co. watches, more collectable than others.

Broadly speaking, if one were to consider all jeweled watch movements as being separated into three grade groups; low (unadjusted); medium (adjusted to temperature and up to 3-4 positions); and high (adjusted to 5+ positions); then this movement can be considered to be in the upper end of the medium grade group.

You may also find the following Encyclopedia articles useful in understanding pocket watches and the terms that are used in discussing them:

 
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Joseph P

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The grade C was more or less a mid-grade; not as collectable as some Non-Magnetic Watch Co. watches, more collectable than others.

Broadly speaking, if one were to consider all jeweled watch movements as being separated into three grade groups; low (unadjusted); medium (adjusted to temperature and up to 3-4 positions); and high (adjusted to 5+ positions); then this movement can be considered to be in the upper end of the medium grade group.

You may also find the following Encyclopedia articles useful in understanding pocket watches and the terms that are used in discussing them:

Thanks for providing this, I really appreciate it. Do you have a thought on value?
 

MrRoundel

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As far as value, much depends on whether or not it's in a solid gold or gold-filled case. The difference could be a roughly a factor of 10, depending on the weight of the case gold. If it is in a solid gold case you MIGHT guesstimate that it's worth 110% of gold value. Much depends on market exposure and finding the right non-scrapping buyer. If it's gold filled, the scrappers will probably avoid and you might get ~$350 for the complete watch. And that's because it's so clean and has a very nice double-sunk dial. JMHO.

Someone more knowledgeable about the maker/brand may have other ideas on price. Good luck.
 
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Old rookie

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Joe:
Check Ebay and Jones and Horan completed auctions. You might be able to get an idea of value for your watch.
 

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