Pocket watch cases - engraved, die engraved, engine turned?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by okiejohn, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. okiejohn

    okiejohn Registered User

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    #1 okiejohn, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Just wondering if there are any tips on determining how a case is decorated, and how to determine if it is hand engraved, die engraved, engine turned, etc.?

    For instance, I have this watch I just acquired...it's an Illinois Grade 14, SN 1119004, a 6s, 7j lever set watch (2,000 total made). The 14k (Warranted U.S. Assay) case is decorated with a detailed floral decoration. The case is marked, "J & CO. " (Jeanneret & Co.? Jeannot & Co.? )My untrained eye thinks it is hand engraved ( a complete guess on my part), but what do I know?

    Some cases even my untrained eye can distinguish as machine applied decoration, but how about cases like this one?

    An interesting aside, it was sold as a gold plated case, without any good photos of the inside of the case, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the WARRANTED U.S. ASSAY mark! Not bad for a $27 bid!

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    64bea340083e856c9a338247615901d8.jpg d321d8df9d1ce454842c56183649df34.jpg 06f7d356d4bd0e33c83136b7545b2617.jpg 100_1786.JPG
     
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  2. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    #2 Jerry Treiman, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    What a lovely case (and a tremendous find)! I do not know if the design was based on a pantograph transfer, but the depth of engraving leads me to believe it is probably hand-finished.

    For comparison, here is a similar vintage 4-size J.Boss case that I think must have been from a pantograph transfer, without much hand work -
    4s_b.jpg
    (writer's collection; photo courtesy Fred Hansen)
     
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  3. okiejohn

    okiejohn Registered User

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    Thanks for the information, Jerry. I've always looked at the depth of the design and the sharpness of the edges of them to determine what I think might be hand engraved designs. Would you say that is a viable method? Probably not fool proof but at least a starting point?
     
  4. 4thdimension

    4thdimension Registered User

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    Exactly. I've had those pantograph line cases that were finished by a hand engraver following the diagram. If you put on a loupe you might detect the wavering cuts that indicate a human hand was involved in the making. -Cort
     
  5. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I agree with Jerry what a nice looking case, and the 6 size it a great size watch too.


    Rob
     
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