QUESTION-DO YOU BELIEVE PARTING OUT IS GOOD FOR HOROLOGY?

Kent

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Yes.
 
C

Charles Isham

Keith, same old argument is that we basically collect movements and the most important aspect to me is the originality of the movement. There are thousands and thousands of recases that are easily detected and thousands of thousands of movement containers but there are dangerous faked up watches with switched cases and dials for the "pretty" factor. The more worn watch or movement is what it is. If you want to improve the example buy a better one!
 
P

peg leg

Charles, in case you missed that part above, Howard ballance over center wheels don't grow on trees. I don't switch cases or dials. But a scarce watch I may take a bit more risk on to have one (but I want the movement original and preferbly running). I prefer my next BOCW in a display case I will have made unless of course I could get lucky enough to come across one in an original case and dial, running and serviced. According to old Ray T the Howardman there only about 107 possibilities left undiscovered. One just rolled thru FLEABAY but it had a screwed up ballance wheel and definately a non-runner. So now that's 106 undiscovered BOCW movements out there for all colectors who desire one.

Now the other 21,000 Howard key wind series III's I would agree with you 100% (one can see two or three a week on sale all faked up, Mershon regulator, Coles escapement same for series IV but one can also see them flow through as original).

Keith R...
 
P

peg leg

Now I will show you how Charles has a point. This watch has a gold case with eagle stamp. But seller acknowledged it was a recase. I paid movement price for this watch serviced so I could not pass it up. This post on this ballance over center wheel Howard series III is not meant to rekindle fires, only to note Charles point about upgrading. As this bargain goes I view the case as a movement holder. Also note I'm not a watch seller, but a collector.

Keith R...

View attachment 2589
 
P

peg leg

Then help the records. Send your serial number to Ray Tyulty (NAWCC) who is tracking this breed.

Keith R...
 

Wes

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Keith-
That Howard looks familiar...

All-
Does anyone know if the Ethics committee is looking into making rules against members detroying watches in this matter? The suggestion was brought up in another thread, but once the Admin replies to a post he locks it.
 

GD1

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In regard to parting out complete running watches and selling components in order to make a higher profit, absolutely not. Taking a non running watch that parts are not readily available for and using it as parts to fix another watch of same model and make I see no problem with it but others may not agree. I would rather have one decent running watch than two parts watches. As an example I bought at an estate auction two 992 Hamilton's. Both had montgomery dials, one was a BOC Hamilton case and the other was in a brassy non RR case. The BOC case and movement was near mint but the dial had a very noticeable hairline. The brassy case 992 had a scratched up movement but a sparkling clean montgomery dial. What would you honestly do in this situation?
 

bbwatch

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Why don't you move this discussion to the Misc section where it probably belongs and keep this section for pocket watch discussions? This topic has reached the point of clutter.

Barry B
 
P

peg leg

Barry, point of clutter or painful reminder? GD1's argument is about 992's (pocket watch last time I looked in the book).

GD1.........Some points to ponder.

992 parts are available, just not as easy as one in hand at a bargain price (to sacrifice).
Saving one or saving two in my mind is the question?

Since you have a Howard key wind I assume you are a collector of two different periods. The 992's are your purchase and these are my thoughts, without benifit of seeing either Hamilton example. The only RR's I have are Rockfords. So for 992's I'd have to defer to you or other Hamilton collectors on these watches.

Keith R...
 
C

Charles Isham

Hi,

One solution would be to close watch marts for a period of time to slow down butcher buying.

Chas
 

Jon Hanson

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Collectors,

The more I reaD about parting out issue on various forums the more I am convincd that collectors in the future will refer to watch collecting as BEFORE parting out and AFTER parting out while doing research and collecting.
 
B

BMW

Perhaps until the world changes its ideas regarding the theory of "highest and best use", purists will continually be sickened by certain vulgarities.
I find the practice of parting out good, cased watches in particular, disturbing and vulgar. But, as much as I hate to say it, worldwide, purists have been losing most of their battles for years. Some people criticize those who want to maintain certain (pristine examples) areas as nature made them, without adding man-made structures, etc. Some people take exception to people who try to stop an historic building from being torn down to be replaced by something more modern and/or lucrative. Somebody's ox is always going to be gored. This time it's ours. It sucks, but unless the demand side dries up, there will continue to be supply. Don't buy from the "watch butchers", nor from those who buy their offerings. I would think that anyone who buys from these suppliers makes their own collection/inventory's originality very suspect, and subject to large discounts, at least in the near term. The more that hold the line on this stuff, the sooner the practice will diminish. JMHO
 
C

Charles Isham

Excellent post Brian.

Also, I am very concerned that straw men will soon be appearing on Ebay selling collectors' watches of members that will want the BIG BUCKS but not the publicity or identity.
 
B

BMW

Greetings Charles,

Dang, I wasn't thinking that far ahead. I'm sure that you're right about the strawmen. Yipes!
 
E

eshopper

Gentlemen.... I am new to these boards and am NOT a watch collector...I am a humble little on-line shop keep who also sells vintage items in an antique mall as well. While purchasing some items recently, my purchase included 3 pocket watches, a black gun metal cased one, and two 1700's ones. I came to the boards looking for information purely so that I could resell these pocket watches. Now....I feel badly about the prospect of listing these watches on ebay because you have now made me wonder WHO might buy these watches....will it be a collector who appreciates their age and flaws (which they have many) or will it be someone who wants to buy it purely for the movements or whatever. It's very disheartening to think that someone would purchase them to take them apart. In my thread asking about information about the pocket watches I posted picture links. I would be curious...if you felt like looking at the pictures...if you could give me your opinions on what fate you think these watches would meet if I did list them on ebay. And also, one question, how does someone new to the subject of pocket watches KNOW who is a reputable buyer who won't part out the watch? (please don't be offended by my using the term "reputable" buyer...I am not saying those who think parting-out is okay..are not reputable, I just use the term to match the tone of what I have been reading in this thread) ~ Elaine
 

mikeh

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Hi Elaine,

It's nice to know that there are people out there like you. You remind us that you don't have to be an enthusiast to know that dismantling a historical object for the sake of money is just plain wrong.

Unfortunately, once you put an item up for sale, it's hard to be sure that the person buying it will treat it with respect. Fortunately for your watches the current parting out trend mainly involves 20th century railroad watches, so I think yours are probably safe. You might just mention in your auction that you hope it goes to someone that will appreciate it's historical importance and give it the care and respect that it deserves.
 
E

eshopper

Thanks Mike..... I was surprised when I looked on ebay...and saw a lot of "parts" even chains for the fusee verge type watches and lots and lots of movements... But, I suppose you are right...there is no way to tell who you are selling to...and what purpose they have in mind for the pocket watch! ~ Regards, Elaine
Happy Holidays!
 

Greg Davis

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Elaine,

Fusee watches are somewhat less suceptible to this problem than American made watches because the fusees were made by hand, and the parts were fitted together by hand. This means that you could not expect to buy a case from one watch, a movement from a second, and a dial from a third and put them together to make a fully functional watch (the way you could with American made watches, which have compatible parts that were manufactured by machine). So the 1700s watches are probably relatively safe.

And by the way, there are a number of folks (myself included) that enjoy collecting even the less perfect examples of these older watches.

Also, I think you'll find that the watches that are MOST vulnerable to this treatment are any American watches that command a price premium (which class includes railroad watches and some of the more scarce manufacturers, like E. Howard). Because people are always trying to find/build nice examples of these, they pay HIGH prices for parts to "complete" or "upgrade" a watch they have.

It seems unlikely that a gunmetal cased watch would be terribly susceptible to this practice... but having not viewed your images, I cannot say for certain. Much depends on the quality and scarcity of the parts.

I wish you the best on finding a good home for the watches (and a tidy profit for yourself in doing so).

- Greg
 
E

eshopper

Thanks Greg.... I have to say you folks on this NAWCC message board are very nice people! I'm trying to get my nerve up to list the watches on ebay...but don't want to sound like a complete idiot when I do the description! I think I will just plead ignorance and tell them to look at the pictures LOL...maybe in the New Year I will be organized and do the listing. It's good to know that it is unlikely that the pocket watches I will be listing probably won't be chopped.... Thanks for your wishes for finding a good home for the watches ("and a tidy profit for yourself in doing so")... You know Greg, it's funny....I have been selling trinkets on-line in my little shop, and in an antique mall for about 3 years now....the only transactions that I really remember fondly are not so much the ones where I did really well $$ wise...but the follow up emails I have received from customers who say things that make me KNOW they were the right person to purchase the item, and that they indeed did find a really good and sometimes perfect home! Don't get me wrong....if I make a good profit that is great...who doesn't love that....but some items are special..and to see them go to a person who will love and respect the item...is sometimes worth more than the profit. I did have an experience with a "chopped" item that broke my heart...not a watch another item...but I won't bore you with that story...or take up any more of your time..on this reply!...Happy Holidays!
and many Thanks! ~ Elaine
 
1

107WestStreet

I agree it is a terrible thing to distroy a watch for its parts, however, lets say someone has a watch that was his grandfather's. And that watch means the world to him, yet the watch does not run, and to get it running would need several parts. These parts are like a miracle to him, because now his favorite Grandfathers watch would be brought back to life and this would mean the world to him. I agree that perhaps the parts could be repaired or re-created by a talented watchmaker and this approach should be tried first. But, if they can't or if that service is no longer available the guy could get desperate. I still and striving to become a watchmaker that can work these kinds of miracles without trading off parts from other watches.
In the past, I have bought several expensive watches to bring other watches of Great sentimental value back to life, and I have to admit that I didn't have the heart to butcher those replacement watches for parts and am working toward re-creating the needed parts for my heirlooms.
 

Greg Davis

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I certainly understand the desire to do whatever it takes to get grandpa's watch working again. But the underlying question is how much work can you do and still have it be grandpa's watch?

I have a watch in my posession that is a good example of this problem. Take a look:
[plain]http://www.pocketwatchclub.org/ch149mb/files/dscn1136s_190.jpg [/plain]

Notice anything funny about it? I'll be honest and admit I didn't... but people whose eyes actually work can see what I missed. This is a frankenwatch composed of mismatched parts from multiple watches. Yes, it works and keeps time, but it sure isn't the watch anyone's grandpa carried.

If all you want is a working timepiece, then the movement could easily be replaced with a cheap quartz movement and a plastic spacer, and there would be no possibility that the watch would deceive anyone in the future. Moreover, the watch would be more reliable and accurate.

But if what you want is to get grandpa's watch working, you ought to consider how far you can go before it isn't grandpa's watch any more... but has become a compilation of parts taken from grandpa's watch (and others) like this frankenwatch.

- Greg
 
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splicerman

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As a Newby to this craft, I see parting as a ways and means to restore several pieces to working status with the sacrfice of one that is too costly to repair. Sometimes this is the only way to restore objects 30 or more years old.
 

Chuck Headley

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I have to ask the question, who is buying the pieces from these watches that are parted out? I seriously doubt that it is non watch collectors. The parts (dials, hands, cases, movements etc) are selling quite well from what I have seen over the past few years. If we watch guys would stop buying the parts, the hucksters would not have a market and would give up on the enterprise. I must admit that I have done it and I would bet many of the posters on this forum have, as well. That said, I feel it is a shame to dismantle a beautiful artifact for profit, but it is a fact of life.
 

Steven Mercer

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Chuck Headley;534507 said:
..... I seriously doubt that it is non watch collectors.....
Chuck

Do a search on steampunk (on ebay or just goggle it) and you will see that non watch collectors are also buying watch parts. Not only are they buying parts, but they are also parting out watches for the parts.
 

Paul Regan

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All you had to do was attend the NAWCC Regional at Daytona to see some lovely examples at the Hamilton table.
 

Bratdaddy@mac.com

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Steven Mercer;534569 said:
Chuck

Do a search on steampunk (on ebay or just goggle it) and you will see that non watch collectors are also buying watch parts. Not only are they buying parts, but they are also parting out watches for the parts.
Lets not forget scrappers. They'll trash a movement for gold train parts.
 

Chuck Headley

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I find it hard to believe that non watch collectors are buying the parts from the watches that are separated and sold on the internet sites.
 

ben_hutcherson

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For whatever reason, some people think that if you make some stupid, overdone piece of crap and then glue a few watch gears on it that piece is suddenly somehow attractive.

I don't get it, but apparently a lot of people do.
 

harold bain

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When my father retired from the Canadian Pacific Railway back in the early 1970's this was his retirement gift. I guess they couldn't afford a gold watch for him so they gave him some parts to make his own:rolleyes::eek:.
Steampunk is not new. 85440.jpg
 

Larry Treiman

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harold bain;535083 said:
When my father retired from the Canadian Pacific Railway back in the early 1970's this was his retirement gift. I guess they couldn't afford a gold watch for him so they gave him some parts to make his own:rolleyes::eek:.
Steampunk is not new.

I have a feeling I'll regret this post, but maybe it's time for a new thread: QUESTION-DO YOU BELIEVE PARTING OUT IS GOOD FOR ART? :???: <] ;>)

Larry
 

Bubbaloo001

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This has turned out to be a most dynamic topic! I have done some careful thinking about my own stance on the point, for what its worth.

My primary interest is in fixing watches, and so I very seldom buy watches that work. This means that I have to be canny about finding parts for them, and there are some relics on my bench I haven't the skill or resources to touch ... yet. You guys may know the feeling. The last one is a cylinder escapement Schild with a a very badly mangled staff plug and smashed hairspring. Never done a cylider staff, NEVER see parts for them. Part it out? Nah. Will I ever find the right plug and hairspring. Ok, I admit I can be a dreamer sometimes. Its just such a cool lug watch.

I face this dilemna all the time in trying to find parts and movements for repair. There are times I've bought a "parts" movement and ended up too reluctant to take it apart because it probably deserves better treatment. Now I have two to restore. But how many Rockford 0s's does one bench need? Yikes already. I've got 2 1/2 now plus the original wristwatch. Stray cats?? Sure, the more the merrier. Torn between conservation and love of the watches and the need to fix something.

Golden age watches have not seen parts supplied from factories for many a decade. Dwindling parts are not a problem anymore, now it is a crisis. Parts are not coming back, fellas, we all know it.
Steampunk can make a horologist weep. Parting a perfect watch makes me shudder because of this sense of "desecration", but not that I'm puritanical about it. If I don't fix these watches, maybe nobody else will! I admit that I don't think of a dead watch as 'better' if it is 'original. I usually choose a watch if I can find parts.
 

R.G.B.

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I'm not sure I understand the original post, or maybe it's just the replies. If by parting out he meant taking a complete watch and selling it part by part trying to turn a bigger profit that's just nuts. Apart from ruining a perfectly good watch the seller has no concept of their time being of any value. Then again I've never been one to cross the street to pick up a nickel if I already have three in my pocket.

Buying parts movements that are incomplete is what keeps watchmaker/collectors eating and feeding their kids. (and by kids I mean watches) unless like Kent said you only buy NOS parts. With some it's easy to spot replaced parts while others it's impossible. Unless I have a documented history that came with each watch, I can probably assume the cannon pinion or second hand has been replaced from a donor at some point in it's life. If it came from a busted watch that makes me happy, one of them survived.

If it isn't the same watch as was sold to Henry J Smith to celebrate getting lucky the day after his birthday, I'm fine with that. I didn't stop going to my Dad's birthday when he got his hip replaced or a pig valve on his heart. :p

Proud organ Donor
 

LloydB

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R.G.B.;544228 said:
I'm not sure I understand the original post, or maybe it's just the replies. [snipped]

If it isn't the same watch as was sold to Henry J Smith to celebrate getting lucky the day after his birthday, I'm fine with that. I didn't stop going to my Dad's birthday when he got his hip replaced or a pig valve on his heart. :p

Proud organ Donor
The original post is pretty much defined as:

"Post a provocative, ambiguous, question (or statement),
never EVER provide your own (OP's) take on it (that might
compromise the ambiguity) then sit back, watch the fun.

That's essentially my definition of a troll, but not my definition
of a useful attempt at a 'solution'.

By the way, I agree entirely with your reply, but I hope this
thread eventually gets the dull-thud ending it deserves.

At this point, 134 replies to say: "Well, not always, but sometimes."
:eek: :p :confused:
 

ANDY YALE

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I have never taken a complete movement down to part it out and I don't plan to. But I do buy box lots of partial movements - and the key word here is partial- and use them as parts sources to repair intact movements that need a jewel or click or ratchet wheel. And I buy complete uncased movements to repair, and then scuffle around for something to case them in.
How does that rate with the Head Office?
The question I have is where do these guys who weekly post 40 or 50 uncased movements get their stock from? They seem to have an unlimited supply. They must be dealing with the people who scrap the cases, and to my mind, that makes them to some degree complicit with that practice.
I wish I could buy complete, cased watches with original parts, but they are mostly out of my price range. Instead, I trade time and work, searching for the stuff to assemble a working timepiece that is close to what it would have been when new.
As you all know, this is at times a frustrating pursuit.
I'm fairly new to this world, and so take it as it comes. But for those of you who have been around long enuf to recall when things were plentiful and cheap, reflect that the world of watch collecting is not immune to the general laws of the universe.
The more people at the table, the thinner the pie gets sliced.
 

topspin

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ANDY YALE;945952 said:
The question I have is where do these guys who weekly post 40 or 50 uncased movements get their stock from? They seem to have an unlimited supply. They must be dealing with the people who scrap the cases, and to my mind, that makes them to some degree complicit with that practice. .
Yes, they are probably "trade". Dealing with several jewellers or pawnbrokers shops or whoever else comes into contact with the public's random unwanted, mostly broken, watches. Maybe even the odd firm of solicitors disposing of the deceased's possessions. So the cases have probably been melted for the £50 of silver or £500 of gold or whatever it is, and at least 3 people (original owner, pawnbroker & trader) have all made money on the deal already.
Speaking of which - I too benefit from this, via (for the time being at least) the resulting steady supply of cheapish movements for sale on ebay. Often these are low-grade, common movements which can be used for fixing up 1 or more nicer or more interesting or more "special" watches of the same model. Other times the uncased movement is nice or unusual enough in itself to be the one that's resurrected.
I don't lose sleep over it if the end product is the case from one watch holding the movement from another which was fixed up using parts from a third. I will enjoy it for what it is, not for what it isn't and not for what someone else might want if it gets sold on after my death. Maybe one day I will see it differently, but for now...

Side-note... I see a *lot* of watches for sale where the case is pretty much beyond economic repair, 100+ years of abuse has taken its toll, e.g. bits snapped off or missing or not opening & closing or whatever. I therefore assume that at least some of the cases being scrapped were similarly only fit for scrap anyway.
 
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