Review:Vintage American pocket watches dials and cases identification and price guide

Richard Watkins

NAWCC Fellow
May 2, 2004
“Vintage American pocket watches dials and cases identification and price guide (beginning to end 1830-2009)” by Ehrhardt and Meggers, published by Bill Selovar.
463 pp, ill, 6 pp religious ads.
$110 printed, $35 pdf file.
This is a new edition of “American watches beginning to end, identification & price guide”, which was first published in 1987. It has all of the material in the first edition, with the introductory material and the section giving diagrams of top plates and EA numbers reproduced almost without change; the main difference is that all price estimates have been removed. The other part of the first edition, the alphabetical listing of inscriptions on plates and dials has been changed, the number of entries increasing from about 11,000 to over 14,000. This retains the price estimates, but many are unchanged from the 1987 edition and others were probably changed around 1998, as so they are of little use.
There are 3 new sections:
* “American watch models (featured)”, 90 pages with colour photographs and prices taken from auction catalogues (most from one sale in 2002). The photographs are mediocre and the watches are not representative, being “remarkable watches with more remarkable prices realized”.
* 16 pages of black & white photographs of railroad dials and movements (reproduced from Ehrhardt & Meggers “Railroad watches, identification and price guide”). These, as in the original, are in random order, but the reproduction is only fair and so the photos are not much use.
* 35 pages giving serial numbers, grades and production dates for Ball, Hamilton and Rockford, followed by short lists for American and Swiss companies (reproduced from another Ehrhardt book). As it is only a small selection from many companies the value is compromised.
Overall the book is not a price guide, the prices being out-of-date (including case values which are unchanged from the 1987 edition), and the additional material adds little to the original. Also I think $110 is too much for the printed book.
I have always thought the first edition to be an excellent, indeed essential, reference for American watch collectors. So if you do not have it and can’t get it, this new edition will be a good substitute. If you have the first edition, then get the $35 pdf version so you have access to the updated alphabetical listing of inscriptions.

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