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$ Seeking value of 5 minute repeater

goldfixer21

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May 29, 2014
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I am trying to determine the value of this 18 K gold pocket watch. It has a hunter's case and a cuvette? over movement. I just had it serviced and it is running perfectly, as is the repeater. The movement is not signed, but I have been told it could be a Le Coultre. The only issue with it is the crown has a section of the gold layer missing. I am trying to source a replacement, but it is really large, and I haven't found one yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It looks really dirty in the pics, they were taken before it was serviced.
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Dr. Jon

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I have a model I use to determine what is reasonable for me to pay. This gives a value about $4500. About $1000 is based on its recent overhaul and assumes the case is truly 18K. I do not see hallmarking in places where I would expect to but my estimate assumes the case is 18K gold. I have assumed a 5 minute repeater has the same value as a minute repeater. The 5 minute type is a bit simpler but less common.

Its look and serial number suggest it might be by Louis Audemars. If so that would add another $1000. That number is not in the published list but some numbers on this list are fairly close.
 

goldfixer21

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May 29, 2014
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I have a model I use to determine what is reasonable for me to pay. This gives a value about $4500. About $1000 is based on its recent overhaul and assumes the case is truly 18K. I do not see hallmarking in places where I would expect to but my estimate assumes the case is 18K gold. I have assumed a 5 minute repeater has the same value as a minute repeater. The 5 minute type is a bit simpler but less common.

Its look and serial number suggest it might be by Louis Audemars. If so that would add another $1000. That number is not in the published list but some numbers on this list are fairly close.
The hallmarks are very faint, it looks like they have been polished quite a bit. I'll take some pics tomorrow and post them. I'm struggling to find a way to offer this for sale without knowing more details about who made it. Is it improper to described it with "it shows characteristics" of a particular watchmaker, or should I just say "unknown maker"?
 

Dr. Jon

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I believe you will be Ok by stating it "shows characteristics" but also state you are not able to determine the ebauche maker with certainty. Swiss hallmarking was optional but if marked it had to have them in places such as on the pendant and on the case body. The case body mark should be visible in your movement shot and it is not there. It is a very small punch mark.

That absence suggests very strongly that the polished out marks are a simple statement of karat which are not hallmarks and have no credibility other than the reputation of now long gone retailer. Many of these marks were accurate but many were not .

A hallmark is placed by an independent agency that did a test for gold content. If these parts passed, the authority placed marks on the inner surface of both covers, pendant, bow and case body. Bows were often lost so a missing mark on a bow is not a big deal but lack of the others is a strong indication that it was not truly hallmarked. The retailers did not have to submit their items for this in Switzerland but if they did every part of the case was tested and punch marked.

This is why I do not think your watch case is hallmarked. Repeaters like yours were very high end items so if the case is not 18K it is probably close but if you want to be safe you need to have the case tested, preferably by conductivity or simple state how it is marked but is being sold as is. If you sell on ebay and a buyer does a test, or simply tells ebay they did a test and it came up short the buyer will get a full refund including shipping both ways and your fees. It is not fair in my view, but it is the way they work now.
 

goldfixer21

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May 29, 2014
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It has just a karat stamp at the top of the front and back case. Being that I can see no evidence of hallmarks per se, I assume this is a USA made case. The quality mark is a script K above 18 inside a shield shape. They are both faint, but one is clearly readable in decent lighting, but difficult to photograph. All 3 cases have the same number stamped in them 23701, although some of the numbers have been polished out. DSC06541.jpg DSC06542.jpg
 

MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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Goldfixer, I would be very surprised if this was an American case. The stamp in your photo, and the case itself, look very Swiss to me ... which is what I would expect on the watch. My own experience is different from DrJon's - whenever I have had a Swiss case with such a mark and no assay mark, and then had it tested, it has registered 18K gold. Without an assay mark or a (reputable) maker's name I agree with DrJon that it cannot be relied upon, but I would start from a working assumption that it was valid.

Let me utter a word of caution about representation of the maker which you have discussed. DrJon is without doubt expert in the field of high-end Swiss watches, but it is always unsafe to rely upon a single opinion in the matter of maker identification. Personally I have no such expertise, but there are others here who do - your problem is that they probably do not frequent this valuation forum. In any event, I would counsel against stating that the watch "shows characteristics of Louis Audemars" unless you know exactly what those "characteristics" are, and which of them are unique to Audemars.

You would be wise to get further opinions by posting a new thread in the European Watches forum, but please note that in that forum you must not request a valuation, nor may you indicate that you intend to sell this watch.

Since it has been suggested that the watch is by Louis Audemars, you might also like to send a PM to our member Audemars, who is a direct descendant of Louis Audemars and has written a book about him, to ask whether he has a record of your serial number in the Louis Audemars ledgers. You should also send him a link to this thread (or to the other in European Watches if you start one).
 

goldfixer21

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May 29, 2014
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Goldfixer, I would be very surprised if this was an American case. The stamp in your photo, and the case itself, look very Swiss to me ... which is what I would expect on the watch. My own experience is different from DrJon's - whenever I have had a Swiss case with such a mark and no assay mark, and then had it tested, it has registered 18K gold. Without an assay mark or a (reputable) maker's name I agree with DrJon that it cannot be relied upon, but I would start from a working assumption that it was valid.

Let me utter a word of caution about representation of the maker which you have discussed. DrJon is without doubt expert in the field of high-end Swiss watches, but it is always unsafe to rely upon a single opinion in the matter of maker identification. Personally I have no such expertise, but there are others here who do - your problem is that they probably do not frequent this valuation forum. In any event, I would counsel against stating that the watch "shows characteristics of Louis Audemars" unless you know exactly what those "characteristics" are, and which of them are unique to Audemars.

You would be wise to get further opinions by posting a new thread in the European Watches forum, but please note that in that forum you must not request a valuation, nor may you indicate that you intend to sell this watch.

Since it has been suggested that the watch is by Louis Audemars, you might also like to send a PM to our member Audemars, who is a direct descendant of Louis Audemars and has written a book about him, to ask whether he has a record of your serial number in the Louis Audemars ledgers. You should also send him a link to this thread (or to the other in European Watches if you start one).
I posted photos of this in the European forum months ago when I acquired it. Most felt it was possibly LeCoultre, finished by Audemars. I have a friend that has access to Miton xray to test it's gold content. He's is taking it Monday to have it tested.I appreciate everyone's input. I want to make sure that I am representing this as accurately as I can when selling it.
 

MartyR

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By one of those strange coincidences :) someone has just started a thread about a Louis Audemars repeater here in the European Forum. I've only has a quick glance, and it's difficult without having the two photos side by side, but I don't see any particular similarities.

You're doing exactly the right thing, Goldfixer, in getting your information right before selling. Of course if this turns out to be an Audemars that will greatly increase the value of your watch, and indeed any attribution will enhance its value. I hope your research pays off!
 

Dr. Jon

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The newly posted watch is a higher grade than this one. It shares one feature with Goldfixer's, and attachment on the center pivot. This is almost a signature feature.

The difference between the two is the click on the main spring winding wheel. Goldfixer's watch has a type commonly used bt Audemars as well as others. The one referred to by MartyR has they other type which is higher grade, which also is a strong but not absolutely certain feature since other Brassus makers also used it.

To summarize the reasons I think it might be by Louis Audemars are:

1) It has a serial number in a range the firm used
2) It has s a click of the type the firm used
3) It has a center pivot attachment also used by the firm.

None are definitive and even the three leave room for doubt. If it is by them I doubt they cased it. The firm went under in 1885 and it looks to be of about that period.

As MartyR noted an expert opinion by Mr Audemars would add a lot.

Here is a link to his site

http://audemars.co.uk/

He is still digging up records so he has more information than I.
 

Audemars

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Just got back after a few days away.
Please consider this a reply to your PM as well as to this thread.

Our records are not complete.
As Dr Jon says, 23701 does not appear in the known (2014) list of serial numbers. The nearest numbers are 23564 and 23721 both dated 1882.
Dr Jon is very kind when he suggests I might be able to give an expert opinion.
Sorry I can't.
I am not a horologist and anything I might say could turn out to be very misleading indeed.
From the little I do know, the various characteristics of this watch could apply to a number of makers, Audemars among them.
I note the absence of the "internal" click on the mainspring winding wheel which is considered by those more expert than I as one of the defining features of their better end products.

I note that while the signatory and putative retailer - James Kahn - appears to be in Geneva, the regulator is marked "fast" and "slow" implying that the watch was for retail in England or in the States.

And that is as far as I can go.
Very sorry,

Paul
www.audemars.co.uk
 

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