So, can a case be marked 14K and not be 14K?

Lee Passarella

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I just saw an old thread about supposedly 14K gold cases (this one was an Essex). There was a lively discussion on the thread about cases that are marked 14K but are only 14K gold-filled and not solid gold. There was also a caveat about paying solid-gold prices for gold fill. Now, I got my watch at auction, so I didn't pay solid-gold prices, but I still would like to know since I've not be able to determine the content of the watch case. It's a Fahy's case marked 14K. Is it really 14K, does anybody know?

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Dr. Jon

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With US cases the marking is arcane but relatively honest. Greg relied on knowing the Monarch was the trade name for a gold filled case.

There were no real standards for gold purity in the US, but many area where they was allowed one of several tests to be as much as 1/2 carat short. In the US, the best cases were only1/2 carat short. Check the thread on the watch trust where you will see that those in the trust, the major makers were selling 12.5 K gold as 14K.

The Brooklyn Watch Case Company ran an ad that said theirs were the best because they were making their solid gold cases of 13.5k while other were using less.

This the short answer to your question is: Yes a case marked solid 14K gold by a US case maker is almost certainly not 14K gold and almost certainly less.

That is more gold than a gold filled case but it still not likely to be solid 14K gold.

It all reminds me of a comment a colleague made after returning from a class in contracts.

He said he learned that "A lie is not lie, when a lie is expected". That is pretty much how US case makers operated.

It is why i wrote "relatively honest".
 
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Lee Passarella

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OK, thanks for the info. At least I didn't get burned. But then again, I didn't get a bargain. Just a run-of-the mill Waltham in gold-filled case.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Lee,

I would be very circumspect when buying 19th century gold pocket watch cases. With a watch in hand some will use the flex in the case to help them decide if a case is solid gold or not (gold-filled cases are usually stiffer than karat gold) but then the shysters of the time made "imitation gold cases" with good flex. And then there are cases that have covers that are solid gold but not the body of the case (pretty scarce but they're out there). And then there is the question of weight. And the dust cover. And the actual karat. And the bow, etc. It can be a mine field.

Glad you didn't go over board on your recent purchase.

Greg
 

DeweyC

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Lee,

I would be very circumspect when buying 19th century gold pocket watch cases. With a watch in hand some will use the flex in the case to help them decide if a case is solid gold or not (gold-filled cases are usually stiffer than karat gold) but then the shysters of the time made "imitation gold cases" with good flex. And then there are cases that have covers that are solid gold but not the body of the case (pretty scarce but they're out there). And then there is the question of weight. And the dust cover. And the actual karat. And the bow, etc. It can be a mine field.

Glad you didn't go over board on your recent purchase.

Greg
I was recently looking at a Dueber Champion case marked 14k in a very period and professional manner. This is what prompted my "discovery" of the watch paper site which made Champion cases were gold filled. I also found a much earlier MB thread that appeared to have the same case up for discussion.

Aside from the above admonitions, shysters did not go extinct with the dodo. The stamps were and are readily available.
 

gmorse

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Hi Les,

Does 14K have any legal status on jewelry or watch cases?
Specifically in the UK, only from 1932, when it replaced 12 and 15 carat, which were current from 1854, (when 9 carat was also introduced), until 1931. From 1798 until 1854, only 18 and 22 were legal.

Regards,

Graham
 

Jim M.

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I think America did not have a Gold Standard until 1905.
Regards, PL
I came across the following information a while ago when I was looking at a nice 1900 era Howard housed in a watchcase bearing only the 14K US Assay purity mark (no maker’s mark). I was curious why this was allowed. See attached photo.

Overview of Hallmarking on Jewelry in the USA
The first official regulation of precious metal jewelry in the USA was by the National Gold and Silver Stamping Act of 1906 (also known as the Jewelers’ Liability Act). The 1906 act however did not require the maker to put a responsibility mark, or maker’s mark, on the jewel. When a maker chooses to mark such an item with a purity mark (either in pictorial of numerical form), the maker is responsible for the accuracy of the alloy (with some tolerance).
It was not until 1961 that a responsibility mark became mandatory on jewelry with purity marks. This mark can be in the form of a trademark or the family name of the maker in full. A maker is not required to stamp a purity mark on the articles, but when done, that act provides for adherence to the legislation.

Best regards,
Jim M

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Clint Geller

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Whenever you see the word "Extra" following a 14K marking, it actually means "less." That is a gold-filled case.
 

Dr. Jon

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The FTC "Guide" says a lot.
It is a guide, not a law.

"Should" has no legal standing. "Should" is for sermons, parental lectures, and, evidently worthless guides.

When a rule it is for real, the verb is "Shall" or "shall not" and sanctions are stated for not doing one one must shall or doing what one must shall not.
 

Robert Sweet

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I sincerely apologize for making a political statement on this thread. This is the first comment that I've had removed in my 16 years of contribution. I can assure the management of the message board it will not happen again.

Robert
 

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