Swiss Silver .935 "Bear?" Pocket Watch

Pezmc

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Apr 15, 2011
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I am having some trouble identifying a pocket watch, after lots of research online I have gathered the following information but am looking for advice from the experts.

I include photos and information below, many thanks:

Weight: 42g
Age: Bears?!? In use: 1882-1934
Face Diameter: 35mm
Marks: Two Bears, very small four legged animal, a rose?
Silver: 0.935
Makers Mark: CJ
Number on Inside: 515
Serial: 126515

127.jpg 128.jpg 129.jpg 130.jpg 131.jpg 132.jpg 133.jpg http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/3268/img10203ggg.th.jpg
 

svenedin

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Jan 28, 2010
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The Bear is a Swiss Hallmark. The movement is a Swiss cylinder escapement bar movement. These were made in huge numbers and certainly as far as English watchmakers were concerned were regarded as being inferior to the English lever watches. The advantage of movements such as yours is they could be made quite thin so could have slim elegant cases. They don't keep especially good time and often suffer from excessive wear. The balance wheel is gold and uncompensated. There was a large cottage industry in Switzerland producing these movements (Ebauche movements) so it really isn't possible to say who the manufacturer was. I don't know what the rose symbol means but someone else may know. The date is approximately 1850/1860. these movements were superceded when the Swiss started producing their own lever escpaement movements in quantity.
 

Audemars

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Aug 6, 2010
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Following Svenedin’s comment:

One of my books deals exclusively with watches and movements sold from Audemars' London stock to British (mostly London) customers.

Prompted by Frank Menez’s interest in Dent numbers I recently had a closer look and belatedly noticed :eek: that the entries are – to use a modern expression – resourced, from factories other than Audemars’ own.

Many are key-wound, many have cylinder escapements, nearly all the cases – where noted – are silver.
Diameters vary from 13 to 19 lignes (mostly smaller rather than larger).
Some 3/4 plate some "Montres a ponts".
Open face / Hunters / Half hunters.

Nearly all are cheap, typical selling prices from £1/10s/6d upwards.

Serial numbers are mostly five-digits (in the 3++++, 4++++ & 7++++ ranges) but there is also a large run of six-digit 2+++++ numbers and a very few 1+++++.
(If the watch in this thread were there I would be hanging out a flag :bang: ).

There are about 1000 numbers of which some 400+ were sold to Dent. A lot were sold to Frodsham, but I haven’t counted those.


Other customers include:
Klaftenberger
E White
Kleiser
Ganter
Sorley
Topham & White
Aitchison
Brown
Spikins
Whitel
Taylor
Desbois
Sturrock
Beasley
Hunt & Roskill
Sanders
- and several more - I can extract a complete list for anyone who is interested.

The supplier factories were

Calame-Robert
Courvoisier Frères
Matthey-Doret
Jacot-Bonnard (not sure about the spelling of that one)
Jaccard du Gros
Tripplin or Fripplin (not sure about that one either)
Bonhofer
Billotey (or that one)

There is no indication if the products were signed by the original maker. by Audemars, or not at all.

The book runs from February 1881 (entry in the record) to June 1884 (latest sale that I can see). There is no note of when the products were actually made in Switzerland.

I see that some quantities were returned to the factories - presumably faulty.

Getting back to the thread, this seems to reinforce Svenedin’s remarks.
But it also poses more questions about what actually went on :confused:.

P
 

Pezmc

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Apr 15, 2011
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Wow, thanks for the wealth of information, certainly very interesting!

I wonder where all the 1+++++ ones were sold to, would have certainly been amazing if you had it listed!

You're right about it not keeping time very well, certainly seems to shift significantly compared to modern ones.

Thanks again,
 

svenedin

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No problem. There is another interesting thing about your watch. As I said earlier, these cylinder bar movements could be made quite thin (unlike the English lever movements of the time which had a fusee and were thick). Many examples for the continental Europe market were in thin cases but sometimes they were put in much thicker cases even though they didn't need to be. My understanding is that this was a deliberate ploy to make them look like the higher quality English watches.

Here is a picture of one of my watches. A similar cylinder escapement to yours but a bit earlier (1830/1840). The case is 18K gold. Note the breguet hands and the dimple in the centre of the crystal. This was from the manufacturing process when a glass rod would have been attached and then subsequently filed off. It shows the crystal is original or certainly not modern. The incription in French says "Cylinder" ,"8 holes in rubies" (8 jewels). Aiguilles means needles e.g. the hands. This is a very elegant watch and runs well but timekeeping is limited to an error of about 3 minutes per day which is about as good as can be expected given the age and the inherent limitations of a balance wheel that is not compensated for temperature and of the movement in general
 

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svenedin

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My uploaded pictures haven't worked well so here are the links to them instead. More details can be seen. I don't know what I did wrong because the uploaded pictures and the links are exactly the same files.

141.jpg

142.jpg

143.jpg

144.jpg
 

ladywren

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Oct 30, 2010
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Following Svenedin’s comment:

One of my books deals exclusively with watches and movements sold from Audemars' London stock to British (mostly London) customers.

Prompted by Frank Menez’s interest in Dent numbers I recently had a closer look and belatedly noticed :eek: that the entries are – to use a modern expression – resourced, from factories other than Audemars’ own.

Many are key-wound, many have cylinder escapements, nearly all the cases – where noted – are silver.
Diameters vary from 13 to 19 lignes (mostly smaller rather than larger).
Some 3/4 plate some "Montres a ponts".
Open face / Hunters / Half hunters.

Nearly all are cheap, typical selling prices from £1/10s/6d upwards.

Serial numbers are mostly five-digits (in the 3++++, 4++++ & 7++++ ranges) but there is also a large run of six-digit 2+++++ numbers and a very few 1+++++.
(If the watch in this thread were there I would be hanging out a flag :bang: ). END QUOTE
I'm very interested in your serial numbers, as I have just purchased a silver watch that has the 3 bears, .935 is key set and key wound with the
cylinder escapement bar movement. The interesting thing is I have a 5 digit serial number starting with 3! 35991 is the whole number. It has gold enameling on the face and black roman numerals and a tulip shape cut out of the front opening. I am assuming it is a ladies pendant watch. I would be interested to know if your book had any additional info about this specific serial number!

It is not currently running and the hands are not on the face, but i did find them in the box when I was looking more closely at it after the sale. It would be really great if your book could pinpoint the exact details!
 

Luxcaput

Registered User
Sep 26, 2011
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Just bought one myself! Thanks for this thread! How much did you buy yours for? And what is it worth?

Emil Malmsten
 

Luxcaput

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Sep 26, 2011
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Wait, mine has different inside and "Face". But it is simular, SER # 28352. it sais "fast flow" on the inside.

Gonna post photo soon.
 

Nashota

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Aug 4, 2014
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I have one of these watches,but mine is more ornate and has a pin on the key and is more brooch than just watch 002.JPG 005.jpg 020.JPG 021.jpg and the number is 60432 030.jpg does anyone know why I can't find one like it anywhere? 005.jpg
 

Squite

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Jun 26, 2012
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Virtually all of these small 'fob' ladies' watches would have been worn decorative side (engraved side) out, as a broach or pendant, not in the pocket. Any of these with the standing bear mark, including the first one on this post, date approximately between 1886-1932, the years that the bear mark was in use (for example post #2 gives a date of 1850/60, which is a few decades too early for that case - and yes, i do realize the OP was around 3 years ago).

I would suggest any given week you could see a dozen or more watches similar to these on 'the bay'. I wouldn't consider them to be uncommon at all. For example, I found more than 20 currently listed that are pretty darn near identical, on one search page using 'swiss fob watch'. The pin is not quite as common, I would guess, but I didn't search for one.
 
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