Ultra Thin Pocket Watch Identity

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by TOCANUCK1, Nov 27, 2019.

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  1. TOCANUCK1

    TOCANUCK1 New Member

    Nov 27, 2019
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    I have a pocket watch received from my Grandfather that has no identifiable marks - no name (or anything) on the face, no stamps, no numbers, etc. I would think there must be marking on the movement, but the watch is so thin that there are no seams, no way to open the watch that I can see, other than removing the crystal. I would appreciate any direction as to possible manufacturer, and / or anyone (ideally in Canada) who might have the expertise to open this watch to get more information. apologies in advance for quality of pictures. Note - I posted here as my Grandfather worked in the jewellery business in London (Garrrard's)
    Thanks in advance.

    IMG_20191126_200327338.jpg IMG_20191126_200413784 (1).jpg IMG_20191126_200427718.jpg
     
  2. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    Hi & welcome aboard.

    That seems like a nice watch, you're fortunate to have a personal timepiece with family provenance.

    When I view the the first photo i.e. that showing the dial, at 3 o'clock there's something that looks like a seam; or is that a reflection?
     
  3. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    A few of us live in Canada. Nice watch and i hope someone can open it, so we can find out more about it. Its missing the crown, to wind the watch.
     
  4. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Tocanuk1, for any of us to tell you anything meaningful about the watch, you need to post in-focus, head-on photos of the movement, the dial, the inside of the back cover, and both sides of the inside cover if you watch has one. The back cover pries off or is hinged. In either case, see if you can pry off the back with your fingernail. Look for a groove or lip around one o'clock. If you are very careful, you could use a razor blade or knife blade to pry open the case. If you do, be careful not to scratch the case.

    I don't think the crown is missing, Kevin. It just has a small crown, like the one in the photo below.

    DSC04997.JPG
     
  5. TOCANUCK1

    TOCANUCK1 New Member

    Nov 27, 2019
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    Thank you - I do love the watch - have since it was on my father's mantel when I was growing up (Now on mine!). Unfortunately it is just a reflection, not a seam.
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi TOKANUK1,

    There is one there, but it's very small, and may not be the correct one. I think viclip is right about the seam, but with such an exceedingly thin watch I'd be very careful if you aren't familiar with handling watches and don't have appropriate tools. A screwdriver or a pocket knife aren't the best tools for this job. I suspect when it is opened you'll find that there's a very high grade piece of Swiss workmanship in there, and these extremely thin movements are by their nature pretty fragile. If the implement used to open the case skids across the movement . . . .

    I see Ethan has beaten me to it!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. TOCANUCK1

    TOCANUCK1 New Member

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    I will try and take some better shots, but can't of the inside because I cannot open - there is truly no seam - the only possible entry point is by removing the crystal. that is why I am looking for someone knowledgeable to open it - for more information (and pictures!) And you are correct - the crown is not missing - it is there and works/winds - it is just very small.
     
  8. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Tocanuck1, you may be right that the only way to photograph the movement is to remove it from the case through the dial aperature, but I am skeptical that that's what's required. I collect extra thin watches. I have never seen an antique pocket watch with a movement only accessible through the crystal. The only pocket watch I have ever seen where that was required was a modern,1960's era Movado-Zenith. Your watch looks like it is from the 1910-1930 era.
     
  9. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    Have you inspected the side of the case all the way around under magnification?

    Especially if the case was polished, seams on well-fitted cases can be difficult to discern with the naked eye.
     
  10. Audemars

    Audemars Registered User
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    Take it to a professional.
     
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  11. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Absolutely right.

    If they open the watch while you're there, make sure you have a decent camera with you and take photos of everything you can see, including all the case surfaces. If you leave the watch with them, ask them to take photos for you and ask for their permission to post those photos here.
     
  12. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Marty, its his watch, why would he have to ask for permission?
     
  13. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    #13 roughbarked, Nov 28, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
    There is a seam there. Whether it is a seam or a groove is impossible to tell without the watch in hand.

    1907
    csm_20s-montre-extra-plate-lecoultre_efb5d26059.jpg


    History
    Ultrathin: LeCoultre created the world's thinnest pocket watch movement, at 1.38 mm.

    Probably more likely an IWC though? bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: IWC 77
     
  14. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Roughbarked, I doubt its an IWC. I have 32 thin IWC pocket watches. None of them is super-thin. Only one of them, a platinum-cased example, has a stem and crown that resembles Tocanuck1's watch. That IWC is a highly unusual one, from a group that IWC records list as "reglage speciale", meaning a collection of several different pocket watch movements in different styles. A noted IWC collector wrote me that "we as collectors [are] waiting to see those rarities as [you] got the luck to own one. Only a handful [are] known.” Besides having a very atypical IWC or IWC-signed movement, I understand that no more than about ten examples of IWC-cased platinum pocket watches are known to exist.

    IWC.jpg

    So, I doubt that Tocanuck1's watch is an IWC. If guessing is in order, I think it might be a Touchon (which commonly had stems and crowns like Tocanuck1's watch), a V&C (like the one I showed in post 4), an Audemars Piguet, a Cartier, or a C.H. Meylan. We won't know until we see more photos, e.g., of the movement.
     
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  15. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, my bet is maybe a Meylan. Regards Ray
     
  16. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    Tocanuck1, where do you live in Canada?
     
  17. TOCANUCK1

    TOCANUCK1 New Member

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    I am just outside Toronto. I went to a professional watchmaker on the weekend, and got the case open to see the movement (there was a seam on the watch), but only disappointment - no name or markings on the movement. there is additional information on the inside of the case. Case #81304; a 5-point star under which is the word Paris. There is also a mark showing 3 identical characters (which I can't make out), followed by "/ 5". Under the "5" it almost looks like there could be an almost microscopic signature. there are a few other marks - none of which I can make out - I have added a couple more pictures, but nothing I can decipher. Any ideas much appreciated.

    IMG_20191130_090441580.jpg IMG_20191130_090523729_HDR.jpg
     
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  18. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi TOCANUCK1,

    The marks which are scratched in are the private codes used by previous repairers, and are now meaningless. The tiny mark in the centre, under the 'Paris' mark, is probably a gold purity mark. Judging by the probable age of the watch, (early 20th century?), I should think it may be one of those in the right hand column of this page on French hallmarks, perhaps an eagle?

    The movement is decent quality and appears to be in a clean and tidy condition, jewelled to the centre, with cap jewels on the escape wheel. One of our European experts may be able to identify its origin.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  19. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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  20. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Tocanuck1, I don't know who made the movement.

    I have an ultra-thin watch with a reasonably similar movement, but the movement isn't signed. The watch is in an 18k multicolour gold case signed by Jules Person, a top French casemaker, a competitor of the famed Verger Freres. I have seen the same case on Cartiers, with somewhat similar movements. My watch's dial is signed "S. Cats, Paris." The case has an eagle 18k stamp, as I think your watch has.

    I am not suggesting that your watch has a Cartier, Cats, or Jules Person connection, although it could.

    The casemaker, the movement maker, and the finisher or retailer of your watch likely will remain unknown.
     
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  21. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Any photograph belongs to the person who took it, as does the copyright to the photograph. That's the law in most countries.

    If you ask for a photograph to be taken, even if you pay for that to be done, the copyright reamins the property of the photographer unless you specifically buy the copyright (outright) or buy a licence to copy the photograph.

    The same is true in principle if (for example) you buy an item on Ebay and want to use the photographs in the Ebay listing - you would need the permission of the seller because he owns the copyright to his photos.

    I have no idea why this is the case - it's shrouded in historical mystery - and in many ways it is complex and counter-intuitive and widely misunderstood. But it's the law we have to observe.
     
  22. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Tick Talk may be suggesting that Tocanuck1's movement might have a Vacheron Constantin connection, by posting a photo I took (Tick Talk, I am fine with that) of the movement in the platinum cased extra-thin V&C in my collection, shown in post 4. I had speculated in post 14 that Tocanuck's watch might have a V&C movement before Tocanuck1 posted photos of his watch's movement. The movement in my platinum V&C does resemble Tocanuck1's movement, but I doubt that that movement has any V&C connection because it isn't signed. Rather, I think the two movements likely have a common source, a LeCoultre ebauche.

    In post 20, I said that Tocanuck1's movement resembled an unsigned movement in an S. Cats PW in my collection, overlooking the even closer resemblance of my V&C.. Here are photos of my S. Cats.

    DSC02711.JPG z cats.jpg DSC02718.JPG
     
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  23. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Exactly Marty, if the owner took the picture its his. Thats what i am saying.
     
  24. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    Source: US Copyright Office, copyright.gov:

    Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:
    • Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: Courts look at how the party claiming fair use is using the copyrighted work, and are more likely to find that nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are fair. This does not mean, however, that all nonprofit education and noncommercial uses are fair and all commercial uses are not fair; instead, courts will balance the purpose and character of the use against the other factors below. Additionally, “transformative” uses are more likely to be considered fair. Transformative uses are those that add something new, with a further purpose or different character, and do not substitute for the original use of the work.
    • Nature of the copyrighted work: This factor analyzes the degree to which the work that was used relates to copyright’s purpose of encouraging creative expression. Thus, using a more creative or imaginative work (such as a novel, movie, or song) is less likely to support a claim of a fair use than using a factual work (such as a technical article or news item). In addition, use of an unpublished work is less likely to be considered fair.
    • Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: Under this factor, courts look at both the quantity and quality of the copyrighted material that was used. If the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely to be found; if the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely. That said, some courts have found use of an entire work to be fair under certain circumstances. And in other contexts, using even a small amount of a copyrighted work was determined not to be fair because the selection was an important part—or the “heart”—of the work.
    • Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: Here, courts review whether, and to what extent, the unlicensed use harms the existing or future market for the copyright owner’s original work. In assessing this factor, courts consider whether the use is hurting the current market for the original work (for example, by displacing sales of the original) and/or whether the use could cause substantial harm if it were to become widespread.
     
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