When is a watch considered "extremely rare?"

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by mikelikeswatches, Feb 26, 2017.

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  1. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    Ben, I wouldn't necessarily disagree that originality was an aspect of rarity. The problem is, as Jerry pointed out, that the great majority of completely original watches cannot be definitively distinguished from completely period and model - correct watches. Numbered parts help, of course, and occasionally one gets a matching case and movement serial number. As for dials, unless the dial has a serial number, or it is personalized in a manner that matches the movement - which is very rare - there's no way of knowing for sure that a dial is truly original. Ditto for hands. On the other hand, if we are talking about a dial or other part that came off of another similar watch that is truly identical to the original dial or other part, then the difference between it and the original dial is almost metaphysical.
     
  2. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Yikes, I wasn't expecting to have to mount a defense of this one but OK ...

    - the gilt finish appears correct and unaltered
    - the style and execution of the engraving is consistent with similar era Lancaster
    - I bought it several years ago at a small antique event in central Florida at no evident premium to its price for the unusual marking
    - I'm not aware of a booming market for faking 10 jewel Lancasters

    So I'll go out on a limb here and be the one to say that it wasn't engraved last week.
     
  3. John Cote

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    :cuckoo: :screwball: :cop:

    This is a hoot...but I think Dave said that tongue firmly planted in cheek?
     
  4. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I like the "rabbit hole", that's why we are all here. Keeps it exciting.


    Rob
     
  5. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    For sure John, and no defense necessary Fred! We've got to make that wink emoticon easier to see!
     
  6. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Fred's watch may be "Unique" but is it unique?
     
  7. Tom McIntyre

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    I think there must be a companion 11 jewel example marked Common. :excited:
     
  8. Fred Hansen

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    #108 Fred Hansen, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
    No worries Dave and I should have known. That wink is even harder to see from an iPhone ...:^
     
  9. Fred Hansen

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    #109 Fred Hansen, Mar 6, 2017
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    Great question Greg and I'd think highly probable it's not. Until we see another though it's hard to say.

    I do like Tom's idea for an 11 jewel marked "Common" ... :chuckling:
     
  10. MartyR

    MartyR Super Moderator
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    That one will never sell on Ebay :excited:
     
  11. diveboy

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  12. Jerry Treiman

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    Diveboy :???:??
    Can you explain your post?
     
  13. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I didn't bother to ask.
    what may have been said but I'll say it anyway.. is how rare is it? Have you ever seen another? then it is rare, for you.
    POV is the place you are standing in. If you are one who sees rare watches all the time, then none of them are rare.
     
  14. diveboy

    diveboy Registered User

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    Well, 5 digit number serial number for starters.

    Font used for the Elgin, I've never seen before.

    Rare? Valuable? Or just another Elgin?
     
  15. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I blocked your photo, therefore I didn't see it.

    And since I only ever see bottom grade Elgins, why would I bother?

    To me, they are a cut below average because that is what I see of Elgins.. we talk of rare watches.. low grade Elgins are not rare here.

    if i was to see five digits, I'd want the Elgin watch to look like no Elgin I'd ever seen before.
    as for Elgins. they are everywhere, as common as Timex.
     
  16. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    #116 roughbarked, Mar 7, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017

    fair enough. I've never seen an Elgin like this in 56 years of looking at watches. But, you have two numbers .. one which you have cut to precisely five numbers.
    please show us all of it?
     
  17. diveboy

    diveboy Registered User

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    Why bother, it's a wonder people try to add to discussions here.

    Jerry you know where to find me if you want to discuss more on this one.
     
  18. Jim Haney

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    diveboy,
    Actually you have hijacked this thread by posting a cheap watch.

    Are you showing 2 Elgin movements? In either case, they would not be considered rare by any stretch of the term.
     
  19. pmwas

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    Oh my... it's not said 'expensive watches only' in this thread, maybe you should clarify it in the title. No offence meant, but I don't see it that a cheap (or once cheap) watch can't now be rare.
    Don't make a mistake, I admit this Elgin shown is no candidate for this thread, simply because it's not rare, and even if it's the only example marked like this by (for example) a factory error (I'm referring to the 5 digit weird serial number), noone would care at all, except maybe the die-hard Elgin researchers. meaning - no matter what it's just another ordinary Elgin.
    On the other hand, the question is justified and the answer should be short and conclude the subject.

    As for scarce watches - I think this 16 size USWCo is probably the scarcest piece I have...
    I'm not sure, but it seems so...

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Tom McIntyre

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    Wayne Schlitt who built the ElginWatches.org web site got interested in Elgins because of the factory in Lincoln Nebraska where, I think, he lived. I wonder if the very late low digits number would be associated with the Lincoln plant? All of the American factories had gone to the shorter numbers (most often with a letter prefix) by the time the Lincoln plant was built.
     
  21. diveboy

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    Hijacked?

    I believe the thread title is "When is a watch considered "extremely rare?""

    The Elgin I posted is from a period when the serial numbers should be in the range of 28 to 36 million.

    To have a cheap Elgin from that period with only a 5 digit serial number is extremely rare as per the title of the thread.

    I have other extremely rare Elgins but you have made it clear I should not share them here as they are just cheap Elgins.

    You wonder why NAWCC membership is declining? This thread is the perfect example of why.
     
  22. 179

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    By the time this Elgin 18/0 wrist watch was built, the 1920s. production was over 20 million. It is a shortened ser. number. Later in production (1940s+) they used a letter prefix to indicate the million. If Elgin made this 18/0 movement in the 1860s, that would really be the R word!
     
  23. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    RE: "I have other extremely rare Elgins but you have made it clear
    I should not share them here as they are just cheap Elgins. "

    I would love to see rare Elgin pocket watches, but I don't collect wrist watches.

    Rob
     
  24. Tom McIntyre

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    I have an opinion, unfettered by knowledge, that since Elgin traditionally blocked out very large ranges of numbers, the watch in question is one of a block of 100,000 where they did not bother with the letter prefix because all of the model was in that run. Since this was likely during the downhill slide, they probably did not make them all. However, if 10,001 was the first in this block, it looks like they made at least 12,000 of them.
     
  25. rolandantrobus

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    #125 rolandantrobus, Mar 7, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    OK how about this. A 16 jewel Waltham P S Bartlett in 16size. I've never come across a 16 j in this size only 17 j . I can't post pictures because its not mine and is currently for sale on ebay. From a run of asst specials.
    Maybe rare but would it be worth more than a 17 j ??
     
  26. Jerry Treiman

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    Well, I suppose it was a good thing to get my blood pumping this morning. First I want to say that as a 45-year member of NAWCC I am embarassed by some of the rude comments this morning. Diveboy - please don’t take this as representative. Whenever you have a board with over 72,000 members and over a million posts there are going to be some that rub us the wrong way. But you have certainly not “hijacked this thread”, unless the diversion to a possibly uncommon wristwatch model is hijacking. Jim - you can send me your cheap 7-jewel Hamiltons if they bother you.

    With dive boy's Elgin, I recognized the abbreviated serial number and plain finish but since most of us in this American Pocket Watches forum are less familiar with wristwatches the post did need some explanation (at least for me). Abbreviated serial numbers are very common with later Waltham wristwatches so that did not raise a flag for me. Waltham also went through periods with plainer finishing so that, too, did not grab my attention. Some explanation and context would have helped. Are there any production estimates?

    Yes, many of us have been posting higher-grade watches because, in general, they are lower production and some of the variants can be uncommon (and nice eye-candy), but there certainly are uncommon to “rare” lower grade watches. ... and despite the snobbery of some, cheap watches can be interesting.

    Elgin made a number of different export models (pocket watches) that are “cheap” 7j or 11j models, but they are certainly interesting! Just look at Luis Casillas’ research and presentation on these - https://www.slideshare.net/LuisCasillas4/early-elgin-export-watches-18701888 Roughbarked - if you are ignoring “bottom grade Elgins” you may be missing some real gems.

    E. Howard Watch Co. made a cheap 7-jewel export model - the Climax - that is not seen very often on this side of the pond and there may have been only a few hundred made. We are not really sure of production quantities yet and there is still research to be done here.

    We really don’t know yet how many of the many other export models are “rare”, but I am glad to see some of our international members taking note of the various export pieces from Waltham. I hope to learn more about these. The overseas trade from our big watch manufacturers is an interesting chapter in horological history.
     
  27. Bill Manders

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    #127 Bill Manders, Mar 7, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    Hi,
    I am wondering if my Elgin 18s Gr. 150 in 20 jewel is considered scarce - rare or what. I realize that the run was a 1000 but apparently only the first 100 were 20 jewel ??
    I agree that rarity could be an inexpensive watch, or a very valuable watch, cost generally does not make rare.
    In the same breath I think that the wrist watches have their own section and this was in the pocket watch section, keeping in mind a lot of us do not collect wrist watches.
    Bill
     
  28. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    In general, I think making assumptions about rarity, without the necessary footwork, will result in less than tender responses. With that said, I don't mind what anyone posts, and the Elgin WW movement is a fair example of what's not rare, by example, for learning and discussion. But that's just me ...

    As far as what I may have that might be considered both *rare and desirable* (versus rare / odd, and of probably no real consequence, of which I have quite of few of those ...) - is this "early keywind". The regulator arm was moved for the pic to reveal the source of the watch ... :)

    [​IMG]
     

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  29. Jerry Treiman

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    Dave - is that Omega considered rare based on quantity produced or quantity surviving? I haven't paid attention to these so I have no idea.
     
  30. Dave Chaplain

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    Hi Bill,

    I can't say if *rare* would be the right word, but I can say that a 20J grade 150 would be *desireable* to me! Here's what Wayne Schlitt had to say about the 20-21J gr 150 and gr 149 runs:

    grade total runs first yr last yr class size code jewels Adj/name
    ----- ----- ----- -------- ------- ----- ---- ------ ------ ----------
    149 9600 11-1 1895 1903 1 18s hfn2l 20-21j Adj / - 149 FT
    150 7816 28-1 1895 1899 7 18s ofn5p 20-21j A-A5P / - FT 150

    If only the 1st 100 in in the first of 28 grade 150 runs, and only the 1st 100 in the first of 11 grade 149 runs are 20J, then 100 of each would be scarce, but probably not qualify as rare.

    Dave
     
  31. Dave Chaplain

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    Hi Jerry,

    The Omega museum curator was perplexed by it, and asked that I consider them if I ever wanted to part with it. And I've seen a total of one other, anywhere including on the internet, in auction sales, etc., in about 15 years of looking. So I don't know that anyone knows how many were produced, or can guess how many may have survived.

    All I know is that at least two exists today!

    Dave
     
  32. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Bill - The 20 jewel version of the Grade 150 is scarce and these are terrific watches, but from what I've seen it seems the majority of the first run (the 1000 watches from 6349001-6350000) were 20 jewel. Here's pics of 20 jewel serial #6349522 which I owned a few years ago ...

    [​IMG][​IMG]



    I've never seen a 20 jewel 150 that wasn't from this first run. So I think the production is something a bit below 1000 but is quite a bit more than 100.
     

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  33. Fred Hansen

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    Dave - I haven't studied Omega much but am sure that I haven't seen a keywind keyset like that. Very cool piece!
     
  34. roughbarked

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    10. The most obscure Elgins? • This is one of a group of Elgin watches that are very obscure because: • They often don’t say “Elgin” anywhere visible; • They were exported abroad; • The plates are often not the same as USA Elgins; • Most are fairly low grade and thus don’t draw much attention to themselves.


    > I've seen some of these.
     
  35. Clint Geller

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    #135 Clint Geller, Mar 7, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    Just by the way, E. Howard & Company keywind movement Serial Number 185, formerly in the Don Wing Collection, is a very rare and valuable seven jewel watch! It is one of only two seven jewel Howard watches I have ever seen or heard of.
     
  36. Clint Geller

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    Here is another "rare" seven jewel watch, this one a Waltham P. S. Bartlett Grade Model 1857 (obviously, nothing rare so far) that was presented in 1862 to Sergeant James A. Sage by his unit, Company B of the 25th Michigan Infantry (a.k.a. the "Green Mountain Boys"), a distinguished fighting unit. The watch might have been given to Sage as a form of enlistment bounty (which were common) when the regiment was formed. The future First Lt. Sage's military career ended at the Battle of Utoy Creek (part of the Battle of Atlanta) in August, 1864 when he was wounded (but not fatally) in the thigh.
     

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  37. Vince Schweiger

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    Clint
    The Remington watch you referred to has other several unique features which add to its rarity (scarcity). The diamond push feature that releases either lid given the direction of the bow is very unusual for American watches according to some very well educated collectors. Philo was Remington's eldest son and ran the company during the civil war when the company was known as Remington and Son. ("Son" being Philo) Prior to that it was Remington Arms and after Remington and Sons. The rarity as a watch also includes the rarity to other forms of collecting, including civil war, firearms, Remington, and history collectors. The current appraised value by the Remington Gun Collecting group is $35,000 to $50,000. (And yes offers in that range were made) I don't believe value is a determining factor of a rare watch, but it does indicate limited supply and demand. I don't know if this assists this post or not.

    I would consider Gold Ball straight in-lines to be rare, and be in high demand if more people were aware of what they actually were or even have seen one in person. Jeff Hess's in-line that belonged to Sydney Ball would be exceptional rare given uniqueness of both the watch and its previous owner.

    I handle an an exceptional scarce wrist watch last weekend that is now headed to the Buliva headquarters museum. It was an 18k Phantom advertised as the thinnest LCD watch ever made. It is thinner than the leather band it is on. They were so thin that most cases simply snapped once the band was tightened too tight. Only 28 were made in karat. Buliva estimates that less than five exist due to the ones returned damaged beyond repair. The question then is - is a watch rare when only a handful survive a larger original run?
     
  38. Vince Schweiger

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    I forgot to add that Buliva did not have a complete example of the Phantom. This example came with its original box. The rep has worked for the company for 30 years and was not familiar with this model. I might say that watch is rare given these facts.
     
  39. Clint Geller

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    #139 Clint Geller, Mar 8, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
    Hi Vince, I remember the Philo Remington Howard pretty well. I held it in my hand once or twice when my old friend, the late Dick Flaute, owned it, and then again at the J&H auction preview where he sold it. (I was the back bidder that day. I dairy farmer from Olyphant PA bought it. He was a gun collector, and he wanted it more than I did. I believe he is deceased now, too.) And yes, the diamond in the pusher and the "magic bow" case are both nice features.
     
  40. Vince Schweiger

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    Clint
    I bought it. It is in my collection with three Ball straight in-line watches.
     
  41. Clint Geller

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    Here is an example of a watch that is not rare (though very desirable), except for one extremely rare feature. It is a Howard L Size hunting case (Model 1895-L-HC, or Series XI) split plate in a very nice apparently original gold case. Who here can spot the one extremely rare and significant feature of this watch? Answer to follow.

    So how would one assess the "rarity" of a watch like this?
     

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  42. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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  43. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    Good eye, Fred. I have heard one unconfirmed report of another gold train Howard split plate, that one allegedly with 21 jewels, but those are the only two early Howard movements with solid gold trains of which I am aware. Perhaps significantly, the movement shown, S# 601,101, is the first and only split plate movement listed in the factory records as "Thin Model." I'm not sure what that means, as I haven't had an opportunity to compare the plate thickness of this movement to those of earlier or later examples from the run, but the factory seems to have lavished some extra attention on the finishing of this one movement.

    So is this watch "rare?"
     
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