Why don't we ever see.....

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by butlercreek, May 18, 2017.

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  1. butlercreek

    butlercreek Registered User
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    Mar 8, 2007
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    Any 16 or 18 size solid white gold cases?
     
  2. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Aug 26, 2000
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    I think I may have see a 16s or two but not an 18. Gold is prestige. I think people who bought gold cases didn't want their watches confused for cheap metal watches.
     
  3. rrstd

    rrstd Registered User
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    Feb 18, 2001
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    I seem to remember reading that white gold didn't really become popular for use in jewelry and watches until sometime in the 1920's. By that time, 18 size production had pretty much ended and the 16 size watches were being replaced by the smaller 10-12 sized models. At the same time, wrist watches were becoming much more popular.
     
  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I always think of white gold as entering with art deco. They rhodium plate it to get it extra white, otherwise it is always a bit yellow, and pocket watches are high wear so I would have thought not ideal.
     
  5. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    Agreed.
     
  6. butlercreek

    butlercreek Registered User
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    Agree to disagree :) my wife has a lot of Victorian and Edwardian filigree jewelry in 14 and 18k white gold (and platinum), so I know it was popular in the mid to late 1800's...
     
  7. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    I would add to this, that even though 16s watches continued to be produced for most of the 4 decades after 1920, they were increasingly 'working' watches, rather than dress watches. In the 1942 Elgin catalog, the 16s watches were billed as "Transportation" models - for railroaders and such. None were listed as available in solid gold cases. OTOH, the 12s and 10s dress watches were available in solid gold and platinum, in addition to gold filled.

    Funny thing about this thread, though, is that I just snagged a white gold filled, 16s BW Raymond Model case for a ~1928 Elgin 478 movement I'd bought.
     
  8. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    I can't speak to jewelry, but being very familiar with watches (and numerous period ads in the trade journals of the time) I can say that, as Rhett noted, white gold watch cases did not come into vogue until c. 1920. And by then 18s watches were disappearing in general and, as GeneJockey noted, 16s watches were (in general...there are always exceptions) no longer dress or for fancy occasions. Most white solid gold pocket watches are 12s (or 10s or 12 x 14s, etc.) from the 1920s and later. White gold-filled began appearing around the same time (1920s) and was certainly used for 16s cases but any such 16s in solid white gold are certainly scarce.
     
  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I'm surprised, is that an American thing? Here definitely platinum settings were used but mostly silver to set the diamonds off.
     
  10. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User
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    Oct 30, 2005
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    I have read the history on white gold some time ago out of interest and from memory it was not actually formally created until very late 1800's(around 1890 from memory) and one firm/name was seen to be the creator, it did not become mainstream used until early 1900's where more manufacturers started using it also. The story I read on white gold did basically say that if you see a genuine white gold stamped piece before 1910ish then it is an uncommon piece and really is a collectors item in its own right due to scarcity of use from 1890 to 1910. Even better is if you find the piece marked with the makers name, usually that company name that created the metal...I cannot remember that name from memory but it started with and S I believe. This is why you only see white gold become apparent in the 1920's in watches and Jewellery as it was not mainstream used until 1920's...and to reconfirm details with others stories here that have already been stated, in 1920's art deco period 12 and 10 size mens watches plus wristwatches were becoming the fashionable mainstream pieces. 18s pieces were not common and being phased out and 16s pieces were more for the worker (larger hardwearing) so soft solid gold pieces were not preferable in these 'working' watches, usually these pieces were in basemetal, silver or gold filled. As most people know here some 16s hamilton and illinois solid gold white, green, yellow cases were made in railroad style but were scarce and really a show pieces for well off 'people'.

    I do look at jewellery quite a bit and most white metal jewellery pieces I see prior to 1900 are usually platinum or sterling silver, very rare to see actual solid 'white gold' stamped as mentioned. If you have jewellery marked 14k and 18k gold that is prior to 1900 and is white in appearance check to see if it is actually 14k or 18k yellow gold has been rhodium plated or white gold plated to improve its look later in the 1920's or later as this was done quite a lot. If it is not stamped 'white gold' then question if it is. Very hard to tell unless you were to wear down the piece somewhere though. The rhodium plating of jewellery in later periods has also been mentioned and discussed on the TV show Antiques Roadshow in the past as well. The use of white gold really only started to be used in the later Belle Époque period (1890-1915) but still scarce then as platinum and silver was the preference. Once again white gold in jewellery or watches was only more mainstream in 1920's and later.

    More details on detail Victorian jewellery styles and metals used can be seen here and even breaks up the period of Victorian jewellery into three inner periods://www.gemsociety.org/jewelry-lapidary/antique-and-jewelry-history/

    You can see they do mention white gold is not used specifically in the Victorian period.
     
  11. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    Well I was going to say a lot would have disappeared in the 70s when gold shot up from $35 an ounce, I've seen plenty in gold, silver and occasionally in platinum, white gold can look too much like cheaper metal.
     
  12. topspin

    topspin Registered User

    Dec 14, 2014
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    Yes, I never quite got the point of "white gold". If someone is going to produce something in whitish/silvery-colour metal then why waste a load of perfectly good gold bulking it out?
     
  13. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    The only white precious metal that I see competing with white gold might be platinum. Other white metals either tarnish, or don't have the same luster and workability. I had the impression that when white gold was gaining popularity in the '20s it was a poor man's platinum. Today the tables seem to have turned as platinum is now cheaper than gold.
     
  14. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Super Moderator
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    Sep 3, 2000
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    great time to share one of my mega-rare white gold railroads.. 18k white gold no less. Sidney Y. Balls personal watch.
     

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  15. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User
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    What size / grade
     
  16. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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  17. PWfanatik

    PWfanatik Registered User
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    My vote is for the fact that Gold does not tarnish...
     
  18. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    I don't work on pocket watches, but I do have a reproduction of a 1927 Sears catalog. Every watch listed, pocket watch or wrist watch, ladies' or mens', is either nickel, nickel-plated, white gold or green gold, either solid or gold-filled. The only yellow gold case I found was on a Hamilton railroad watch.

    M Kinsler
     
  19. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Super Moderator
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    Sep 3, 2000
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    16 size 23j with governemnt timing certificate.
     
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