Wrist Conversions

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Dr. Jon, Aug 24, 2020.

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  1. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    What is the feeling among vintage wrist aficionados about pocket watch es which have lost their cases and been converted to wrist wear.

    For example how is a fine pendant watch re-cased as a wrist watch. How much modification is acceptable? Is an old original owner conversion regarded more highly than a contemporary new case and crown.
     
  2. Adam Harris

    Adam Harris Registered User
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    Personally - I follow all SWISS manufacturers opinion.
    Any time pieces that has been changed or modified from how it left the factory is now counterfeit.

    Watches that started life as a pocket watch and subsequently changed to a wristwatch is the worst type of piece and duly called a "FRANKEN" watch.
    Apart from the fact, it was never created by the OEM to look like that - pocket watch movements were not designed to be worn on a wrist due to shock protection and over large balance wheel

    A
     
  3. wicozani

    wicozani Registered User
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    I personally do not care for contemporary "marriage" wrist watches. I find the nice vintage movements clash with the generic stainless cases they typically are installed with. As you point out, however, some of these were recased very early, and some were probably never recased, given the penchant for American jewelry stores to offer the ebauche (movements) separately from the casework. It's not hard to appreciate that there was a significant period of overlap when you could have had your fine movement installed into either pocket or wrist watch casing; same movement. Then there is the widespread Russian practice of recasing pocket watch movements within wrist watch cases following WW1. See, for instance, examples attributed to either Pavel/Paul Bure/Buhre and Hy Moser. I find these quite appealing and they frequently appear smaller than 40mm in diameter, though most often in chromed metal casework.
     
  4. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    Personally, without going into a diatribe, I think if it's done with care and common sense it's fine.
     
  5. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Why not get some usefulness out of it instead of it sitting in a drawer?

    You can always case it back to a original.

    This was a recent webinar (Zoom meeting) from Chapter 160 in Boulder, Co. about a new company making a living at it.

    Don't get started unless you can watch it all,1 1/2 hours.

    Vortic's RT Custer Speaks Tuesday on ZOOM
     
  6. svenedin

    svenedin Registered User

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    #6 svenedin, Aug 24, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
    I think that's a very extreme option. I have a mid-19th century Swiss pocket watch movement that I acquired without a case. It's not signed but it is a good movement and very high grade for its era. Rather than that movement sitting for ever in a drawer I would like it re-cased. Actually, it is only really practical to re-case it as a pocket watch due to the fact that it is key-wind (could be done with a specially made wristwatch case) but if it had been crown wind I would consider it being re-cased as a wristwatch. It is not true that pocket watches did not have shock protection. The movement I refer to has a parachute shock protector. Much later pocket watches sometimes have incabloc shock protection.

    Picture 1: Pocket watch movement without case. Parachute shock protection


    s-l1600.jpg

    Pictures 2 and 3: Zenith pocket watch with incabloc shock protection

    9C1C5524-0660-421F-8434-03CAD5CE1C6E_1_201_a.jpeg
    IMG_5818.jpeg
     
  7. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Everyone has the right to their opinion.... and that is all that it is....THEIR opinion...... That does not make it gospel or right in any way.

    We are also talking about 2 era's or period of time.

    American and some European pocket watches were never sold in a case. The jeweler made some money on selling you a case of your choice.

    American watch companies started casing their watch in the 1920's, so we have about a 70 year period of any type of case being OK for the watch.


    The first part of Adams quote is correct for Factory cased watches where the case is part of the package.

    The second part of his statement is incorrect because cases were not part of the watch, they were separate items.

    A FRANKEN watch has NOTHING to do with the case. A FRANKEN watch is a watch that the plates or serialized parts have been switched around,thus, robbing the watch of it originally.
     
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  8. Adam Harris

    Adam Harris Registered User
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    As you say its an "opinion"
    Many of these FRANKEN pieces also have non original dials and of course cases.

    All SWISS OEM consider them as fakes - as do i. In other words I agree their opinion!

    A
     
  9. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    One of my favorite examples is the Hamilton 983 and 985. These were gorgeous 0 size bridge models originally made as ladies pendant watches. Hamilton did not make a lot of these but many of those they made went into wire lug cases to be trench watches. It is interesting too that these 983 officers wrist watches had movements labeled "Lady Hamilton".

    I concede that one example is short of proof, but my point is that untll after World War I makers did not seem to distinguish between wrist and pocket watch movements. Rolex did a huge amount of development to make wrist watches accurate and reliable and it seems to me that a conversion of Rolex pocket watch to a wrist watch especially a later movement is bit of bad thing, but it seems to me that conversion of pre 1914 pendant watches is something original owners could have reasonable done and in my view is a a better fate for a movement than a parts drawer.

    My view is that a wrist watch should be comfortable to wear so I am not a fan of the converted 16 and 18 size watches. To me part of beauty of a wrist watch is getting it all to fit into a size that is comfortable to wear. I also beleive that the very fine small Swiss movement made from the 1880's on set up the Swiss to dominate the wrist market. To me putting one of these into a wrist case, especially one without a case is a great thing to do.

    As to them being considered counterfeits, for the most part it means they will not service then, but in most examples they would not service them even it in original cases. many o fthese very fine small movements are by companies lone gone. I suspect that at the going restoration rates, the majors would happily service a recased watch. When I met with the restoration group at a very prestigious maker they told me that about 80% of hteor work is undoing previous batch work. They charge something like $500 an hour.

    I think counterfeit is a bit harsh for re-cased fine watches with display backs. A counterfeit is intended to deceive and I don't see this. The seller are very clear about what they are offering and what they have done,

    As a general historical matter it seems a bit two faced to those familiar with the very long history of Swiss fakes for the Swiss makers to be principled on counterfeits.
     
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  10. Adam Harris

    Adam Harris Registered User
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    fair response
     
  11. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    I'm not sure where it plays into the whole scheme of things, but pocket watches have been converted since the very early days of wrist watches; however the majority were likely still in original cases, albeit with lugs added or some type of conversion device. Waltham went so far as to offer ladies' watches with the disappearing eye as seen in this 1915 ad from Literary Digest courtesy of Google books.

    DSC06468.JPG DSC05807.JPG DSC05809.JPG Waltham PPIE award Literary Digest 1916-04-01.png
     
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  12. Tomxhar

    Tomxhar Registered User

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    If not done to deceive, I don't see why not.
    Many makers of these 'marriage' watches do a great job, and give life to old, unloved and often unwanted movements and parts.
    Look at RGM, a maker of some fine pieces. Some of the eBay sellers watches look good too.
     
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  13. Jeff Hess

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    Agree. Not my cup of tea, But back in the 80's we used to take beat up ladies Patek repeater pocket watches to our Friend Martin Braun and his father in Germany and he would make men's wrist repeaters out of them. But he would make a watch case/box to house the original case for historical purposes and for possible future reunification. Today, sadly, people scrap PAtek cases to make some pretty abysmal wrist watches out of them.

    But to each his own, I guess.
     
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  14. Adam Harris

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    #14 Adam Harris, Aug 24, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2020
    It is without doubt that pocket watches were 'the beginning of the wristwatch' first by British army officers who put a pocket watch in a leather wristlet as far back as 1877.
    These were few and far between, as it was seen as non masculine - but tell that to a fighting officer.

    Then turn of century "ladies' required a time piece that could be on their wrist rather than a 'chatelaine'

    But in most cases these were still obvious pocket watches, and ones usibg say a "lepine' movement that was made into a wristwatch 'started' and ended as it was meant to be - a watch worn on the wrist.

    Taking a pocket watch from 1900 aNd in 1990+ converting it into a wristwatch, new case, new crown and in many cases a horrible new dial, is in my opinion, completely wrong.
    The original piece now looks nothing like what it was intended for
    WORSE
    They are sold as "1880 Patek Wrist Watch!"
    A complete lie.
    Most conversions are done to deceive.


    Adam
     
  15. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    I'm a big guy and regularly wear a 42- 44mm watch during the summer. Converted 6497/8s. Salvaged movements from eBay lots. A good deal has been learned from working on them, and now they have a useful purpose. I have planned a few more for antique movements.

    Although the huge 16s watches are a bit too big for me, people obviously like them. I agree with Jim on this one ... Someone may as well get some use out of them. Cases are scrapped left and right, why not put them in a wristwatch case. No one is making pocket watch cases. The flimsy antique base metal display cases cost as much as a silver openfaced case.

    When someone trashes a perfectly good original pocket watch, or modifies a movement.. that's when I'm not a fan.

    What else are you going to do with these movements? Find pocket cases for them? Good luck.

    To each their own! Keep scrapping those cases and people will continue to find ways to case them back up.
     

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