Yet another eagle hallmark on case question

WatchmakerWannaBe

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May 25, 2013
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OK, I have a very nice Columbia (Illinois I think), 18s pocket watch in a beautiful gold case.

At least, I suspect that it might be solid gold. There's only an eagle hallmark and a 4 digit serial number stamped on the inside rear lid. Here's a shot:

Eagle.jpg

There are no other markings on the case.

There's also no signs of brassing on the case and the whole thing has a softer feel to it - meaning the back lid and dust covers are not super rigid like a gold filled case. The back lid is also dinged in a couple of places and there's a hairline crack along the part of the outer edge of the back lid (I can see where someone has attempted to repair this circular split), and it appears to be solid gold all the way through the crack - to the extent that I can see it at least.

I am wondering if anyone has seen this particular version of the eagle hallmark and if so, what does it signify (if anything)? I've read that it signifies a 16KT case - but that was for a slightly different rendition of the eagle... I've also read that if an 18 stamp is found near the eagle but without the K (for 18K), then it is most likely 9KT gold... Any additional information is appreciated... 2 jewelers also tested this case and both said that it was 14 KT...one said maybe more.
 

Rayshawn David

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Sep 6, 2018
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Your case is 16k without a doubt and the cases with the eagle and 18 are not 9k they are 18k gold.I have the 18k eagle and its in fact 18k.
 

MartyR

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I'm no expert on American case markings, WWB, but my understanding is that without a clear maker's mark and/or a clear inscription which indicates that a case is solid gold (such as the words "assay" or "solid gold", then it is safer to assume that the case is not solid gold.

I personally would never rely on an acid test (if that's what you have had done) by any jeweler because acid tests are very easy to get wrong unless the tester virtually destroys the case. If you have had the case electronically tested, then that would be reliable.

And finally, there is no way that you could tell visually in a crack whether a case is solid gold.

At the very least, there is no way that an eagle mark alone is conclusive. You should ask yourself why anyone selling a solid gold case would want to leave doubt in the buyer's mind ;)
 

Rayshawn David

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Ok so here is a fahys permanent case that is testing 9k electronically but no one on this sits has explained this,I took a fahys permanent case once to a jeweler amd he immediately said it was gold filled and he went by the listings online so it proves him wrong and that alone led me to believe that u cant go by the markings.he also pulled out a 14k assay and tested it and it turned out to be gold filled,im not trying to prove anybody wrong im just saying something isn't right and needs to be explained

s-l400.jpg
 

Bila

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With that type of electronic tester it is highly possible you could be getting a false reading especially with gold filled cases that have a heavy thickness of gold plating on both sides of the brass center material.
 

Tom McIntyre

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I do not own one of these. Can someone say which ones really work? The Auracle AGT1 plus seems to get the best accuracy reviews from a quick on line search.
 

Harvey Mintz

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I own one of these testers, and they can easily be fooled by a thick layer of gold on the better gold filled cases. However, if you do the test in the same spot several times, it will penetrate the gold layer and identify the metal as Not Gold. There are easier ways to detect solid gold (I personally prefer the "ring" test - you tap the open case lid on a ring [I use my wedding band] - if it has a ringing sound, it's solid; if it make a thud sound, it's filled. Note that this will tell you if it's solid, but will tell you NOTHING about the karatage).

This test is based on the fact that a uniform piece of metal will vibrate differently than a piece of metal composed of layers of different material.
 

Stephen Matusek

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I have an 18s Waltham 1857 in a sterling case with a 4 digit serial number but I don't know who makes the case. I know in the Complete Price Guide to Watches it does mention a case with an eagle inside the case lid but that's all I know about it.
As for a gold tester, I have an Auracle AGT1 plus & it tests pretty accurately but I have never tried it on anything gold filled or gold plated.

Steve
 

sandlapper

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Have you looked under the crystal cuvette for any markings? I would not be surprised if it was a Ladd case with that trademark.
 

Clint Geller

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I have owned early keywind cases for both Howard's and Walthams that were clearly solid gold but were not marked as such. Some of them had enough wear on them that any non-gold underlayer would have been evident. As I recall, one of these acid tested as 16K, rather than 18K, but many early case makers cheated that way. Eagle markings had nothing to do with metal composition. They were an expression of pride in a product of at least allegedly American manufacture.
 

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