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Author Topic: Master Pocketwatch Thread  (Read 326221 times)
stevepoppers
Swab

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« Reply #1575 on: October 23, 2010, 09:28:11 am »

Is anyone else missing Harold? I've read the whole thread and he's been oddly absent the last few pages. Sad, as I've developed plans to purchase a 992 movement on it's own and find a case for it in whatever fashion happens to suit me. Problem is, I don't know how to tell if the case will fit the movement. As other knowledgeable people have popped up in his absence, would anyone care to advise me?
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stevepoppers
Swab

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« Reply #1576 on: October 23, 2010, 09:30:34 am »

Also, holy crap, I learned a LOT! Thanks Harold!

...How do I edit posts?
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Darkhound
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« Reply #1577 on: October 23, 2010, 04:16:03 pm »

The Hamilton 992 is a 16 size movement, so an American 16 size case would fit, but casing a watch is not a simple project. Get expert help!

When you look at your own posts, there is a "modify" button in the upper left corner, beside the "quote" button that appears in all posts. Just click on it to rewrite your post. You can quote any post, including your own, but you can only modify your own.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 04:21:39 pm by Darkhound » Logged

"Stupidity is a curse with which even the Gods struggle in vain. Ignorance we can fix."
stevepoppers
Swab

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« Reply #1578 on: October 23, 2010, 09:23:18 pm »

As far as editing, I just don't see the button. I'm not new to internet forums either.

I figured the size, but that's about it. I worry about things like stem depth and lever position and anything else that might not be too obvious. I also figured I'd need an expert to service it and put it all together, but I hope I can at least source the parts myself: movement, case, dial, hands. Shouldn't be too hard with ebay.

Thanks.
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watch_guy
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« Reply #1579 on: October 25, 2010, 01:40:34 am »

Actually, casing a watch isn't too difficult.

On any lever set watch(such as the 992), stem depth really doesn't matter as long as the stem is deep enough to engage the winding arbor and not too deep to bottom out and keep the watch from going in the case fully. The difference between these two extremes on a 16s Hamilton is about 3mm, which is more adjustment than many cases provide.

The only potentially tricky part is that the set lever is a little bit higher on 16s Hamiltons than on Elgins and Walthams, so it may be necessary to open up the lever slot a bit. This is a quick job with a good needle file.

All that said, though, I would very strongly encourage you to buy a complete watch with everything original(or at least period correct). 992s were made for about 30 years, and styles changed a whole lot over that time. An early 1900s 992 would have been fitted in a high-pendant cases that was probably plain polished or at most had a reeded edge. The dial probably would have been signed "Hamilton Watch Company" in script. The hands would probably be fine spades, or a similar delicate hand style, and the numbers and dial markers would be fairly fine. A 1930s 992 would be in a stylized short pendant case, with bold spade hands and bold markers on a dial signed "Hamilton."

Putting a watch together "to your taste" would probably result an historically incorrect abomination that looks horrible to anyone who knows something about watches.

Plus, there's a good financial reason to just buy a complete watch. Here's a basic breakdown for what you'd pay buying in pieces:

992 Movement $100-200
Double Sunk "Hamilton" dial $25-75(depending on condition and dial style)
Matching Spade hands-$25/set
Good gold-filled 16s OF case(ready to use)$40-100

By contrast, you can buy really nice and ready to go 992s all day for $250.
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stevepoppers
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #1580 on: October 25, 2010, 11:40:56 am »

While I understand where you're coming from insofar as historical accuracy goes, that's just not what I'm going for.

Is it possible to put it in a hunter case?

I've also read that one can make a faux-salesman's case. I was thinking of doing this with a triple-hinge hunter so I could pop it open and watch the movement tick whenever the urge strikes. As I look now, however, it doesn't appear possible to switch out the dust cover with a second crystal. Could it be?

Really, what does it matter what case I put the movement in and what dial it has and whether or not it says "Hamilton Watch Co." and is double sunk? It's my watch, and I want to be special to me. I'm not going for anything historical, just something I want and into which I happen to want to put a nice movement.

I do understand how it feels if you're that dedicated to the historical accuracy, but I swear I'm just thinking of changing the colors to reflect my alma mater: a simple blue and gold in the kind of case I prefer. Everything but the movement could be new for all I care, which might actually make you feel better, wouldn't it? Nothing bright, obnoxious, no overdone stylistic patterns, no skulls, no crosses, nothing crazy or eccentric or excessive or even stylish. Plain gold hunter case, blue dial, with gold markings (at least that's the best contrast pattern I can come up with). I just want the watch I want with the movement I want. I'm not planning on recreating history badly. I'm not planning on recreating it at all. Just using it for the future, I guess. I don't want to do this wrong, but then again, I don't want to do it at all. I want to do something different, which would be to use a hundred year old, famous, reliable piece of time-keeping equipment in a new fashion to create something meaningful to me. I just want my watch, and I hear that the 992s are the best there was. So why would I go for anything less?

I'm not exactly sure why I feel such a need to defend myself in the respect, but I feel pretty looked down upon in the purist's view. Understandable, but jeez, this is a steampunk forum, the whole concept of which is an anachronism. It's still going to be a nice watch... I just don't want that watch. I want the machinery inside that watch in my watch.

I seem off to a great start here, dont I? Sorry, but I'd like you to understand without disdaining me.
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watch_guy
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« Reply #1581 on: October 26, 2010, 03:47:48 am »

Perhaps you and I won't ever agree on this. Yes, I am a purist-I make no apologies for it.

I have absolutely zero interest in steampunk in any way, shape, or form. I'm a watchmaker and a serious collector and student American watchmaking, and thus I do not like anything that alters the historical value of a piece.

That said, though, I'll try and answer your questions.

It is mechanically possible to put a 992 in a hunting case, although it wouldn't be correct since the winding stem would be at 12:00 instead of 3:00(where it normally is on a hunter).

If you want a hunter, you'd be better off with a 993 movement. 993s are mechanically equivalent to a 992, but have the winding stem placed correctly for a hunting case. There's also the 991, which is the hunting cased equivalent of the 990. The 990 is, in turn, a refined version of the 992, with a full gold train and some other nice upgrades(mechanical and cosmetic). 993s aren't as common as 992s, but they're certainly around.

I know of no glassback hunters that were made. Some Dudleys came in "reverse hunter" open face cases that had a crystal over the movement, but this is the closest I know of. It might be possible to remove the dust cover, and then turn it to accept a crystal. This is a very tricky operation, though, and it's difficult to correctly reinstall the dust cover and have the hinges work correctly. Most dust covers(whether gold, gold filled, or silver) are very thin and it would be extremely tricky to turn the crystal seat correctly.

I'm not sure where you're going to get a dial as you describe. Hamilton, to my knowledge, made very few fancy dials. Dials are not really interchangeable between manufacturers, as the dial feet are in different positions. Dial feet can be moved, but it's not easy to do correctly, and even when done correctly caries a very large risk of damaging the dial. This is compounded further by the fact that early 16 size Hamiltons(serial numbers under about 1,000,000 or so) require a dial with four feet-no other American or Swiss watch made before or since has had more than three feet.

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stevepoppers
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #1582 on: October 27, 2010, 12:34:18 am »

If you're completely disinterested in steampunk, I'm vexed at your presence here. Understandably so, I hope, and I don't mean to offend by that.

Oh, look there's a complete 993 on ebay right now for only $875. Lucky me! (Yeah, right...)

You have successfully stalled me. I'm not sure quite what I'm going to do now. I still want the watch I described, and had figured I'd have to go full custom on a new dial anyway. Are there any modern watchmaker's that could be trusted to produce a watch anywhere as accurate and lasting? I suppose I can assume their products are prohibitively expensive?

In lighter news, I got an 1891 Waltham from ebay. Serial #5643195. Arrived today. My first antique pocket watch. Astoundingly nice. I haven't opened it up to see the movement, considering I don't have the right tools. Anyone have any more info than is on the NAWCC search? http://www.nawcc-info.org/walthamdb/LookupSN.asp Also, one of the jewels is reportedly replaced with a brass replacement. Ticks so loudly and keeps pretty good time so far. This thing is a world apart from the $10 Chinese one I got a few weeks ago. The crystal needs a lot of work, or possibly replaced, but that's just a cosmetic quip.





I am repeatedly astonished by it's age.
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watch_guy
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United States United States


« Reply #1583 on: October 27, 2010, 02:25:01 am »

That looks like a very nice Waltham.

You're lucky that you have a case for it. 1888 model Walthams require a special case(they're actually a little larger than 16 size), and thus casing an uncased movement is extremely difficult. I have a couple of beautiful high-grade model 1888s model 1888 movements, but don't have any cased.

There should be a small lip at around 11:00 or 1:00 on the back of the case. Just put your fingernail here and the back should pop right open. There will probably be another cover under it that opens in the same way.

I'd just about bet money on your case being sterling silver-if so it's a very nice find in and of itself.

You can do a LOT better than $875 on a 993-keep your eyes open.
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stevepoppers
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #1584 on: October 27, 2010, 06:56:58 am »

Well, I certainly feel lucky now!

I can pop the cover off, but there is indeed a dust cover, on which I bent back my fingernail in my attempts. Same with the crystal. Ouch.

And nope, it's silveroid! Probably couldn't have afforded it were it silver.

There are a few engravings which make it appear as though it were a family watch for at least a generation or two.




Pics taken under normal light in macro mode with my Nikon Coolpix s70. Damn, this thing kicks ass.

Actually, I just tried the dust cover with some really gentle work with a particularly thin yet stiff kitchen knife and voila! It is a beauty to behold. The auction pictures didn't do it justice.












Sorry it gets a little redundant at the end, but each pic captured something slightly different about the inside of the movement. You can see the replaced jewel in what appears to me to be the 2nd wheel. Most of the screws are a brilliant, shiny blue, as well as the hairspring. Does that mean they're new? There's only one case screw, but it doesn't look like any other is missing. The balance looks really nice to me: two pieces, bimetallic, lots of screws. A possible concern is the red, rusty color on the inside of the balance wheel. What can you say about that?

In a similar fashion I opened the crystal. Nothing too special, but much nicer than it looks through the crystal.



Well, I'm very happy with this little piece of history. Heirlooms incoming soon. Hopefully at least one is mechanical. What does anyone know of Remington watches?
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Pike
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« Reply #1585 on: October 27, 2010, 03:36:16 pm »

Most of the screws are a brilliant, shiny blue, as well as the hairspring. Does that mean they're new?

That's called "blued screws"-- steel, when heated to a certain temperature, will turn blue like that.

You have a beautiful movement there!  Smiley
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stevepoppers
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #1586 on: October 27, 2010, 05:49:16 pm »

I wouldn't think it would retain the color once cooled. It's been a summer or two since I've played with hot steel though, so I could be rusty. (YEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!)

Most of the screws are a brilliant, shiny blue, as well as the hairspring. Does that mean they're new?
You have a beautiful movement there!  Smiley

I think so too, but I'm only so lucky as to be the current owner.

I'm slightly less pleased with it since it stopped ticking when I picked it up this morning. It didn't tick after winding it either. It started up after a gentle shake (nothing atypical of being in a pocket), though, so I guess it just needs serviced. I was thinking of interrogating some local jewelry stores about their servicing practices, but what ought I be charged for it and what would any of you recommend doing with it?
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watch_guy
Deck Hand
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United States United States


« Reply #1587 on: October 27, 2010, 06:23:06 pm »

Steel heated to 570 farenheit(or so) will form an oxide that takes on a blue color. This is how screws, springs, and hands on a watch are traditionally blued.

1888 Model Walthams only have one case screw, and a locating pin that fits into the case rim roughly opposite the case screw. They also have a detent stem, something which is very unique for an American watch.

The replacement brass bushing is on the 3rd wheel. The second wheel is the center wheel, and the first wheel the mainspring barrel.
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watch_guy
Deck Hand
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United States United States


« Reply #1588 on: October 28, 2010, 11:49:20 pm »

Here's a Hamilton 991 on Ebay that's not labeled as such on the movement or in the listing-might be a good chance to get one at a good price.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-21-JEWEL-HAMILTON-LEVER-SET-POCKET-WATCH-/360314189693?pt=Pocket_Watches&hash=item53e466377d
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Ms Fisher
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« Reply #1589 on: January 19, 2011, 10:19:43 pm »

Hi

I have a hunter pocket watch (from e-bay) in desperate need of a new case. I'm pretty sure its lever set lever wound.
Anyone know how I'd find it one? Is my best bet a  watch repair place, and if so does anyone have any in the midlands near leicester/nottingham/birmingham?

Thank you
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #1590 on: February 14, 2011, 02:24:32 pm »

I have just bought a pocket watch which has a three hinged case (front, back and inner back) and is labelled on the face J.G.Graves Sheffield. Graves apparently was a for runner of mail order at the back end of the 19th C and became a great philanthropist in Sheffield. The watch appears to wind and work with a pleasantly asthmatic tick! It has a key and two holes in the inner back cover, one in the centre to set the time and one off centre to wind it. The number is 711022 and it also has a number 0.935 stamped in the lid. It is hallmarked but I cannot work out what they mean (can barely distinguish them). I'll update this post with pictures later but in the meantime does anybody know anything about this type of watch or how to begin to date it. Also I can't open the inner back cover, it shows a little bending damage so there may be a knack to it! On the dial, the writing is in a a very flowing script and it does not say 'The "Express" English Lever' which most of the pictures on Google do, instead it is a Swiss Made movement according to the dial.
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Darkhound
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« Reply #1591 on: February 14, 2011, 05:31:30 pm »

Might that be 0.925? That would be the continental mark for sterling. As J. G. Graves was in Sheffield, the case was probably hallmarked at Birmingham. Given that, the hallmarks should be an anchor (Birmingham Proof House), a lion passant (Sterling Silver), and a date letter. British proof houses use date letters to keep the stamp small (it has to fit on the stems of teaspoons, etc.). They change the font and style every 25 years or so, and run through the alphabet within that block. So you need the proof house, the shape of the stamp, the font and the actual letter to look up the date.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #1592 on: February 14, 2011, 07:09:18 pm »

Thank you Darkhound but definately 0.935, stamped centrally with an elongated hexagonal border round it. The stamps are a lion (or bear?) rampant which appears to be repeated ~ 1/4" to the side. Above that is a small shield with again what looks like a lion rampant, all facing left. There is no letter stamp but at the top of the lid is what looks like a 6 impressed into the metal. I'll probably have to wait til tomorrow to do photos in natural day light, the silver is quite reflective! There are quite a lot of scratches and dirt marks inside the lid but I don't want to start cleaning until I know what I am dealing with. Still clanking away and has gained nearly one minute compared to my PC clock between 1:00pm and now (6:07pm) ie ~1 minute in 5 or 6 hours. Quite pleased with that!

EDIT
I had it in my pocket and it stopped at 7:20 pm, so probably needs some attention! I re-wound it at 23:07 and it only took just less that one turn, so it only ran for just over 7 hours but did not run down it just stopped! Started again after re-winding so I'll reset time and see how long it runs for this time. Had a browse through hallmarks and have to assume that the watch is plate and the marks inside are faux - but there again I didn't really expect solid silver for £60!

« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 12:11:41 am by Angus A Fitziron » Logged
watch_guy
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United States United States


« Reply #1593 on: February 15, 2011, 02:00:58 am »

Many English watches are fitted in what's called a consular case, or a swingout case as we know it in American.

Basically, to get to the movement, you will first remove the bezel, which should pop or hinge off. Once this is off, you will see a catch at 6:00, which you push in with your thumb. The movement will then swing out via a hinge at 12:00.

English sterling hallmarks consist of at least three markings. The first is the lion, which denotes sterling silver. The second is the assay office stamp-there are a dozen or so different of these, depending on the city in which the piece was assayed. The third is the date letter. Date letters run in a roughly 40 year cycle(capital and lower case letters), after which either the font or cartouche is changed. These are unique to the assay office.

Sometimes, there is also a tax stamp, and a maker's stamp should be present also.

If you don't have at least the first three markings, the case is not English sterling silver.

One of the best online hallmark resources I've found is www.925-1000.com
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1594 on: February 17, 2011, 04:04:46 am »

.935 was fairly common in Europe (and Germany especially), and the lion rampant was also used in Germany frequently.  If it <is> German, and it doesn't have a "crown and crescent" stamp, then it's from before 1888. 
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Darkhound
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« Reply #1595 on: February 17, 2011, 08:26:09 pm »

Aha! J. G. Graves imported the whole watch from Switzerland! Bear rampant = fine silver watch case, 0.935 = 93.5% silver, Lion Rampant unknown, but likely a maker's mark.  This marking style ran 1882 to 1934.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #1596 on: February 17, 2011, 09:32:38 pm »

So, here it is...






This one above shows some damage to the inner back where someone has previously tried to lever it open.

Inside of inner back cover

I'll try to enlarge a picture of the hallmark - it certainly looks like a bear rampant to me under a magnifying glass.
Edit: couple of enlargements of outer case stamps.


« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 10:46:20 pm by Angus A Fitziron » Logged
Dr. Nikola
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« Reply #1597 on: February 20, 2011, 11:49:50 pm »

Could one of the experts here please help me identify this pocket watch (sans crystal) which I bought in a bag of broken watches at an antique store?  It measures 1 15/16 inches, and the internal face is 7/8 inch.  Very ugly, but also very different, to me anyway!
http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/184675_10150099798148533_571253532_6501002_7217974_n.jpg


« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 11:58:48 pm by Dr. Nikola » Logged
Abslomrob
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« Reply #1598 on: February 21, 2011, 03:29:09 am »

It's a "Dollar watch", cleverly designed to look like a demi-hunter case.  The patent number can probably be traced to give you a general idea of when it was made.  The one-piece barrel/keyless works cover makes me think it's probably an Ingersoll.  If so, the serial number will give you a more specific date.
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Dr. Nikola
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« Reply #1599 on: February 21, 2011, 11:54:44 pm »

Thanks so much.  It's got patent numbers dating it to the 20's at earliest (1563431 and 1709146 and 1848520) and actually seems to be dated 1936.  Incredibly scratched up everywhere, as though carried in a workman's pocket with a bunch of keys or other metal objects for decades. 
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