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Author Topic: Master Pocketwatch Thread  (Read 317147 times)
The_Haberdash
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« Reply #1625 on: February 07, 2012, 07:49:10 pm »

Hey, all

I'm looking for some advice about a pocket watch and this seemed the place to ask.

We sell new and second hand/restored watches in my shop and usually I research them myself.
However, try googling "Fox and Simpsons watch" and see what that gets you.

I picked up a watch in good-as-new-state from a market today, and am trying to find the appropriate price for it. It's a silver mechanical, half hunter day and night with 24 hour dial.
Will get pictures tomorrow - I've left it in the shop today.

If any one could point me in the direction I need to go to further research this I'd be most greatful.
All the best!
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #1626 on: April 19, 2012, 05:09:00 pm »


However, try googling "Fox and Simpsons watch" and see what that gets you.


Bit late, but some clever Google will help. Try:
"fox and simpson" watches

They seem to make mostly quartz models (new). I don't know much about any vintage manufacture.
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Malikon
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« Reply #1627 on: May 22, 2012, 08:16:10 am »

this thread is amazing. 20 pages in, still a ways to go.

Just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful information.
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jennythereader
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« Reply #1628 on: October 30, 2012, 11:07:40 pm »

I recently inherited a ~100 year old ladies pocket watch. It doesn't work, and I'm considering having it repaired.

Does anyone have any questions I should be sure to ask to reduce the chances of my heirloom being reduced to a small bundle of scrap metal? Things that any good watch repair person will know or have, or that no reputable one would claim?

(Shop recommendations in New York's Hudson Valley or New York City would also be lovely.)
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1629 on: November 02, 2012, 08:02:00 pm »

Jenny, I'd suggest you start a new thread and post pictures of the watch (front and back, and if you can remove the case back and get pictures of that, even better).

Most "non working" pocket watches just need a good cleaning, not actual repair.  Depending on the actual watch, the amount of "expertise" required to work on it can vary a lot.  American Pocket Watches are pretty easy, and there's lots of parts available.  Early swiss efforts can be a bit more problematic.
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Volarion
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« Reply #1630 on: November 09, 2012, 05:00:36 am »

can anyone recommend a good quality pocketwatch (hand wind) for a reasonable price? I sincerely want one (reasonable to me is less than $85)
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1631 on: November 09, 2012, 01:55:14 pm »

If you want new for under $100, you'll be looking at discount Chinese made movements; trawl the internet or ebay.  The raw swiss movements (without cases) are over $100 wholesale.  Chinese movements range from decent to horrible, depending on your luck.  There ARE good Chinese movments, but they're correspondingly more expensive (and typically sell under european name-brands in the 2-500 range).  New Swiss pocketwatches start at $600 in basic steel cases, and range up from there.  Tissot has some nice designs. 

If you want vintage, your options are more constrained by the cost of service.  You can easily find excellent quality Swiss and American pocket watches for under $100.  However, you can't just buy one of these and start using it; mechanical movments are a bit like car engines; they have to be serviced regularly or they destroy themselves.  You're paying for time here; it takes an experienced watchmaker around an hour to disassemble, ultrasonically clean, reassemble, lubricate and adjust a basic pocket watch.  Being a highly skilled trade, you're usually talking between $50 and $100 for that (assuming that nothing needs to be repaired). 

Many vintage collectors actually end up learning to do it themselves, but speaking from experience, it doesn't save you much money; I've probably invested upwards of $5000 in tools, books and parts.  Its an addictive cycle; you find a watch that you want to fix up, but you don't want to practice on it, so you buy other movements to practice or for parts, only you end up wanting to fix them up too, and before you know it your basement is littered with hundreds of watches in various states of repair, a backlog of watches you need to work on, and a desk full of obscure tools and parts that you just <had> to have...
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jennythereader
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« Reply #1632 on: November 29, 2012, 04:49:23 am »

Jenny, I'd suggest you start a new thread and post pictures of the watch (front and back, and if you can remove the case back and get pictures of that, even better).

Most "non working" pocket watches just need a good cleaning, not actual repair.  Depending on the actual watch, the amount of "expertise" required to work on it can vary a lot.  American Pocket Watches are pretty easy, and there's lots of parts available.  Early swiss efforts can be a bit more problematic.

Thanks for the advice. Smiley

I'll do that as soon as I {a}-remember what Very Safe Place I put said watch and retrieve it from said place, and {b}-remember what (different) Very Safe Place I put my camera and retrieve it.

I need to start keeping notes on where I put things...
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1633 on: December 01, 2012, 02:04:58 am »

I need to start keeping notes on where I put things...

When you do, make sure you keep those notes in a Very Safe Place...

...oh dear...
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Sheridan
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« Reply #1634 on: January 05, 2013, 03:45:06 am »

Just snagged this off the bay.  Seems in great shape for circa 1904...  Pardon the 'vintagized' cuts of sellers pics - watch lands next week.



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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1635 on: January 07, 2013, 02:56:48 am »

Nice, classic Model '83; the most widely produced 18 size pocket watch movement ever.  When you say "old pocket watch", this is the movement that comes to mind for most people. 
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Sheridan
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« Reply #1636 on: January 08, 2013, 12:48:49 am »

108 years old and still ticking; hope i can say the same in 54 years.   Gotta love that tic..tic..tic.. ;-)
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Ezra Hogbin
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« Reply #1637 on: January 16, 2013, 02:20:01 pm »

OK, so I need some advice please.
I got a cheap pocket watch off Ebay to wear for work. I wanted it cheap in case it got damaged. Now, here's the thing, I don't think it is a cheap watch, but I can't find any definitive information. It is labelled on the inside as Urania. The face is porcelain. I'm not sure what the case is, but I think it may be silver as it gets the usual black coating that silver jewellery does when it needs cleaning.
The only things I can find on line suggest it may have been made in Germany before WWI.
There are two lots of markings on the inside of the rear cover 16/6 57  and 15775
Oh, and how cheap? £10

Here are some pics. The markings are difficult to photograph.








Any ideas? Is it worth anything ( historically or financially) and is it a shame to wear it for work?

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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1638 on: January 17, 2013, 06:33:26 pm »

It's a Cortebert movement (or based on it, at minimum): http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&a&2uswk&Cortebert_488

"Urania" is a surprisingly popular trademark term; so much so that I'm surprised at the number of competing references to it.  There are tradmark registrations from both german and switzerland.  The design of the watch and dial suggest 20's or 30's, and the lack of any other information on the movement means that the watch was never expected to be exported to the U.S. or United Kingdom, and probably wasn't finished in switzerland.  German is possible, as is Russian.

Regardless of origin, if the case was more then about 80% silver, there'd be a hallmark on it.  If there isn't, it's either a lower percentage or one of the many 'silveroid' materials that have existed over the years.

As far as quality goes, I don't see anything that strikes me as special for that time frame; The Cortebert calibers were simple but robust movements.  In fact, many early Rolex pocket watches were built on Cortebert ebauches (but finished to a much higher standard, of course).  And the Russian version (your classic Moljina pocket watches) were produced with little variation from the 40s up to about 2006.  So I'd say its an excellent choice for a daily wearer.  Depending on where you live, you can probably get it serviced for fairly cheap (although much more then £10 you paid for it) but its worth the cost; once serviced, it should be good to go for at least a decade of trouble-free use.
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Ezra Hogbin
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« Reply #1639 on: January 18, 2013, 10:38:08 am »

Thanks!!
I knew I should have asked here earlier.
You've given me much more information thant I was able to find. My guess at pre WWI was due to its having a porcelain face and I found one reference to these for that period.
Even 20's - 30's is great. But, as it is coming up to 100 years old, then I think I may stop wearing it for work, but still use it for my "normal life". It'd be a shame if it got dropped, but it'd also be a shame to hide it away in a drawer.
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SpeedyFrenchy
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« Reply #1640 on: January 19, 2013, 12:54:39 am »

Finally got myself a pocket watch - a new Woodford full hunter with 17 jewel mechanical movement. Cheesy
 I'd considered going vintage, but I wanted something that I knew would work, so I decided to buy new. Plus, new means shiny. Wink

It runs for about 43 hrs on a full wind, but it's a little fast, and I don't know how to open it up to adjust it.

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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1641 on: January 20, 2013, 03:25:15 am »

In theory, there's a small lever on the balance that you move back and forth to adjust the speed.  But you have to be very very careful, becuase you're so close the hairspring, and if you nick that you've really buggered the watch.  What do you consider a "little fast"?  Is this a Japanese movement?  I can't make out the text at the bottom of the dial.  Essentially, it's a wristwatch movement that's been place into a pocketwatch case; they've done a nice job of it, although the sweep second hand is a bit anachronistic.  But it allows them to use a more common (and thus less expensive) movement (and they pass the savings on to you!).  Did it come with the chain?
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SpeedyFrenchy
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« Reply #1642 on: January 20, 2013, 11:45:10 pm »

What do you consider a "little fast"? 
Something less than a minute a day, I've not managed to make a very accurate measurement yet.

Quote
Is this a Japanese movement?  I can't make out the text at the bottom of the dial. 
Internet wisdom suggests it's Chinese (they do more expensive models with Swiss movements, but this is advertised when present) , the text says 'mec movt', so mechanical movement.

Quote
Essentially, it's a wristwatch movement that's been place into a pocketwatch case; they've done a nice job of it, although the sweep second hand is a bit anachronistic.

I'd be interested to know why you think that, it's not a continuous movement, the second hand moves at 4hz. Also, how does one tell the difference between a wristwatch and a pocket watch movement?

Quote
But it allows them to use a more common (and thus less expensive) movement (and they pass the savings on to you!).  Did it come with the chain?

Yes, chain, box, and warranty that's not valid because it wasn't signed by the supplier (Amazon).
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1643 on: January 21, 2013, 01:15:27 pm »

Internet wisdom suggests it's Chinese (they do more expensive models with Swiss movements, but this is advertised when present) , the text says 'mec movt', so mechanical movement.

Yeah, that's what I thought.  For what they were selling for on the internet, I figured it had to be...you can't buy a swiss movment (uncased) for that money.  Which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but you on some level you get what you pay for.

Quote
Essentially, it's a wristwatch movement that's been place into a pocketwatch case; they've done a nice job of it, although the sweep second hand is a bit anachronistic.

I'd be interested to know why you think that, it's not a continuous movement, the second hand moves at 4hz. Also, how does one tell the difference between a wristwatch and a pocket watch movement?

Your typical "pocket watch" movement (thinking of the ones made a hundred years ago) always had the seconds hand in a subdial at the 6 o'clock position.  It was a practical thing; that arrangment allows you to drive both the second and minute hands directly off the gears without the need for any additional gears.  Center sweep seconds requires additional gears, which means more moving parts, and thus more places for loss of precision and energy.  There were sweep second watches back then, but they were hideously expensive (and usually chronographs) and finicky.  It wasn't until manufacturing methods improved in the early 20th century that it really became practical to mass-produce sweep second watches, and by then everyone was busy trying to make movements "thin", which delayed them further since the normal method of implementing sweep seconds increases the thickness of the movement somewhat.  It wasn't until they fundamentally rearranged the design (putting the second wheel off-center) that they were able to make relatively thin center second movements.

As far as the difference between "Wrist" and "Pocket" movements, there isn't one.  In fact, the original "wristwatches" just used small pocketwatch movements.  Size is the main difference these days; your typical pocketwatch uses a 16''' movement (three ' marks indicate "lignes", the typical way to measure swiss movement sizes).  Although the trend towards "big" wristwatches these days is changing that.  Back in the day, pocketwatches used 19''' or bigger movements, and most wristwatches were 11''' or smaller.  Most of that's just habit though.  A watch is a watch. 

When I say that its using a wristwatch movement, mostly what I mean is that its a center-second movement that is substantially smaller then the case.  Usually, a good pocketwatch movement is the same size as the dial; this one is only as big as the inside(exposed) part of the dial; the rest of the case is filler or empty.

Yes, chain, box, and warranty that's not valid because it wasn't signed by the supplier (Amazon).

Get in touch with Amazon and get that fixed.  The warranty is the only thing that makes these watches worth spending that kind of money on (I have a chinese skeleton watch, but I only paid $20 for it.  If you paid more then that, you're paying for warranty.  If you don't have warranty, you're getting ripped off).  The movement in your watch retails for under $5.

The problem with Chinese mechanicals is that their quality varies greatly (which isn't surprising considering the low-cost labor force responsible for the machines and assembly).  SO while you can get really really good movements, you can also get really really bad ones.  My standard advice for these watches is to carefully time the watch over a 24hr period in several positions (for a pocket watch, time it both dial up and crown up).  If the time is out by more then a minute a day in either position, return it for a refund and buy a new one.  The watch will likely never run as well as it runs when you first buy it, so if it isn't running well then, get a new one.  It might take a couple of tries, but you should be able to get one that does better then +/- 30 seconds a day very easily.  When I bought mine, I actually bought two, and then disassembled both of them.  I combined the "best" parts of both into a single watch that is good for an average of +/- 5 sec/day (or will be once I machine a new rotor for it; the factory one is just too light to keep it at full wind, which throws the timing off).
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Drew P
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« Reply #1644 on: February 01, 2013, 12:57:07 pm »

Instead of going thru all the crap of sending it back,how about opening it up and adjusting it. Works wonders and it's not that difficult.
?
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #1645 on: February 02, 2013, 04:26:15 pm »

If a new watch doesn't run at the correct rate with the regulator centered on the balance cock, that tells you that there is something else wrong with the watch.  Yes, you can just adjust the regulator to compensate, but that doesn't fix the problem.  And problems like that don't go away over time, they usually get worse unless they're fixed.  And fact is, you shouldn't have to "Fix" a brand new watch.  So while its a bit of a pain to go through the hoops to get another new one, the payoff is five to ten years down the road when the watch still works correctly instead of sitting in your desk or in the garbage because it stopped working, and you didn't want to spend the $200 to get it fixed.
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Sheridan
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« Reply #1646 on: February 02, 2013, 07:41:43 pm »

Just got this one in from the UK...

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Xenos
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« Reply #1647 on: April 08, 2013, 11:38:47 pm »

Right, figured I'd upload my collection of timepieces.

Ain't nothing too fancy, really, all quarts movement, all gifts, and all have their own uses.



The leather fob watch was an Easter Gift from my parents, years ago, and was my first REAL pocket watch.  I wear it to work from time to time, but right now the battery is dead, so I usually don't.

The Stagecoach "Collezio" watch is my go-to when I need a silver chain (i.e. I'm NOT wearing suspenders, or my belt buckle is silver/a variant thereof).

The Square-Shaped "Milan" watch is my normally-worn pocket watch.  It's antiqued brass chain goes well with most any colour vest I wear, and the distinct shape of it is a conversation starter.

The Twin Tower "Collezio" watch is the watch I wear on September 11th.

Both Collezio watches are from the 60s or 70s (the Twin Tower watch was apparently a souvenir in the early days of their opening).

I PLAN to add a couple of lower-grade mechanical watches-one gold, one silver, as well as a selection of antique watches (I am PARTICULARLY fond of Elgin).
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Gearworks
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« Reply #1648 on: April 12, 2013, 08:39:14 am »

Finally got around to starting the Gem City home-study course.  The initial hurdle of getting a workbench and lathe together have been overcome, and while the filing is tedious, I look forward to lesson three's metallurgy component.

Here's the workbench:
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c351/Farsnik/Workbench_zps9966d447.jpg
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« Reply #1649 on: April 27, 2013, 06:58:39 am »

Finally got myself a pocket watch - a new Woodford full hunter with 17 jewel mechanical movement. Cheesy
 I'd considered going vintage, but I wanted something that I knew would work, so I decided to buy new. Plus, new means shiny. Wink

It runs for about 43 hrs on a full wind, but it's a little fast, and I don't know how to open it up to adjust it.




I have a watch that's almost just like that, except mine is in silver and has a Celtic knot design on the front cover. I got it as a Christmas present about four years ago. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to test it or give it maintenance. Now it constantly jams and I can't depend on it anymore. I still take it out with me in the vain hope that it will keep ticking long enough to complete my errands, but it rarely lasts more than five minutes. Even if it does keep running, it doesn't seem to keep a constant rate anymore either.

I found mine easy to get into, the inner back cover can be pried off with a fingernail and replaced securely. I probed around a bit, but nothing helped, and I don't want to be too rough with it lest I break it completely. Although my frequent vigourous shaking to get it moving may have already done that.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
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