Featured Swiss Wind-Up Pocket Watch Help

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by cxgirl, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    Hi All,
    I bought this pocket watch, 1 1/2"diameter, it isn't working. There is a line/crack on the face, marked F & S (fast/slow) on the workings. The key will turn a bit but I don't want to force it, so not sure what that means. From the size and flowers on the face I'm thinking a ladies watch.
    Marked on the back and inside cover, there are marks on the round piece at the top (bale?) but I can't make them out. I finally figured the marks out, 3 bears for Swiss, sometime after 1888 - no company name though.
    Is there anyway to narrow down when this was made or who made it?
    any information appreciated.
    thanks for looking:)
    Copied from the site:
    In 1888, in response to the British Merchandise Marks Act, the Swiss authorities introduced a higher standard of silver of 0·935 that was intended to be the equivalent of British sterling silver, the minimum standard of silver that the Act permitted to be imported. The Swiss bureaux de contrôle were authorised to assay this standard and hallmark watch cases that met it with a hallmark of three bears; one small bear above two large bears as shown in the picture here.
    https://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/casemarks.php
    DSCF1440.jpeg DSCF1426 (1).jpeg DSCF1433.jpeg DSCF1435.jpeg DSCF1430.jpeg
     
  2. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I'm more curious about why it winds in 2 places. Does it chime?
     
  3. terry5732

    terry5732 Well-Known Member

    One is for setting
    It likely just needs a bit of clean and lube
    Not much interest in it
     
  4. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    so it should be scrapped?
     
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  5. terry5732

    terry5732 Well-Known Member

    Scrap value is very little. It would likely be saleable for more than scrap. But not a great amount.
     
    i need help, cxgirl and Christmasjoy like this.
  6. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    cheap one for the non-continental market. S/F instead of R/A (retard/avance).
    agree totally with Terry. found on fleamarkets for 10 to 20 CHF.
     
  7. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    it's still a pretty watch...........:happy::happy::happy:
     
  8. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    I think so too:)
     
  9. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    It doesn't have much value unfortunately but it is pretty. It has a type of movement called a Swiss bar movement with a cylinder escapement. 3 jewels with an uncompensated balance. Even at the time this watch was made this was a cheap mass produced movement. It is most likely not working because the oil has dried up and become sticky. It could be serviced by a watchmaker and it will run again. Bear in mind though that a service will cost more than the watch is worth. If you like it what it is "worth" in monetary value is not relevant. Maybe have it serviced and enjoy using it. PS: yes, a lady's watch.
     
  10. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    thank-you the information Svenedin:) yes, I like the face, very dainty looking (to me):)
     
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  11. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    It’s pretty :)
    There are other marks scattered around 3 on the jump ring and bale one on the rim.
    I wonder if the “C” on the key indicates anything?
     
    KSW likes this.
  12. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    The letter on the key indicates the size. Watch keys come in lots of different sizes for the winding arbor (“square”) of the watch (which varies between watches).
     
  13. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    Great info, Thanks! :)
     
    KSW likes this.
  14. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    You’re welcome. Sometimes keys are numbered instead. I have a set of 20 all on a chain for different key-wind watches. Some keys are collectors items in their own right, being set with semi-precious stones or very elaborate. I have a few like that, to wear with gold pocket watches.
     
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  15. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    KSW and i need help like this.
  16. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    KSW likes this.
  17. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    they fit better than any old worn-out show-off-keys; steel against brass. and with two keys you have all the regular sizes with all the proper metric measures.
     
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  18. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    Your link does not work. I'm not sure what you mean about steel against brass. Is your star key brass? The winding square is steel. There's really no "proper metric measures" in old watches. There's no standard to the size of winding squares and anyway they wear and are re-squared (filed) by watchmakers over the years so they end up random sizes. It's just a question of finding a key with the best fit.
     
    KSW likes this.
  19. Svenedin

    Svenedin Member

    A follow up to the OP: I have never really looked at watches like yours that closely because I am a man and I would not wear a ladies watch.......anyway, I saw several on the websites of antique watch dealers in Portobello, London selling for anywhere between £150 and £200. Admittedly these ones were a little bit later, with keyless winding, but they had near identical Swiss cylinder movements. Clearly there is a healthy market for watches like yours.

    PS: I noticed that you got your info about Swiss hallmarks from the vintagewatchstraps.com website. There is also some very good information on that website on how the Swiss watch industry worked pre-1900 and why it is unusual to find maker's marks on watches of that era unless they are high-end pieces. Basically, at that time, (much like the English watch industry) the manufacture of watches was highly distributed amongst dozens of different trades. Some people would make rough movements (ébauche), others would make the wheel work, others made dials and so and so on. Finally, a "watchmaker" who had probably not actually "made" any of the watch would finesse the movement (which is very skilled). Some makers would then sign the movement but often they would not and if the dial is signed it may well be the retailer and not the maker.

    This mode of manufacture continues to this day. The very prestigious marques like Rolex and Omega do make their own movements but many other (very expensive) watch brands buy the movements ready made (e.g. by ETA a major movement maker) and then modify them (sometimes very significantly) to their requirements.

    So the question "Who made this watch?" is almost impossible to answer with your watch.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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