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Request for help identifying an inherited rose gold pocket watch


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Good afternoon,

I am new to the forum and after much googling, have joined here to ask for your advice on some recent inheritances as this seems the nicest and most knowledgeable site I could find. 

I would really appreciate any information you could provide on the below:

Pictured is a watch that I recently inherited. It was found in a box by my mum when she was going through some of my grandad's estate. He has been dead for many years and the watch has laid in what looks like waxed brown paper in a shoebox for a very long time.

Unfortunately, it's history is unknown but my mum thinks that she remembers it being given as a gift to her father on his retirement from the warehouse in Bristol that he worked in. She isn't sure as she hadn't seen it for years, it may be older than she thinks but just remembers it as something my grandad wore. 

She gave the watch to me but it clearly means a lot to her so I would like to do what I can about it's history for her and as a surprise (I am also meant to be getting married in August) be able to get the watch serviced and cleaned to present to her on the day as a returned gift.

The watch looks like it is in good condition and with a single twist of the dial the mechanism has stated right up and it happily ticks with both hands moving. It has a beautiful sound and a very smooth motion.

It looks unusual to me as there is a side with a face and then a second side that is totally blank but has a rose gold cover. I know from looking at this forum that it would be best if I could open the mechanism to show you the interior workings. There are witness marks on the back that show it has been opened before (you can see this on the picture of the back) and I have tried (very gently) to pop it open, but it was resistant to pressure and I really don't want to damage it so I have stopped trying. 

There are also what looks like some hand scratched numbers and markings around the left side of the inner lid (1st picture). I hope these have come out clearly - apologies they are very small so it was difficult to get the light correct to make them show.

Can anyone tell me anything about this and perhaps suggest a decent place I could take it to have it cleaned and serviced in Birmingham UK?

Please let me know if any other images would be useful.

Thanks in advance for your help

Joe

 

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Thanks for that suggestion. Coincidentally I was just looking at the assay office.

Can I ask which part makes it look Swiss? Would be really interested in knowing why the back side is totally empty. What is the purpose of that bit?

From my own research it looks like from the first photo that the case was assayed in London (looks like the mark is a Lion?), the 9 375 suggests that it is 9k and the style of the letter G on the left hand side suggest that it is from 1881-1882 (https://theassayoffice.com/home/date-letters?searchLetters=G). 

Does that match up with anyone elses view?

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13 hours ago, Curio said:

Does that match up with anyone elses view?

The LA on a hexagonal background would be City Watch Case Co Ltd (Louis Arnould) from 1920-27. Which points to the later gothic 'g' of 1922, as Karrusel said. The scratched dates etc are service marks and not significant for identification.

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44 minutes ago, spinynorman said:

The LA on a hexagonal background would be City Watch Case Co Ltd (Louis Arnould) from 1920-27.


This, in your case, would be the sponsor’s mark, not the case maker.

 

:thumbsup:

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Thanks both for your help and guidance, really interesting stuff, especially tracing back the sponsor's mark!

It's very cool to know that previous service dates were scratched into the metal to mark it. It gives it a real sense of history!

With a deep breath I did as Karrusel suggested and managed to pop the back open. Very cool to see the inner workings.

Does this mechanism look like it might be the sort of thing that might be cost proportionate to have serviced? I have no idea if it is a particularly complex mechanism for a watch or not!

I will try to find a local watchmarker to have a look at it, as I would like to find out some way of adjusting the time and for it to have a clean at least. I think adjustments must be something to do with the crown button but I am a bit cautious about just pushing and pulling things until it does something!

Finally, apologies if my previous message about the age of the watch sounded a bit terse, I was writing on my phone in-between things.

To explain why I originally thought it might have been 1882, I looked up the letter originally against the Birmingham Assay Office website (as I couldn't find one on the London assay office website) and the only one I could find that was similar looked like it was from 1881-1882. On your advice above, I have now looked up a letter for the London office (but for silver - https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/London.html) which shows a very similar style of letter G for 1922. 

I am grateful for the guidance and your help and agree it looks like it was made in 1922 but I am curious about why the letters were so different. For example G isn't used for 1922 at the Birmingham office

Did different Assay offices used to use different letter styles until they harmonised?

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28 minutes ago, Curio said:

Did different Assay offices used to use different letter styles until they harmonised?

Date letters are different for each assay office. This tool will guide you through it. https://www.gold-traders.co.uk/hallmarks/.

You should be able to pull the crown up to adjust the time. It may need a firm pull, but not massive force. Have you tried turning the crown clockwise to wind it?

The problem with servicing these old watches is availability of parts. Often they have to be made by the repairer and that gets expensive. It's rarely "worth it" financially, it really depends on your attachment to the watch and how much you want it to be working. 

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Thanks for coming back to me on that this and providing the useful tool.

I tried to adjust the crown as suggested - took a firm pull but the mechanism is now very smooth and it adjusts and winds up beautifully! 

I will update this thread if I manage to get it serviced with images (assuming people are interested).

A great piece of history - thank you for helping me find a bit more about it. 

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16 hours ago, Curio said:

Thanks for coming back to me on that this and providing the useful tool.

I tried to adjust the crown as suggested - took a firm pull but the mechanism is now very smooth and it adjusts and winds up beautifully! 

I will update this thread if I manage to get it serviced with images (assuming people are interested).

A great piece of history - thank you for helping me find a bit more about it. 

Thanks for showing us your watch. It's good to know you've been able to get it going. If it feels smooth and keeps good time you could maybe get away without servicing. Depends how often you intend to wind it. I have a couple of old pocket watches I rarely wind, I just like looking at them. :biggrin: Either way, do let us know how you get on with it.

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