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Calum

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Coming into this discussion late, although I was fascinated when it was being discussed.

I have four original pocket watches. They're all slightly post-1860, but still the right style.

One is French, and is called the lever style - levers are more prominent than gears, so it's somewhat more delicate. The crystal popped out, so it's at the jeweler's getting it reset - I get it back tomorrow, I don't remember the make or year.
The other three are very similar in appearance and size.
One is an 1871 Home Watch Co, once is 1878 Eglin Co, and the third is 1883 Waltham Watch Co.

But the reason for this - I just got back from picking up the 1871 Home Watch from my watch guy - he repairs, cleans and oils them. Usually for more than I paid for the watch, but... :)

Holy Cranberries... A lady who works at the St Vincent near me pulled two watches out of their scrap bin right before they were pitched. One was a 14k gold wrist watch. The other...wow... I got to hold it. Mid-1700s, called a "fish eye" or "globular" watch. Key wound pocket watch, similar to mine, but more of an overall round shape. And chain driven, like a bicycle. Beautiful shape. Still runs. And they were going to throw it away.

I didn't ask if he bought it from her, or if it was for sale. I should have. Not that I could afford it, I'm sure.

Mike
 
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An old jeweler many years ago showed me very tiny inscribed marks on the inside of the case of one of my grandfather's railroad watches, He handed me a loupe to see them. Each time a RR watch was worked on, the watchmaker left his unique mark & date. This was the proof the watch had passed whatever criteria was needed.

Grandad worked in Alton, Ill for Mo Pac. My jeweler was in Jefferson City, Mo and did not know the identity of Grandad's worker but easily deciphered what the "scratches" meant.

Just an obscure memory from somewhere is that wristwatches came into use with early aviators who attached pocket watches to their wrists. (and that, amigos, may be absolute BS).
 

Calum

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An old jeweler many years ago showed me very tiny inscribed marks on the inside of the case of one of my grandfather's railroad watches, He handed me a loupe to see them. Each time a RR watch was worked on, the watchmaker left his unique mark & date. This was the proof the watch had passed whatever criteria was needed.

Grandad worked in Alton, Ill for Mo Pac. My jeweler was in Jefferson City, Mo and did not know the identity of Grandad's worker but easily deciphered what the "scratches" meant.
Sheriff John, Very cool! My grandfather worked for B&O, but he was a drafting engineer, not on the line. His watch is the last one that hasn't gone to my watchmaker. It'll go when the one that is currently there is done. I don't know if his watch is an actual RR watch, I'll be curious to see if/what Tom finds.

Mike
 
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If it is a true railroad watch it must be a lever set, open face with stem at 12 o'clock, 17 jewel, adjusted for temperature and if memory serves 6 positions and only a size 16 or 18.
All the requirements can be found with a google search.
 
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An old jeweler many years ago showed me very tiny inscribed marks on the inside of the case of one of my grandfather's railroad watches, He handed me a loupe to see them. Each time a RR watch was worked on, the watchmaker left his unique mark & date. This was the proof the watch had passed whatever criteria was needed.

Grandad worked in Alton, Ill for Mo Pac. My jeweler was in Jefferson City, Mo and did not know the identity of Grandad's worker but easily deciphered what the "scratches" meant.

Just an obscure memory from somewhere is that wristwatches came into use with early aviators who attached pocket watches to their wrists. (and that, amigos, may be absolute BS).
When I was a kid Dad would have to get his Railroad watch adjusted every so often and would be given a loaner by the Jeweler while his was in the shop.
 
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Regardless of the exact era, simply the fact that watchmakers of those early days could create a working, portable timepiece boggles my brain. We fuss about a half-cock notch - how'd they even envision making the internal parts of a watch, let alone making them with the tools available?

Gravity-fed clocks are one thing. Spring-wound quite different. Add in a case, glass cover, screws the size of a seed tick, etc ...interesting.
 
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I am restoring a older 1830s -40s pocket watch. Made by M.J. Tobias, England. I do living history and display programs now. Pre 1850 Ca.
 

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It turns out, the first pocket watches were made surprisingly early. One was mentioned as early as 1462. A man in Nuremberg was manufacturing them in 1526.
Yes, that is correct. When we play mountain man and pretend there were no mechanical devices we are deceiving ourselves. Some of those early watches were call "complications" and, indeed, they were incredibly complicated and serious works of are, mechanical and mathematical genius.
 
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A watch of that period could have been a later verge because that period is in a transitional time from verge to lever movements. At that time all the watches would have been key wind stem wind didn't come out until about 1850. Most of the famous American watch companies weren't in business then, so your watch would most likely have been European. Some of the swiss makers from that time at pretty easy to find and not too expensive. English and French watches will cost a bit more. Most older watch cases are hallmarked and will indicate their age and will be sterling silver or gold. You just have to a little patent
look around the antique store in your area and check eBay and Etsy. A decent watch from that period that is in running condition will run you a minimum of 300-500, really nice ones can go for thousands.
I've got about a 1000 invested in the above watch including the chain.
 
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A watch of that period could have been a later verge because that period is in a transitional time from verge to lever movements. At that time all the watches would have been key wind stem wind didn't come out until about 1850. Most of the famous American watch companies weren't in business then, so your watch would most likely have been European. Some of the swiss makers from that time at pretty easy to find and not too expensive. English and French watches will cost a bit more. Most older watch cases are hallmarked and will indicate their age and will be sterling silver or gold. You just have to a little patent
look around the antique store in your area and check eBay and Etsy. A decent watch from that period that is in running condition will run you a minimum of 300-500, really nice ones can go for thousands.
I've got about a 1000 invested in the above watch including the chain.
Thanks.

RM
 

Sooty Scot

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That,s a beauty, but only a dream for me. I do keep a simple, unadorned, modern pocket watch (my everyday user, to avoid a wrist tan line), in a pocket, when staying on schedule is important. Surprising myself how accurate my sun based guesstimates have become - but cloudy/rainy events leave me groping for a watch.
 
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