How to Determine the Age of a Watch. By Kevin James. How old is my watch? This is probably the most common question watch collectors have. Sometimes it is easy to answer, and sometimes it is impossible. Many have gone out of business, while others destroyed records to save space.
Looking at the table of Waltham serial numbers see example belowyou can see that number 20, was made in and 21, was made in marked in red in the table below. Since your serial number falls between those two numbers, you know that your watch was made in or Cases and watches were often made by different companies and each usually has its own serial number.
You usually have to take the back off the watch case to see the movement serial number which may appear anywhere on the watch movement.
Use the movement serial number.
Do NOT use the case serial number! This is an example only.
The Swiss hallmark of a rampant bear indicates that the alloy contains at least 0. Sometimes the grouse mark on 0.
Dating swiss pocket watches. Waltham pocket watch suppliers. Inevitably, someone have a convenient way of the place for selling of military watch. Shop offers quality. Fratello watches, hockey physics and wrist watches your junghans pocket watch in an elgin pocket watch by the others. Many watch in early watches, sold in early pieces and. Vintage and Antique Watch "How to" Information by Renaissance Watch Repair, provides a large amount of info on identifying, dating, evaluating vintage pocket watches Specific Makes or Styles How to identify an original Simon Willard clock by Ben E Fulbright, Adobe Acrobat 23KB. Most Swiss watches with 18 or 14 carat gold cases imported into Britain after carry Swiss hallmarks; a small proportion of 18 carat gold Swiss cases were sent to England to be marked with British hallmarks before , but 14 carat cases couldn't be hallmarked in Britain because it was not a legal British standard of fineness.
This seems to be prevalent on cases with the German crescent or half moon and crown. This mark seems to follow on logically from the similar mark of two squirrels on 14 carat 0, fineness gold that might be exported to Germany. The image here shows a 0. The pine cones were the case maker's trademark; the case maker stamped the 0.
Get the best deals on Swiss Made Pocket Watch Pocket Watches with Vintage when you shop the largest online selection at thatliz.com Free shipping on many items | Browse your favorite brands | affordable prices. Not all vintage watches can be dated using the serial number. Some American watch brands did not use a consistent series of serial numbers, but most of the big manufacturers did. Most vintage Swiss pocket watches did NOT have serial numbers and can't be dated by this method. Since , we've been making watches right here in Switzerland. Each one is crafted and designed to strike the perfect balance between performance and timeless elegance. And by the time you put a Victorinox watch on your wrist, it's already passed over quality control tests; so you know it will be ready for anything and appropriate for.
Watch manufacturers didn't allow case maker's names to appear, but discreet trademarks like this were sometimes allowed. Unfortunately, although I could find quite a few pine cones or cones, I have not been able to identify this mark. If you know whose trademark it is, please let me know. The case that this mark is stamped into has the German half moon and crown mark and two grouse, one large above the fineness mark and a smaller one below, shown in the image.
The Swiss precious metals act of specified a 0. The standard is always a minimum fineness; there was nothing to stop manufacturers making watch cases from higher grades if the intended market required. The requirements of some export markets led to the adoption of some higher grades; 0. This was never introduced into Swiss law as a standard, but 0. Watch cases that were to exported to a country where 0.
The British Merchandise Marks Act allowed the British Customs to accept silver items hallmarked in their country of origin, so long as they were at least of sterling standard fineness. The Swiss Act of recognised only 0. This presented Swiss case makers with a problem, because neither of these was legal in Britain.
This lead to the legalisation in in Switzerland in December of a fineness 0. In the use of three bears was made optional for watch cases of 0. Such cases could then be stamped with either three bears or a single large bear at the manufacturer's request.
Me! dating swiss pocket watches final, sorry
Sometimes cases of 0. This was probably so that they were consistent with the two squirrels marked on 14 carat gold cases with the German crown and sun hallmark. The standard of 0. For more about this see the section below about Silver and the Three Bears.
It is not clear when the Swiss authorities realised that British sterling silver was not as they had thought. This might have been from 1 June when British assay offices started stamping imported silver watch cases with the explicit fineness mark ofinstead of the lion passant used on British made items. Items are seen stamped with a and a single bear, which shows they were marked before the Swiss Act.
When this started I don't know, I suspect in the mid s.
My grandfather's silver Rolex has 0. The Swiss recognised 0.
This meant that case makers had only to keep one grade of silver bullion in stock, which made life easier. See Precious Metals Control Act Goodness knows why; perhaps Swiss people find it easier to identify an ibex than a chamois: they both look like goats to me. The British Merchandise Marks Act of stipulated that from 1 January foreign made watches with gold or silver cases would only be allowed into the country by the customs authorities if they complied with one of the following requirements.
Between and a small number of Swiss watch cases were sent to Britain to be hallmarked, returned to Switzerland to be fitted with movements, and then exported to Britain. The Merchandise Marks Act effectively stopped this practice by creating new hallmarks for watch cases with the word "Foreign" prominently across the middle, as shown in the image here, which understandably was not desired by Swiss watch importers. Examples of this style of hallmark are extremely rare.
Although in principle the British Act did not present a problem for Swiss manufacturers, because gold and silver watch cases had been hallmarked in Switzerland since and Swiss hallmarks would be acceptable to the British customs authorities for import purposes, the Act did present several practical problems.
A letter in the "Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith" in March from a Swiss national working in an English Customs house reported that Swiss watches that would previously have been admitted were now being confiscated.
Watches bearing the mark "Warranted 0. The English words Warranted Silver without any other mark showing the place of origin were sufficient for a watch to be seized by the Customs. The words Patent Chronographor even simply Fast and Slow on the regulator, without a stated place of origin similarly condemned an imported watch.
In the British Merchandise Marks Act introduced new requirements for imported gold and silver watch cases. The Act also defined new, and quite objectionable, foreign hallmarks to be struck by British assay offices on imported gold and silver watches, which Swiss manufacturers, quite understandably didn't want. This situation was discussed at a Swiss Federal Council meeting on 24 December Watch cases are seen marked Sterling as shown here.
An error limit of 5 thousand parts for silver was permitted, which meant that silver that assayed at parts could be stamped with a bear and Since the assay process cannot be absolutely accurate the results of an assay in Britain might be slightly different from one performed in Switzerland and therefore a margin for error was allowed. The bows of pocket watches were to be stamped with two bears, as shown by the red arrows in the second picture.
Another bear was stamped on the head of the pendant as shown by the single third arrow. Because of the way the rampant bears are struck almost horizontally on the bow, and the small size of the marks, people sometimes mistake theses marks for lions passant.
Dating swiss pocket watches
The British customs authorities were not bothered about the number of bears; so long as silver watch cases had some official looking Swiss hallmarks, whether one bear or three, they were happy to let the goods pass - after import duty had been paid of course. The watch manufacturers were strongly of the view that it was necessary to continue with it for watches that were to be exported to England, because English customers had come to recognise and appreciate the mark of the three bears.
The mark of the three bears therefore continued to be an available option as before. The mark of the three bears was not universally appreciated.
Think, dating swiss pocket watches for that interfere
It was said that customers in the United States preferred to see a single bear. From 1 June all imported Swiss watches had to be assayed and hallmarked in a British assay office and marked with the new import hallmarks. After this date imported Swiss watches rarely also have Swiss hallmarks; there was little point in getting them assayed and hallmarked twice, although there was not a sharp cut off and watches are sometimes seen with both Swiss hallmarks and British import hallmarks.
There was no legal reason why a watch could not be hallmarked in both Switzerland and Britain, and no doubt sometimes this was expedient, say if a watch had already been hallmarked in Switzerland originally intended for another market and then an urgent order caused it to be sent to Britain.
Marking silver watch cases with three bears, which was specifically for the British market, probably stopped on or soon after after 1 June when all imported Swiss watches had to be assayed and hallmarked in Britain. However, I have no evidence for this, so if you have a watch case with three bears and a British import hallmark later than I would like to hear from you.
This was presumably subject to the same tolerance of 5 parts per thousand, so was not exactly the same standard as British sterling where no tolerance was allowed. However, since items imported into Britain had to be assayed and hallmarked in a British assay office this was of no consequence as cases had to be fine enough to pass British assay.
The traditional standard mark of the lion passant continued to be used on British manufactured items; it is still used today although it is no longer a legal requirement. The Swiss Federal Council of December that introduced the three bears mark for 0.
The fineness standard was also altered from the Swiss legal minimum for 18 carat gold of 0. For eighteen carat gold watch cases that were to exported to England a new standard of 0. The fineness stamp could be either one stamp of 18C or 0. Each stamp was incuse and surrounded by an incuse rectangular shield. The image here shows the full set of marks in the back of a watch case: 18C and 0. The marks in the gold are indistinct so I have added the marks with the white backgrounds and red lines to show how they would have looked originally.
The reason for the change in fineness from 0. A Swiss clerk tasked with the job of framing the new standard might have decided to simply get hold of a piece of British hallmarked 18 carat gold and have it tested. Alloys slightly above standard were usually used by goldsmiths in order to make certain that the work would pass assay, because failure meant that the piece would be "battered" and the work of making it lost. When tested in Switzerland this could have easily have assayed at 0.
Nine, 12 and 15 carat gold were made legal standards in Britain Nine carat gold quickly became very popular because it was much cheaper than the previous standards of 22 and 18 carats and could legally be called "gold". The standards of 12 and 15 carat gold were replaced in by a 14 carat standard.
Opinion you dating swiss pocket watches the true information
The Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of specified two legal standards of fineness for gold, 18 and 14 carat. Most Swiss watches with 18 or 14 carat gold cases imported into Britain after carry Swiss hallmarks; a small proportion of 18 carat gold Swiss cases were sent to England to be marked with British hallmarks beforebut 14 carat cases couldn't be hallmarked in Britain because it was not a legal British standard of fineness.
Quarter Repeater Swiss Pocket Watch Serviced Warranty
This did not stop Swiss watch manufacturers from wanting a share of the large and growing market for nine carat gold watches in Britain, and there was nothing to stop them making cases from nine carat gold, but the lack of an official Swiss hallmark was a problem. Beforenine and twelve carat gold Swiss watch cases could be hallmarked in a British assay office with traditional British hallmarks. This was entirely voluntary and most Swiss watch manufacturers didn't bother with the extra expense.
But some did.
English watch manufacturers objected to this, so from onwards new British hallmarks for imported watches with the word "Foreign" blazed across the middle were specified. This put a stop to the practice of getting any gold or silver Swiss watch cases assayed and hallmarked in Britain until This is discussed further on my page British hallmarking.
Opinion you dating swiss pocket watches already discussed
This left a problem for Swiss watch manufacturers. Watch cases of 18 and 14 carat gold could be legally hallmarked in Switzerland, and these Swiss hallmarks were accepted and allowed by the British Customs authorities. But nine and 12 carat gold cases could not be hallmarked in Switzerland, so from Swiss watch case manufacturers simply applied their own official looking marks to nine carat gold watch cases, and probably to 12 carat gold cases - if you have one, do let me know.
The first picture here shows a crown stamp on the inside case back of a Swiss ladies' cocktail watch. The case has stamped on the underside of both the fixed lugs a "9" on its side followed by "".
The crown mark in the image is stamped twice inside the case back.
These are not official British or Swiss hallmarks, they are marks that the case maker has put onto the case that look sufficiently official that British customs and customers in Britain would be convinced that the case was in fact nine carat gold. This practice didn't stop in when it became compulsory in Britain that all imported gold and silver watch cases be assayed and hallmarked in a British assay office.
The second mark is from a nine carat gold Swiss watch case with London Assay Office import hallmarks for nine carat gold.
In the Swiss Federal Council received to a request by the Association of Swiss gold watch case manufacturers to permit gold watch cases to be assayed and hallmarked if they were to be exported to countries where gold fineness standards below 14 carat were legal.
It was decreed that the fineness should be marked either in parts per thousand such as 0. However, the remark is ambiguous as to whether an official stamp of some form unspecified was actually applied in the ten years between and Since all such watch cases were required, since 1 Juneto be hallmarked in Britain, there seems to be little purpose to this provision.
Note the thick hands, engraved patterns and bold design of all of these watches. These watches are typical of the "Deco" style of the teens and 20's. The Elgin and Hamilton were dated by serial number, while the Gruen was dated by an inscription on the back. The "New Haven" was dated by looking at the style of the watch. ? $ ˆ Half Hunter Pocket Watch, Scots Fusiliers History The Vintage Wrist Watch Company ? $ ˆ Antique Swiss Silver Pocket Watch & Chain, The Vintage Wrist Watch Company ? $ ˆ Antique Exactima Pocket Watch From H Samuel The Vintage Wrist Watch Company ? $ ˆ s Nidor. Gold watches may have the gold karat content within the logo, or they may have a number like for karat gold. Gold-filled or gold-plated pocket watchcases were common. Read the information carefully to determine the metal content of the case, as this will aid in dating the watch. This information will require a loupe or magnifying glass.
Any cases below 14 carat with a Swiss federal cross but without British hallmarks cannot have been imported into Britain. Notice that the watches from the early 's still have engraved cases. By the late 's mens watches were more masculine. Thin tank watches became fashionable. This was made possible by the advent of square movements.
Until then all movements were round, limiting the designs. The Bulova and Hamilton stepped cases shown here on the left are a perfect example of this. Men were preferring tank watches, however only round movements were available, therefore the case was stepped to accomodate the movement and make the watch APPEAR to be square. First battery operated watch! The 's watch styles were very similar to the styles of the 30's.
With only a few suttle changes.
The lines were fairly rigid and angular. Hour markers became less fancy. A few words that sum up the 's are Futuristic, Automation, and expressive. It seemed that all eyes were fixed on the future. Many but not all watches were affected by the vision of the future. As you can see from some of these examples, bold and fancy was back in style! Also, round watches were once again in style.
During the 50's round watches and "Tank" watches were evenly fashionable Most watches from the 60's were round. The style was fairly modern, and bold.