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Thread: Watch ID

  1. #1
    Old but Crafty RayMac's Avatar
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    Watch ID

    I suppose one of the disadvantages of a smaller veteran forum like this is you don't often have the fun of trying to ID someone's old pocket or wristwatch. It seems in my previous life as a vintage forum mod that was a daily job.
    Let me relate one of the most memorable stories in that regard. It was when I was co-modding the vintage forum with JohnF and Eeeb.
    A Civil War re-enactor came in with an 18S pocket watch that looked all the world like a first generation Waltham - but was I believe labeled Columbus watch company. Eeeb and I spent some time researching this watch and we just could not pin it down - there was indeed a Columbus watch company in the 1880s (that is Eeeb's home town so he knew of it) but the dates didn't match up - nor did the look of the watch.
    We were about to give up when one of the other members suggested we may have been suckered in by a Swiss Fake - and that was indeed what was going on. The Swiss couldn't compete with the Americans for quality back in the 1870s so they faked it and used American sounding names. The American government put a stop to it eventually and that's how we got the country of origin labeling that is so important to some collectors today.
    Lesson learned. Actually Swiss Fakes from the 19th century are quite collectible today, as long as you don't have to get them fixed.


    Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap. ~Doug Larson

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    it beggars belief they were at it even then -nothing changesName:  3fdea9c7438f.jpg
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  4. #3
    Good story Ray.

    I am sure the queries will come. Over at the Rado forum there are less than ten of us left and we still get questions.

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    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    I remember that as well Ray. Spent some time hounding ebay looking for one to no avail.

    Cheers!

    Dan

  7. #5
    Ich bin ein Ebeler! WWII70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayMac View Post
    The Swiss couldn't compete with the Americans for quality back in the 1870s .......
    say wha?
    Ebels (lots), IWC, Omega, FC, Eterna, Tag, Invicta, Movado
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  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by WWII70 View Post
    say wha?
    I agree, Just to consider one variable, Find me a Swiss watch with invar plates rather than brass. Then go look on ebay and wonder why there are so many old Yank watches with movements that look almost new...

  9. #7
    Old but Crafty RayMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WWII70 View Post
    say wha?
    Not even close. The Americans had mass production and standardized parts, specialized tooling and labor practices. The Swiss had essentially a cottage industry back then. An average run of the mill American watch smoked the Swiss models in timekeeping and build quality. You think the Swiss knew everything about watchmaking? Guess again.


    Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap. ~Doug Larson

  10. #8

    Watch ID

    To take it further, that big lead the American companies had caused plenty of alarm among those in the Swiss industry who wanted to sell better watches, but struggled because their costs were much higher than for American watches. So, a group of them came to America for a visit, and went back determined to adopt American-style vertical manufacturing, process controls and assembly-line methods. Two in particular were Georges Favre-Jacot and Elie LeCoultre (son of Antoine) who went back to Switzerland determined to establish the American System. They built the first vertical manufactures, in 1865 and 1866, respectively, the first in Le Locle and the second in Le Sentier. Yup, those factories still exist and make Zenith and JLC watches. Longines followed suit about a decade later.

    It was a long time--well into the 20th Century--when the Swiss could match American quality, dollar for dollar.

    The Americans did the same thing to the French clock industry.

    Rick "noting that the Americans hardly competes with the Swiss haute horlogerie, or cared to" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  11. #9
    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayMac View Post
    Not even close. The Americans had mass production and standardized parts, specialized tooling and labor practices. The Swiss had essentially a cottage industry back then. An average run of the mill American watch smoked the Swiss models in timekeeping and build quality. You think the Swiss knew everything about watchmaking? Guess again.
    And yet, what did it get us?

    Dan "holding a Hamilton 4992B in one hand and wearing an Omega Co-Axial 8500 on the other wrist" Ravenna


  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RayMac View Post
    Not even close. The Americans had mass production and standardized parts, specialized tooling and labor practices. The Swiss had essentially a cottage industry back then. An average run of the mill American watch smoked the Swiss models in timekeeping and build quality. You think the Swiss knew everything about watchmaking? Guess again.
    Learn something new everyday here.Thank You
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