Monday, May 8, 2017

Solid Gold

While visiting my grandparents, we got to talking about my great great grandparents whom I've researched quite a bit and whom I feel I know pretty well though I never met them. They lived in a town with digitized newspapers and left lots of paperwork behind for me to follow. So I was thrown for a loop when my grandfather mentioned that they had divorced at one point and remarried and that he has the watch my 2nd great grandfather gave my 2nd great grandmother as a 2nd wedding present. I was intrigued.

Never having held such an old pocket watch, I really didn't know how to even open it. My grandparents thought that it required pulling gently on the stem, turning it and other suggestions, none of which got it to open. Later that evening when I went home, I looked up videos online and found that most likely the way to open it was to push down on the stem while pushing on a little tab near a seam. On my next visit, we were able to successfully open the watch.

The engraving inside says it is a solid 14k gold Keystone watch and lists the serial number. I figured there would be several websites out there that would allow me to take this information and look up an approximate manufacture date so that I could then figure out when the second marriage was. However, I really haven't been able to locate such a site. I have found that this is the second highest quality watch (of nearly 18 different levels) that this company made and was probably made around the early 1900's but not a closer date.

It really is a gorgeous piece and if someday I am fortunate enough to inherit it, I think I would see if there is someone out there that could get it in working order. As pristine looking as it is on the outside, I'm guessing it might not take much to get it in working order again.


Kelly said...

What a beautiful pocket watch! It might require finding a watch-maker at a jewelry store (surely there are still those who work on watches), but I would think you'd be able to learn more about it.... and get it in working order. I still have at least one watch that requires winding, though I think they're becoming obsolete.

Perhaps you'll inherit since you've already shown a respectable interest in it.

Bob said...

I wonder if your grandfather would agree to let you look into getting it in working order now? Maybe he would enjoy the process with you? Just a thought.

Ed said...

Kelly - I would guess there are still people who can work on those kinds of watches because they are highly collectible from what I've seen in my searching for information.

Bob - I have thought about it but at the end of the day, I'm not sure it is worth the risk to do so. The risk being that my uncle or perhaps even my mom has their eyes on the watch and feel that I may be stepping out of bounds. I don't think either would give a hoot if I got the watch working or possibly even kept it, but it isn't worth the risk when dealing with family things like that. I'm content just knowing it exists and when the time comes, it stays with someone in the family who will treasure it and perhaps pass it on.

Vince said...

Usually there is another stamp on the movement. That's the case stamp you are looking at, and may or may not match the movement in either date or manufacturer. Sometimes you see a case could get a battering, or even a wearing thin of the metal on rough cloth. Or the other way, the movement might be repaired so many times that it became new itself and they might have replaced it entirely. These fit a template, usually.
It really is a lovely piece.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

That's very nice. It's fun to hear about the stories of past family members. That is quite a special heirloom for sure. I've got two pocket watches in display cases that I inherited from my dad. I don't know too much about them, but your post and easy access to info online makes me kind of curious to find out more.

Vince said...

Ohh, the back should open in exactly the same way.

Ed said...

Vince - I remember reading that it was common to buy cases separately from the movement back during those times. Looking at my picture it is hard to tell but I think it is probably an Elgin watch movement but it wasn't at a high enough resolution for me to say with certainty. However, I have noticed that Elgin has a very specific serial number publication so if I can find the serial number on the movement, I should be able to narrow it down to the specific year of manufacture. I assume it is somewhere on the back of the movement.

Pumpkin Delight - I'm always curious I guess which is why I like to research stuff to see when it was made and how unique an item is. I have a habit of buying old camera as auctions because I love how mechanical they were and many times I have thought that they HAVE to be worth money. I have several shelves of cameras not worth much more than the value I get from looking at them from time to time!

Vince said...

Yes. Either written on the skeleton, or like a coin, on the outer edge.