Internet Horology Club 185
HAMILTON 992B STOLEN! ***(Check Arrived)***

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July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez
HAMILTON 992B STOLEN! ***(Check Arrived)***

On July 1st I sold a 992B on eBay and then on Saturday the 5th I was informed that the watch never made it to my buyer, just the empty box. Here are the facts we know at this time:

Somewhere between Brooksville, Florida and the LaVerne, California Post Office someone opened the box and removed the watch. The LaVerne Post Office confirms the box was open, held together by a rubber band. Fortunately it was fully insured so I should get my money back but I sure would like to see the perpetrator caught and prosecuted.

Here is part of the description from my 270248236710 eBay auction:

• Immaculate, very early, bar over crown, 21 Jewel Hamilton RR 992B, Serial# C22300, from 1941/42 with Gold Center Wheel. The extra heavy glass crystal was not factory supplied, it stands out as different and could make it easier to spot this watch.

• Dial: Porcelain-Enamel, Heavy Gothic, Double Sunk, marked "Hamilton Railway Service" no chips cracks or flea bites. See pictures below for a dial picture.

• Case: Later Star/Hamilton Model 17, with no visible brass. Crown is sharp, Bow is tight. Bezels screw on and off with ease. Unusual, very heavy glass crystal is easily spotted.

• Hands are pristine with no rust. The watch starts right up on the second wind.

Here is the watch, overall:

July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez

992B movement C22300 details:

July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez

The Case 17 condition is shown here:

July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez

Here are more details and the case number:

July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez

Here are additional distinguishing characteristics:

July 07, 2008, 20:35
Phillip Sanchez

Please share your thoughts and any ideas you have in this topic, most of all be on the lookout because the watch or any components could show up anywhere at any time!

July 07, 2008, 21:31
Lindell V. Riddle

Excellent work Phil,

This is something that hits every one of us where it hurts, right in the wallet!

In order to assist the authorities in recovering your watch the Internet Horology Club 185 is offering $185.00 toward a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.


Lindell V. Riddle, Founder and President
Internet Horology Club 185 at
Watch & Clock Discussions, On-Line Education Worldwide

Phone: 440-461-0167 weekday afternoons




IHC185™ "Always friendly, always moving forward!"


July 07, 2008, 23:11
Donald Trumble
Phil and Lindell,

You guys are doing all the right things. It's important to see the details, building public awareness is a crime deterrent. Now, let's see what happens.

July 08, 2008, 13:40
Mike Penson
I'll add another $100 to the reward.
July 09, 2008, 06:33
Phillip Sanchez
Thank you so much, Mike. We need to catch this thief.
July 09, 2008, 11:06
John Woolsey
Sorry to hear about the loss of your watch Phil, this sort of thing probably tops the list of all our worst nightmares when it comes to selling watches.

I've now got into the habit of double wrapping all my stuff, whether it's a £20 or £200 watch.

They get wrapped in a few layers of bubble wrap, then boxed and taped good.
That box is then wrapped in bubble, then boxed, brown paper wrapped and taped again.
A thief would make such a mess of the packet he'd have to keep it rather than send it on empty.

If it's a valuable watch, I send by Special Delivery in the UK and an 'International Signed for' service overseas.

In the UK, Royal Mail 'Special delivery' packets can be sealed up in the Post office's own polythene envelopes, which also carries the bar code.
There's no way they can be got into without destroying them.

A big problem is when the type and value of the contents has to be declared, it's tantamount to yelling 'hey It's your lucky day, nick me'!

I suppose there will always be thieves around, but if a packet vanishes, it's gone and can be claimed for ......... a box that turns up opened and empty, opens a whole different can of worms.

What happens when the recipient isn't so amenable in the event of a claim?

Hope you get it back though!

July 09, 2008, 14:20
Mike Penson
As Mr. Woolsey points out, cooperation on both ends will be valuable in resolving the claim. I'll not be shipping in those tidy little boxes ever again. Far too easy for a thief to slip it under a sweatshirt or down oversized trousers. I think this matter deserves the attention of the higher ups in USPS. They enjoy a very favorable reputation amongst a variety of collectors. But with these hard times and the prices offered for precious metals-not to mention the phenomenon of "scrap gold" being solicited in the media by what amounts to-no, I can't use that term. Lets just agree that we may be under attack.

Don't let anything go unreported. The Postal Inspection Service is a very serious branch of law enforcement. File reports here
July 09, 2008, 18:08
Phillip Sanchez
Thanks for all of that info John. I just shipped a watch to Mike double wrapped. He got it alright. I shipped another yesterday to North Fla. How do you ship where the PO puts there tape seal all of the way around the box? Is that registered or certified?

July 09, 2008, 21:18
Chris Abell

When I ship watches of value either higher $$ or sentimental I always use registered this is the safest and most secure method available in the USA. Once the insured value exceeds about $1,500 registered works out cheaper from then on, you can also add priority shipping to it. The downside is it is much slower anything form 3-10 days typically 5 out of state. It seems be also handled with more care also.
July 10, 2008, 06:38
Phillip Sanchez
Thanks, Chris. From now on registered will be the preferred shipping method. Slow is better than that other thing. Smile
July 10, 2008, 11:47
John Woolsey
Phil, the post office here doesn't tape up packets at all unless it's to put a 'Fragile' notice on it.

We have 4x main methods of 'secure' post;
Inside the UK:

Recorded delivery, a 'signed for' service which includes insurance to £34GBP,This requires a bar code ticket to be filled out and a counterpart stuck on the packet. Rub is, the barcode can and does get ripped off the packet, so never appears on the system as arrived and signed for.(lost but arrived if you get my drift)!
Generally quite secure, but does get abused!

Next up is 'Special Delivery', which is a next day insured service and includes initial insurance to £500GBP but can be raised to 'sky's the limit'!
Again barcode logged into the system but Not stuck on the packet! If plastic envelopes are used and the address etc is written onto the ticket, the data is indellibly engraved into it anyway - postmaster chucks the rest of the ticket away!.

For overseas shipping there's International Signed for, inc's insurance to £34 but can be raised to whatever's needed for a fee.
This service tracks the packet to the UK border only, but is required to be signed for by the recipient (Paypal Approved).

Then there's 'Airsure', most expensive and supposed to be very secure, ditto insurance as the signed for service,But! Tracked all the way to the recipient's local post office, but Not signed for - so anyone could in theory (and do) take the packet.
This is Not recommended for Paypal as there's actually no proof it got to its final destination.

I no longer ship on a Friday or Saturday either, because packets sit around in local sorting offices all weekend, and get stolen from those offices!
There are so few folks around during those hours, a thief has virtual run of the place to rifle through mail bags at leisure!

Could this have happened to your packet?

July 10, 2008, 15:23
Phillip Sanchez
I don't have any idea, John. The package was in the care and custody of postal employees at all times. The gentleman that bought the watch accused every one at his PO, made them use their stamp that the box was empty.

A package I just shipped to north Florida Insured for $500.00 was just left in his mailbox. Luckily he was the first one there.
July 13, 2008, 17:23
Dan Mitchell
I ship watches in anonymous padded bags/bubble envelopes - big important looking boxes with obvious insurance details thereon are just asking to be nicked !
July 14, 2008, 11:54
Brian C.
I was told a long time ago by a fellow that owned a jewelry store. Never put Jewelry Store or the word watches in the address or the return address. Kind of tempting if someone thinks there might be something good in the package.
Brian C.
July 14, 2008, 16:12
Phillip Sanchez
This is the way the box arrived at the California post office.

July 14, 2008, 16:14
Phillip Sanchez
The flap is open. It won't ever happen again that I leave a flap so easy to gain access.

July 15, 2008, 09:45
Brian C.
What is the post office saying about this?
Brian C.
July 16, 2008, 06:39
Phillip Sanchez
Brian, I took everything to them yesterday. I was informed there was no one there that could process claims and would be back with me in a week. I have the feeling they are going to say the watch "fell " out of the box. Not the packing peanuts, just the watch.
July 16, 2008, 08:52
Brian C.
If that's what they say, fine. They should be able to find it, as it's always been in their hands.
Brian C.
July 16, 2008, 09:51
Phillip Sanchez
Brian, Hades hath no fury like the owner of a stolen pocket watch. Big Grin
July 18, 2008, 15:03
Lindell V. Riddle

Phil, you might take your laptop along and request a sit-down in the supervisor's office. Show them how IHC185 Members rallied around you, even offering a reward for recovery. It would also make the point that a lot of people in a lot of different places are waiting and watching for the outcome.

And whatever you do, do not let anyone blame you! It would be easy to try and claim you did not close the box tightly enough, but you used their box exactly the way they encouraged you to.

Many of us strongly recommend USPS Priority Mail, now it's time for them to follow through on their promises!

I expect they will,



July 18, 2008, 16:00
Donald Trumble
Good points Lindell Smile Since Lindell placed a $185.00 reward, Mike Penson added $100.00 making it $285.00 now I'll add an additional $100.00 making it a $385.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

Phil, be sure to show that to the folks at the Post Office.

July 19, 2008, 07:12
Phillip Sanchez
Thanks, Lin and Don. I am still waiting on the PO to call me. Our tax dollars and our government in action. Confused
July 19, 2008, 12:14
David Abbe
Phil, were it UPS, they would know exactly where it has been from point "A" to "B". I am very sorry this happened to you, and must note those boxes are nice, but most postal people will retape them cl,osed if you mail them at your local branch.

Given the Post Office took it and the P.O. routing should be fairly straightforward, and their irresponsible comment about it "arriving empty" to me clearly puts the blame on them for a full refund. Also request the Postal Inspector check out the person who marked it "empty".
July 19, 2008, 13:35
Marty Bell
Phil-Just from what is on these posts it is obvious that 1)The box is the PO's, 2)they've had it all the time, 3)it was opened by one of their employees.
If the opened flap has paper stuck to it from being pulled open,that shows it was properly sealed. And only an employee would put back an empty box.
Lindell's suggestion to ask for a sit-down with the Supervisor when the week is up is an excellent idea.
Don't let these people forget about our offer of a reward or how much business is generated by our Club...That pic' of Don doesn't hurt either!

July 21, 2008, 00:15
Bruce Byrd
Phil, all large US Post Offices have what I would call an internal affairs. These men and women investigate dirty postal employees. If you do not get results from the local postal inspector I would file a formal complaint and let these investigators do there work (An ex law enforcement partner does this type of work.. Needless to say he is busier now than working the mean streets of san diego.. Lots of dirty postal workers)..

Bruce Byrd
July 25, 2008, 19:28
Sheila Gilbert
I know one thing, if I ever have this problem, the first thing I would do is make sure they get all the fingerprints off the box right away.

I know, there would be many, but it's a chance.

I bet that sticky part of the flap would have something on it.

I read about secure shipping long ago when I was looking for really secure shipping for my Maiden Lane for repair.

I came to the conclusion that the ONLY way it could be sent that I would feel the most comfort with was the Registered.

Check this out:


When you’re sending valuable or irreplaceable items through the mail, protect them with Registered Mail™.

Items you send with Registered Mail are placed under tight security from the point of mailing to the point of delivery, and insured up to $25,000 against loss or damage. And you can verify the date and time of delivery and the delivery attempts online.

Then there are the extra fees that you may want. you can see them at the link below.

Last, there is ALWAYS the question of the value of an item, and some say that even an appraisal is not enough, some say it is. I have no idea, because I had to wait on having my watch repaired when Russell started having his heart surgeries.

It can sure be complicated sometimes huh?

I will keep my eyes open for your watch, and I sure hope it's found. Such a nice watch too!

July 25, 2008, 20:54
Tom Brown
Hi Sheila

I am a court recognized fingerprint expert and spent almost 30 years doing latent print exam of evidence & comparison of the prints. Paper items can hold prints for 100's of years, probably one of the best things to find prints on but the biggest problem is most labs are way over worked & under staffed so most places have to either set a dollar value to what evidence they will examine or some only will do serious violent crimes.

Just thought I would let you know, in a perfect world things like that can be done but as we know this isn't a perfect works.