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While Swiss fakes made to resemble American movements are well known, it should be remembered that lots of fraud watches were sold world wide.
My favorite Swiss fraud is this one made for the Imperial Russian market circa 1909 - 1914. The porcelain dial is marked with a fake name and the covet appears to claim 23 jewels!
Inside, we see some strategically placed cap jewels upon a rather ordinary Swiss movement of low quality. Clearly, this is no 23 jewel watch, however, it still works!
What I like about this watch are the engravings. On the front and back of the hunting case the artist has engraved images of the French Bleriot monoplane. On one side the plane is ready to take off ....
and on the other side of the watch the Bleriot is depicted in flight through a mountain-range.
The little Bleriot monoplain caused a sensation when it was flown across the English channel in 1909. Considered state of the art, it was used by many international aviators, including the lovely American aviator, Harrite Quimby, the first woman to earn a pilots licence in the United States.
Ms. Quimby is shown here in her Bleriot circa 1911. In 1912 she was the first woman to fly across the English channel. However, she died in a flying accident latter that year. A tragic loss.
With the start of W.W.I., in 1914, the Bleriot was used by the military as an observation and scouting plane. However, more modern and lethal aircraft soon pushed it away from the battle front and into the role of a trainer.
As to this old pocketwatch, the monoplane engravings place the watch in a time period of approximately 1909 until about 1914 or 1915. It would not have been made for export after 1917, the year the Bolsheviks took over Russia. By 1917 hardly anyone in Russia could afford bread let alone a watch.
Once a fraud always a fraud. At the time I bought this, the Russian seller tried to convince me it was a special presentation watch for an Imperial Russian pilot. However, no harm done. I knew it was made as a fraud. While the Tzar’s Government was known to give award watches, these were fairly good watches, not falsely marked junk. However, it was those Bleriot monoplane engravings which were the real draw to this “mark”!
I think it's fantastic, and a great piece of history too!
I would be proud of having one like this one.
It's a shame that a lot of others don't see the value of the fakes. Personally I would purchase anything I thought was a piece of history and a record of something as profound as the crossing.
I have watches and cases that are for just that reason too, and I love them.
Great watch, in every way!
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