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Q on identifying Columbus grades "Click" to Login or Register 
posted
Hi,all. Newbie collector here. I'm interested in collecting antique Columbus pocket watches but I have a lot to learn. Later grades of Columbus movements which bear names (e.g.,Railway King, R.W.K Special, North Star, etc.,) are easy to identify for obvious reasons, but how do you distinguish earlier grades of movements that aren't named or marked? I recently acquired an 18s Columbus movement #164113 (1890-91)in a nice heavy Dueber silverine hunter case. It has a somwehat unusual dial (blue lettering and blue circles around the black roman numerals)and it runs very nicely (losing maybe about one minute per week -- not bad for a little gizmo that's 120 years old!) but I have no idea what grade it is or how many jewels it has. Pics below.

Any suggestions or pointers for me? Are there any catalogs or references I should look for? I like Columbus watches because I live in Columbus O., and drive past the old Columbus Watch Co factor building every day near my house.
 
Posts: 156 | Location: Columbus, Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 16, 2011
posted
Dennis, I posted a few pages of Greg Frauenhoff's small publication on Columbus in this post.
 
Posts: 2962 | Location: Western New York in the USA | Registered: March 24, 2008
posted
Hi Dennis,
I'll take a stab at supplementing Eric's helpful comments about helping you to identify various unnamed grades of Columbus watches.

You can do pretty well with "The
Complete Guide..."
by Shugart and others, which is available here if you don't have a copy.

If you have an unnamed model and wish to know the grade you need to pay attention to the following attributes:
1 watch size (ex. 16 or 18)
2 open face or hunter case
3 gilded, nickle, or two-tone movement plates
4 number of jewels
5 GJS (gold jewel settings) - yes or no
6 double sunk dial - yes or no (note. dial might not be original!)

Armed with these answers you should be able to use "The Complete Guide" to either identify, or narrow the grade possibilities down greatly. A change in any of these variables usually signifies a grade change. Identifying the number of jewels will be your greatest challenge as it might require removal of the dial.

Gilded, 16s, 7 jewel, OF & HC Columbus watches, and some 16s, 11j, nickle plated movements cannot be positively identified by grade unless it is possibly by damaskeen pattern. I'm over my head here so I'll quit and let more knowledgeable persons take over.

We like closeup pictures of watches, and are anxious to help if we can. Thanks for posting. Good question!
 
Posts: 803 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee in the USA | Registered: September 02, 2009
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
Dennis, The "Complete price guide to Watches" has a very informative 2-page summary (approx pp 166-167) of the history of Columbus Watch Co. which also explains many of the important factors by serial number. Frauenhof's Book also fills in many details but is pretty scarce.
 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
posted
Thanks, friends. Still lerning how to post pics...

 
Posts: 156 | Location: Columbus, Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 16, 2011
posted
The movement I referred to....

 
Posts: 156 | Location: Columbus, Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 16, 2011
posted
Thanks,Eric, Mike and David for your helpful replies. I have copy of Shugart et al.'s Complete Price Guide. There is a list of various pre-1894 full plate size 18 Columbus grades on page 168, so I'll use that list and try a bit of deductive reasoning here to try to identify the grade of my 1890-91 SN #164113-- 1. The dial is not double-sunk, so eliminate all grades listed with "D.S dial." (This assumes the dial is original, though,which is not necessarily true.) 2. The plate appears gilded, so eliminate all grades listed as "nickel" or "2-tone." 3. My movement is configured for a hunter case so eliminate all "OF" styles. This still leaves the remaining possibilities on the book's list:

7J, G#20, pressed J., HC
15 J, G#24/G#32,gilded, HC

Would you concur with the above so far? Have I made any mistakes? Can you determine from the photo and the list which of the above grades my watch is? Am I overloking some additional factor that allows definite ID without taking the movement apart?

I can see I need to find a copy of Greg Fraenhoff's book.

Thanks again and best regards,
Dennis
 
Posts: 156 | Location: Columbus, Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 16, 2011
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
Dennis, my best reference on Columbus watches is Roy Ehrhardt's Volume 1 "American Pocket watches. The Columbus section begins with a good outline of the Company history . . .

 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
The page covering "pre-1894 un-numbered watches" identifies yours as a Hunter which is "Grade 21-Unadjusted-Friction Jewels-simple regulator-Gilt (Plate finish)-sunk seconds dial. The Value shown is the Movement c.a. 1975.

The Price guide only lists the Nickel plate Grade 22 and reduces $25.00 in value for the Gilt plates as rvident in some of their other pricing.

I hold with Ehrhardt that the value is the same of Gilt and Nickel movements. Your watch when restored in a clean case, I would value up to $200.00

 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
posted
Welcome, stranger. I told you you'd get some immediate helpful responses from the guys here.

For those who might be wondering, new member DENNIS McCANN is my brother. He may be the younger, but I am the (ahem) more handsome of the family representatives on IHC185...

- Damien
 
Posts: 143 | Location: Puget Sound, Washington in the USA | Registered: January 16, 2010
posted
David, thank you kindly for your thorough reply and the interesting pages from Ehrhart's book.I will start looking for a copy of that publication before I go shopping for Columbus watches!

Damien, hmm, funny meeting you here! You were right, there are some very knowledgeable and helpful experts at IHC 185! You shouldn't mislead them with stories about your being better looking... Razz
 
Posts: 156 | Location: Columbus, Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 16, 2011
posted
Hi Dennis,
Since I've never met your brother Damien, I can't comment on his "looks". I can however, determine by his post that he is indeed a very humble man.

Bud


quote:
You shouldn't mislead them with stories about your being better looking...
 
Posts: 449 | Location: Ontario in Canada | Registered: September 28, 2010
posted
Aye, Bud, the very picture of humbilitude (I'm proud to say).

Gobble-Gobble!

- Damien
 
Posts: 143 | Location: Puget Sound, Washington in the USA | Registered: January 16, 2010
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