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Just today I looked over a friend's Illinois "Cavalier" in white gold-filled that was an otherwise decent watch, but had been engraved (apparently long ago) on the rear with an owner's name.
Any opinions as to what negative effect this has on value ... either specifically to this watch or to vintage wristwatches in general?
personally I haven't found an engraving to be a negative, as long as it's well done. In fact if the engraving has a date, like an anniversary or service award it may tend to add to the nurismatic value.
IHC Member 321
Anyone else, either agree here or hold another opinion?
I like well done initials or presentation engravings. It allows me to imagine who else owned this watch and wonder who they were or what they did.
I agree with Jerry, a well done engraving with information about the owner brings a watch to life.
I agree with Jerry and Tom that good engraving does not deter from a watch, but is part of its history and can lead to some interesting things.
I know you are discussing engraving on the outside of the case, but engraving on the inside of the case back can also be interesting. A look at the "If watches could talk" thread in the "The TIME ZONE...Stories" section. A great example of someone recording their history in the back of a watch.
|IHC Member 234|
...I'm w/the majority on this one as well...one, I've got some great deals on vintage watches that apparently have put others 'off' w/the engraving...two, believe, as others, that it adds to the 'provenance' of these 'pieces particularly if the engraving is on the pw's cuvette...we are, after all, just 'caretaking' these 'pieces...have always liked these 'personal touches' on clocks as well...gives them a 'character' that they wouldn't otherwise have...
IHC Life Member
I love great engravings, monograms, or personalizations.
I'm not a fan of ugly ones, those done by the local jeweler, or ones that say little about the history of the watch or the owner.
The Hamil†on Watch Company had an large and well funded division that was dedicated to "Awards and Incentives". As a result, ALL of these watches had a monogram or personalization.
I love great personalizations.
I hate horrible ones.
Even more distressing is when a personalization or monogram is removed, leaving the case back weak, uneven, and ugly.
That is where I stand on the matter.
Life Member# 17
Thanks everyone for the responses!
Back to the watch that I looked at this weekend, it was a white gf Illinois "Cavalier" and the case back was engraved with a name (first and last) and nothing else. The work was clearly old, not sloppy but not particularly nice either. The front of the case was beginning to show some base-metal on the corners of the high points.
The watch needed a mainspring and the crystal was a bit on the rough side, but the dial and hands looked decent and original. I probably should have bought the watch as the price seemed fair, but I wasn't really sure how the name affected its worth and it would have been more of a trade/sale item for me anyways as it isn't really what I collect.
Oh well ... maybe he'll still have it at the next show.
I just have to add that I LOVE engraving.
Especially the Old Fancy type.
In fact, I hope to get one I have enhanced if possible. Only a couple of the end letters are rubbed flat, so if I can get it lightly put back, the way it was, I will.
Since it's a Solid Silver one, it should be OK, but if not, I won't touch it.
I should also state, that only because I found a very old engraver, that does perfect work, did I ever even considered doing this to a vintage case.
I have been having some email conversations with an engraver who is the "Official" engraver for LeCoultre. He has some examples of his art on his web site and they are really wonderful.
He is interested in moving on to the movement decoration and damaskeening if he can find or build a suitable machine.
|IHC Life Member|
My favorite engravings have Dec 25th included. I can only imagine how it felt to wake up on Christmas day and see a new watch under the tree! It would be on a par with my Lionel train and Fanner 50.
Thanks for the engraver's site. That is art!
John D. - Help, please . . . just what is it that am I'm missing out on here ?? At my age, I need to (should?) know these things . . . heh, heh, heh !!!
I have one that was listed as being one from a woman that worked at Elgin. It was from ebay so who knows?
This one's especially for John Duvall although it doesn't say Dec. 25th.it does say Christmas 1882 .
By the way the case is a magnificent 16s Solid 14K gold Box Hinge PW with an 1882 Elgin movement
IHC Member 321
I have a Elgin 12 sz that has a nice monogram of the man,s initials on the case back and when you open it on the dust cover it says W F Croft, from his wife Maude, Dec 25, 1918
I would have loved to be able to see this christmas day in that house in 1918.
This is one engraving job that was done very well, i tried to take a picture before but to much glare.
|IHC Life Member|
Dave - Thanks for the picture of the beautiful watch. You don't find "Christmas" spelled out very often.
Jim - Attached is a pix of a "Fanner 50". I stole this photo from eBay but mine (at Mom's house in KY) in just like it.
Ya-hoo !! My heroes have always been Cowboys . . . Gene & Roy for me as a kid and my dad, of course, who was a true, real life Cowboy as a young man growing up on ranches in far West Texas.
Thanks, John D - I appreciate your efforts for the small kid inside of me who still dreams of being a Cowboy.
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