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Old 10.10.2016, 21:47
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Old watch repair Zurich

Amongst my stuff is my grandfather's pocket watch. From the serial number, I know it was produced in 1899, is in remarkably good condition and still keeps time! I would like to have someone take a look at it, clean it, etc. it's not very valuable, but it's cool.

Anyone have any suggestions for watch repair, particularly around zurich or Winterthur?
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Old 10.10.2016, 21:52
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

IŽd go to a shop that still has the brand?

Went to Montblanc with a very old pen from my FIL and they repaired it for free as they found it nice to see such an old piece still being used.
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Old 10.10.2016, 21:58
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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IŽd go to a shop that still has the brand?

Went to Montblanc with a very old pen from my FIL and they repaired it for free as they found it nice to see such an old piece still being used.
It's an American brand - Elgin - i don't know if they are still in existance, but it is a good thought.
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Old 10.10.2016, 22:47
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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It's an American brand - Elgin - i don't know if they are still in existance, but it is a good thought.
Elgin finished production in 1968. It was started by a group of investor/watch designers, who poached staff from American Waltham to get production started.

Waltham was the first company to produce pocket watches from interchangeable parts. Elgin used the same system. Until about 10 years ago you could still buy new parts for both Elgin and Waltham (balance staffs, springs, fasteners etc.) - this is probably still the case.

If you post the serial number of the watch, and/or a pic I can probably give you a bit more information.

Any good horologist should be able to service it. Since it still runs it probably just need a clean and lubrication. I have a couple of Elgin/Walthams, they are similar construction and quite well made.

There used to be a couple in the Niederdorf, and there is also one just uphill from the ETH/USZ.
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Old 10.10.2016, 23:27
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

A very good friend of mine is a watch designer, he's retired but still collects old watches, pen knives, binoculars etc, restores some himself, but also has lots of friends in the biz. I'll be seeing him on Thursday evening, I'll mention it to him
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Old 10.10.2016, 23:30
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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Elgin finished production in 1968. It was started by a group of investor/watch designers, who poached staff from American Waltham to get production started.

Waltham was the first company to produce pocket watches from interchangeable parts. Elgin used the same system. Until about 10 years ago you could still buy new parts for both Elgin and Waltham (balance staffs, springs, fasteners etc.) - this is probably still the case.

If you post the serial number of the watch, and/or a pic I can probably give you a bit more information.

Any good horologist should be able to service it. Since it still runs it probably just need a clean and lubrication. I have a couple of Elgin/Walthams, they are similar construction and quite well made.

There used to be a couple in the Niederdorf, and there is also one just uphill from the ETH/USZ.
Thanks, I'll definitely check. Horologist is the word I was looking for.
Serial number is 7499241. size 12, apparently it was made in 1899 (from the Elgin database). it's in remarkable condition, in the original box and i remember my grandfather using it all thetime. He died in 1973, so I assume it's been in its box since then. I'm pretty sure he was the original owner....he came to the US in the 1890's when he was quite young.
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Old 10.10.2016, 23:32
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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A very good friend of mine is a watch designer, he's retired but still collects old watches, pen knives, binoculars etc, restores some himself, but also has lots of friends in the biz. I'll be seeing him on Thursday evening, I'll mention it to him
Thank you too!
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Old 10.10.2016, 23:57
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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Thanks, I'll definitely check. Horologist is the word I was looking for.
Serial number is 7499241. size 12, apparently it was made in 1899 (from the Elgin database). it's in remarkable condition, in the original box and i remember my grandfather using it all thetime. He died in 1973, so I assume it's been in its box since then. I'm pretty sure he was the original owner....he came to the US in the 1890's when he was quite young.
My copy of Shugart lists that serial number as 1898. It is a bit unusual in that it is open face - I've only seen a few open faced American watches from that period. The open face was more a Swiss style, in the UK the case and pair was still being made, but the US made vast numbers of gold clam cased double back watches, in part because of the interchangeability of parts which was pioneered in the US. Elgin, Waltham, American Watch Company were turning out both inexpensive and luxurious watches which were jewelled and adjusted, partly because of the railroad watch law ca 1890, which introduced 4 sec/day accuracy, open face, minimum Jewel counts (17iirc). Although an approved railway watch is larger than size 12, this law set the tone in the US watchmaking, so your watch is about iphone4 on the timeline, which is pretty impressive when you think that it still runs, and hasn't been serviced since '73. Get it serviced, it would be a shame if you couldn't hand it on in running condition.
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Old 19.10.2016, 19:14
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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A very good friend of mine is a watch designer, he's retired but still collects old watches, pen knives, binoculars etc, restores some himself, but also has lots of friends in the biz. I'll be seeing him on Thursday evening, I'll mention it to him
Just seen him and he uses this guy all the time, highly recommended

Herr Jenni
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Old 19.10.2016, 20:15
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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My copy of Shugart lists that serial number as 1898. It is a bit unusual in that it is open face - I've only seen a few open faced American watches from that period. The open face was more a Swiss style, in the UK the case and pair was still being made, but the US made vast numbers of gold clam cased double back watches, in part because of the interchangeability of parts which was pioneered in the US. Elgin, Waltham, American Watch Company were turning out both inexpensive and luxurious watches which were jewelled and adjusted, partly because of the railroad watch law ca 1890, which introduced 4 sec/day accuracy, open face, minimum Jewel counts (17iirc). Although an approved railway watch is larger than size 12, this law set the tone in the US watchmaking, so your watch is about iphone4 on the timeline, which is pretty impressive when you think that it still runs, and hasn't been serviced since '73. Get it serviced, it would be a shame if you couldn't hand it on in running condition.
That's really interesting. I know nothing about watches...I just remember my grandfather pulling it out of his vest pocket. I like the watch and I'd like to use it. I wound it (part way) and it kept near perfect time for several hours.

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Just seen him and he uses this guy all the time, highly recommended

Herr Jenni
Awesome! Many thanks!
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Old 23.10.2016, 20:28
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

Just found this Edot- in a book I am currently translating into French, by the American John Biggs- available on Kindle only. About the most famous ever watch-maker, Breguet- and the saga of his most famous watch 'La Marie-Antoinette' (title of the book) - made by Breguet to order for the Swedish Count Fersen, Marie-Antoinette's lover. A really fascinating book for anyone interested in horology- that was recommended to me by a brilliant British watch-maker as I live very close to where Breguet did his initial apprenticeship btw. 1760 and 63- before going up to Paris and the Quai des Horlogers.

There is a whole chapter on the watch making history in the USA, and this:

In a twenty year span, beginning in the early 1950s, American watch companies fell one after another. The Waltham Watch Company in Massachusetts shuttered in 1957 and was followed in 1964 by Elgin National Watch Company in Illinois. Elgin had once been the maker of half of the pocket watches in the world, and was immortalized by Robert Johnson in 1936 when he sang 'Walkin' Blues': 'She's got Elgin movements from her head to her toes'. Gruen, orignally based in Ohio, closed in 1977.

Last edited by Odile; 23.10.2016 at 20:49.
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Old 15.12.2016, 04:58
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

Thanks Odile...totally missed your post at the time....was just checking out the thread because I was looking for the watch guy's address.
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Old 15.12.2016, 09:49
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

The book is available on Kindle- a great read for anyone interested in the history of watch-making.
(message to self - must get on with that translation into French and get it published- hopefully with Breguet's support - and a plaque put on the house where he did his initial apprenticeship, very near me).
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Old 15.12.2016, 11:05
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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The book is available on Kindle- a great read for anyone interested in the history of watch-making.
(message to self - must get on with that translation into French and get it published- hopefully with Breguet's support - and a plaque put on the house where he did his initial apprenticeship, very near me).
I have a question about the English version, it it a bad translation from German as it's very difficult to read. The watch is usually called a clock is the biggest give away of a German origin with the translator not understanding the subject matter.
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Old 15.12.2016, 17:05
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

Written by an American born and bred.

John Biggs is a writer, consultant, programmer, and the East Coast Editor for TechCrunch and runs Freemit. He writes mainly about technology, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, he switched his profession and became a full-time journalist. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Linux Journa
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Old 15.12.2016, 17:11
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

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Written by an American born and bred.

John Biggs is a writer, consultant, programmer, and the East Coast Editor for TechCrunch and runs Freemit. He writes mainly about technology, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, he switched his profession and became a full-time journalist. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Linux Journa
A jack of all trades & a master of none it would appear.

I look forward to reading the French version, hopefully it will make more sense.
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Old 15.12.2016, 17:31
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Re: Old watch repair Zurich

Great tale- even if the style could be better.
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