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Search for the Oldest Longines - 183. The historically important transitional Comptoir AA4 made 1867

  1. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    This would be the typical dial for an AA4 in the 300 range. 1BB123C3-26B6-4D14-A675-63F53BC7C7E2.jpeg
     
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  2. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    3166 Dial. Note, 3166 is all matching.
    F0F7B2A8-D16A-47BF-83D1-1061B73E4C6A.jpeg
     
  3. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    Still less 10 of these AA4 are known to exist
     
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  4. Diana34 Jul 13, 2021

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    Thank you Seiiji for these wonderful pictures! In conclusion this means that the watch 347/3223 is for sure not the fourth odest in existance - as described in the Ebay auction? Case and movement dont match?
     
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  5. OmegaSeeker Jul 13, 2021

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    Very interesting read and cool that another AA4 has been found. Note that dials differ. Does the case look like yours Seiji?
     
  6. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    No the case is not like mine, but it is a correct 300 serial range AA4 case. The dial is a correct serial 3000 range AA4 dial. The case and movement did not leave St. Imier together originally. There could be records of a replacement later. But, I have a different wrist chrono watch from 1910 era where the Archives show an upgrade was made but Longines put the same serial numbers on the new part.

    The watch is still very rare in its current form. Also only 3166 is the same movement variation. Most likely extremely low production of that run due to the fact by then Longines was producing more than 10,000 watches of several other keyless calibers. It is a odd watch to see from around 1870
     
    Edited Jul 13, 2021
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  7. OmegaSeeker Jul 13, 2021

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    Interesting. Love that they record the upgrades.
     
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  8. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    AA4 in any form are very rare since most were not planned to be produced. Longines also has no actual records of "AA4". They are recorded as 20A. There is no way to count AA4 production numbers from the archives. I believe Patrick Linder was first to publish the AA1-AA4 terminology. We must remember that many different calibers were available after production issues were resolved at the factory for the true keyless 20A.

    Also, these AA4 were expensive to produce. Each movement part was hand tuned to fit. These movements were literally hand "finished" meaning the adjustments have to be made to the springs, bridges and plates, not just the jewels, balance, and regulators. AA4 movement parts are not interchangeable. These are non-standard sizes.
     
    Edited Jul 13, 2021
  9. DirtyDozen12 Thanks, mystery donor! Jul 13, 2021

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    In addition to being marked "3166", the case of 3166 is also marked "1316" and "2" on the cuvette (see below). So some numbers match, and others do not. This is also the case for 4668 (see further below). In addition to being marked "4668", the case is also marked "412" and "7" on the back. Is it not possible that the "347" marking on the case of 3223 is equivalent to the "1316" and "412" markings on 3166 and 4668, respectively? This could explain the mismatch, though not the apparent omission of a "3223" marking somewhere on the case. However, accepting such an omission seems just about as reasonable as the explanation that the original case of 3223 was lost and a case from the same era was found to replace it.

    9.JPG

    2.JPG

    If the movement of 3223 is many years newer than the case, then is it not surprising how similar the markings on the cuvette are to the apparently original case of 3166 (see my previous post)?

    Another question I have is about the absence of a winged-hourglass logo (see example below) on the case of 3223. I know that 183, 300, 335, and 3166 all have this marking on their cases, whereas 3223, 4668, and later examples that I have seen do not.

    4.JPG
     
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  10. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    "DirtyDozen12, post: 1819837, member: 11789"]In addition to being marked "3166", the case of 3166 is also marked "1316" and "2" on the cuvette (see below). So some numbers match, and others do not."

    Hello DD12, you do not have the knowledge of how these AA4 were marked. This is the correct way for all AA4 to be marked.
     
  11. DirtyDozen12 Thanks, mystery donor! Jul 13, 2021

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    Firstly, you have misunderstood what I wrote if you think I implied that the markings on 3166 are incorrect. I merely stated that not all of the numbers that appear on the case of 3166 are "3166", there are other numbers too.

    Secondly, based on a sample size of fewer than 10 examples, you are claiming that you know how "all" AA4 cases are marked?
     
  12. Seiji Jul 13, 2021

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    Sorry about misreading your post. Limitations of not having an interactive conversation. I am not claiming I know anything. But I suggest you look at other Longines hunter cased pocket watches of the era. There is no special rules for only AA4 about how they marked the hunter cases. There is a scheme used so they know if any of the parts are replaced on the hunter case. With the exception of the rare typos, the rules are usually consistent with hunter watches of different calibers of the era that look entirely original.
     
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  13. DirtyDozen12 Thanks, mystery donor! Jul 14, 2021

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    Last year I spent some time researching early Longines pocket watches and it is clear that cases were being supplied by multiple makers. Generally speaking, the numerical markings across different makers had similar conventions but there is variation. The fact that the case of 3223 does not have a "3223" marking anywhere is certainly atypical. However, barring this omission, I think that it is reasonable to believe that the case could be original to the movement and dial for three reasons: (1) its resemblance (notably the cuvette) to the case of 3166, (2) the very good condition of the dial (which would be somewhat surprising if it had been orphaned), and (3) the low likelihood of finding such a case as a replacement.
     
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  14. Seiji Jul 14, 2021

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    If you believe the case is original, then the current eBay price could be 1/10th the price of it's true value. Longines bought the parts for 561. Not even a complete watch for more than $5000. Bernard had to make some of the parts. 3223 is a complete watch that needs a hair spring, balance shaft, and overhaul.
     
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  15. OmegaSeeker Jul 14, 2021

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    It is always hard to value these very early watches so that sort of insight on 561 is helpful. I was watching the listing with the believe that it may be solid value if it remained under 5k.
     
  16. DirtyDozen12 Thanks, mystery donor! Jul 14, 2021

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    I am not sure that it is wise to appraise the value of a watch, made by a given brand, based on the amount that said brand paid for it on the secondary market.
     
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  17. OmegaSeeker Jul 15, 2021

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    Suppose it’s ultimately down to the value you attribute to it. AA4s are extremely rare and it’s a nice piece but understand your point
     
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  18. Seiji Jul 15, 2021

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    This is the original archive book. You can see in the circle that the watch was recorded as a caliber 20A.
    upload_2021-7-15_14-50-14.png
     
  19. Seiji Jul 17, 2021

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    It reached a fair price from what I know of these watches and private trades and offers. 9EEE627B-FD48-41DC-9F13-97F5DF29BAFF.jpeg
     
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  20. Seiji Jul 17, 2021

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    Congratulations to the new owner of 347/3223. Longines values AA4 as a special place in their history and so do many collectors.

    Walter Von Kanel is a very charismatic and generous person. I think he gave me the last Equestrian Longines had for finding an AA4.

    54945FEB-E42E-474E-AB45-2E2F91FFCA24.jpeg F509A1B2-C839-46A0-AB73-0700A77EB1F3.jpeg
     
    Edited Jul 5, 2022
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