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Watch story thread

  1. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 24, 2020

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    I really enjoyed the Accutron per day thread by @Canuck It was fun to get up each morning to see what came next. Part of what made it so fun was that each watch had a story, and he is a good story. So let's keep this going. If you have a watch that has an interesting story, please share.
     
    Edited by a mod Mar 26, 2020
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  2. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 24, 2020

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    I'll start off with my oldest watch, an old Hapden-Dueber pocket watch that has long story. My great grandfather went to work for a small town jewelry store while he was in highschool just after the turn of the century. His main job was cutting wood and keeping the stove going to heat the place. This watch was likely originally purchased from that store by a man who worked for the railroad. It's serial number dates it to 1908.

    My great-grandfather eventually bought the jewelry store and later passed it on to my grandparents. My Dad worked in the store growing up and always admired a certain pocket watch that an old railroad man used to bring in for service. When the railroad man retired, he gave the watch to my dad.

    Growing up I admired my dad's pocket watch. He never wore it, but it was always on his dresser. As a teenager I went through a phase of wearing pocket watches and that was my introduction to mechanical watches. Last year my dad passed away and I inherited this pocket watch.

    20200316_142423.jpg

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  3. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 25, 2020

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    My goal is for others to contribute. My list of watches with interesting stories is short, but I'll post the next soon.
     
  4. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 25, 2020

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    My next watch is very inexpensive. You can buy one new for $60, but it has long and unique story. When I first heard about these watches I knew I had to have one. The Vostok Amphibia was designed in 1967 by Mikhail Novikov and Vera Belov for the Chistopol watch factory in the Soviet Union. There was a need for a watch that could perform at depths equivalent to the far too expensive Swiss dive watches of the time. These Soviet engineers developed several innovations to accomplish a high depth rating at low cost. The watch is designed to compress under pressure rather than resist the pressure. The caseback is sealed with a thick rubber gasket that compresses as back pushes in under pressure, similarly the plastic crystal is designed to flex and form a tighter seal. The watch has a two piece stem which provides additional robustness, and also gives the Amphibia its unique wobbly crown.

    These clever ways of accomplishing design features for a lower cost are representative of Soviet / Russian ingenuity. I am not arguing for the Soviet system, or honoring the USSR, but rather honoring some of the brilliant people of the USSR / Russia. When I was in college in the mid 90s, people were competing to compute the most number of digits of Pi. In those days there were two groups competing and exchanging records. One group of Japanese Yasumasa Kanada and Yoshiaki Tamura using a Hitachi Supercomputer and two brothers Gregory V. Chudnovsky & David V. Chudnovsky who had come from the Soviet Union and computed the digits of using a homemade computer in their New York apartment. When I think about the Amphibia, I think about the Chudnovsky brothers, and all the kind and brilliant Soviet born mathematicians I knew in graduate school.

    Lastly, there is an unexpected connection between this watch and the first watch I posted. Vostok was formed during WWII when manufacturing of watches was moved from the First Moscow Watch Factory to Chistopol because of the advancing Nazi army. The First State Watch Factory was formed in 1930 under the orders of Joesph Stalin. The Soviets purchased the Ansonia Clock Company of Brooklyn, New York, and the Dueber-Hampden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio.

    There are several versions of this watch with countless dials. Most are quite kitschy. Bill Murray's character in the move The Life Aquatic wore one. I chose one of the classier versions.

    20190820_112120.jpg

    Some references:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f54/vostok-amphibia-analysis-design-methodology-491757.html
    https://vostokamphibia.com/amphibia-watch-history/
    https://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/24/...ng-mathematics-faculty-is-a-quantum-leap.html
     
  5. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 25, 2020

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    This one is a 16-size Waltham, 21-jewel Crescent Street. Homely as a hedge fence. I bought it at a price that I thought might allow me to flip it. I was a member of NAWCC at the time.I authored a series of articles in the Bulletin newsletter. I did a two part article on servicing this watch. As I completed the second article, I was cleaning the case. I saw 33 repair marks inside the case back, and I thought I recognized who the watch inspector was. A friend has a data base of this watchmaker’s repair numbers. The first repair was from 1917. And the last from 1963. I bought the watch privately. I have a complete record of 32 of the 33 repairs, including when, what, and how much. The family provided me with additional archival material, and the story of a 16-year old that went to work for the CPR IN 1916, as an engine wiper. In 1917, he became an apprentice fireman, and then a locomotive engineer in 1938. He retired in 1966, after 50 years on the CPR. He carried the Waltham all of those years. Homely, damaged dial, good runner, and no way I would flip it. The black sheep of the original owners grandsons was the one I bought it from. When his brothers found out held sold it, they asked me to give them right of first refusal, if the watch is ever sold. The watch:

    5ECAA008-9E5C-4736-A5DD-4C2F0F98DF4F.jpeg 8DBFAD4B-5161-4137-8432-CFB3635B1D51.jpeg
     
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  6. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 25, 2020

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    Great watch, with a great story. I imagine that there are not many watches that old with such a well-documented history.
     
  7. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 26, 2020

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    View attachment 955437 Well, @wagudc asked for it! Not every watch in every collector’s array comes with much of a story. Many certainly do come with a back story. I find the ones that come with a story are the most interesting ones.

    My submission for today is a watch that came via Mrs. Canuck’s family. Her great grandfather was a sergeant in the Union Army during the civil war, 1861 to 1865. After his military service, he moved to Paducah, Kentucky, and spent a number of years there, as sheriff. He probably married at about that time, and after his career as a law officer, he and his wife moved to Kansas where he took up farming. Came children! After several tornados and fear for the children, he and the family packed up and moved to Washington state. Likely shortly after Washington Territory became the State of Washington. He and the family settled on a farm near Spangle, Washington, which was incorporated in 1888. Spangle is south of Spokane. In the 2010 census, there were 278 folks residing in Spangle. He established a hardware store in Spangle, early in the 20th century. Now to the watch!

    This is an 18-size, 3/4 plate, 19-jewel, lever set, B W Raymond model with jewelled motor barrel, which was made during the first run of this grade, circa 1899, one of 68,000 made in this grade. The watch is railroad grade, but not railroad approved. This dial and the Louis XIV hands were his choice, as the watch was a dress watch for him. But they would preclude the watch being used as a railroad approved watch. The dial is trimmed with gold leaf adornments which are under glaze. After the dial was essentially finished, it was given a coat of clear flux and fired one last time, to yield a vitreous layer to protect the decoration. The case back is fancifully engraved, most likely after he acquired the watch. I consider the movement in this watch to be as nicely adorned of any other watch in my collection. Thirty five years ago, my late mother in law indicated that this watch was for our son. Hah! He’ll end up with it, all right, but after I am no longer around.

    View attachment 955436 View attachment 955437 View attachment 955438
     
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    Edited Mar 26, 2020
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  8. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 26, 2020

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    I love it, a spectacular watch with a great bit of family history. I am glad you have taken the reins with this thread, as my watches with stories are limited. I agree, the most watches have stories. I hope others will join in too.
     
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  9. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 26, 2020

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    A fairly short story here, but my most treasured watch. You all are familiar with the model. It was given to my Dad for his college graduation in 1971, by my grandfather. The caseback is engraved (almost certainly) by my grandfather's own hand. At some point it must have had significant dial damage, and was redialed. I still have the original repainted dial. I don't ever remember my dad wearing it, but it was on his dresser. He always told me it was the type of watch they wore on the moon, and that it represents the pinnacle of mechanical watches. The second point is debatable for but it is and always will be my favorite watch. This is the watch that brought me to Omega Forums.

    Here is the watch with the redail:

    IMG_5660.JPG

    Here is how it looks today:

    20200116_082524.jpg
     
  10. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 26, 2020

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    My submission for today is this Brandt (Omega), 16-size, grade CCR, 19-jewels, patent regulator, lever set, jewelled safety barrel, 24-hour Canadian dial. A late departed friend of mine found this watch at a mart in the mid 1980s. He asked my advice as there was no case, and it wasn't running. He paid $20 for it. About 10 years ago, he and his wife were down-sizing as they were moving to senior’s accommodation. He gave me the watch, nothing having been done to it. I refused the watch unless I could pay him for it. I offered him $200, take it or leave it! Begrudgingly, he accepted the money. A year or two later, he found the case it is in, in his stash. So he gave that to me. Now all I had to do was replace the balance staff and clean it. Couldn’t find a staff, so I made one. The dial has suffered a bit of damage at the 11 position, but it would be impossible to replace. It is a good runner.

    The Brandt CCR was railroad approved in Canada, but I am jot aware if it was accepted anywhere in the U S A. Canada also approved Longines and Zenith watches (both also Swiss) for railroad use. As well as (of course), all the usual American makes.

    The watch is a private label for a jeweller in Greenwood British Columbia. Greenwood is 8 miles from the U S border, in the Okanagan district. It was a 19th century mining town, it’s wealth being huge copper deposits. A narrow gauge railway (the Columbia and Western) operated in the area, hauling ore to Trail, B C, for smelting. They also hauled general freight, and maybe passengers. The jeweller’s name was A Logan, and his name and the location are on the dial. Copper took a huge dive about 1916, and the mines shut down.

    I have included a photo of Copper Street (the main drag) which was likely taken on Dominion Day, prior to 1910. On the left side of Copper Street you can see Logan’s sign on his store front in what appears to me to be an exact rendering of my watch! I have two Brandt CCRs. The movement picture is from my other Brandt which is easier to photograph because of the case style.

    0EDEAD04-3F8D-4BCB-9B00-D1655F7D8E13.jpeg

    2E671190-8C42-45F0-9346-5CC2A2B7F361.jpeg View attachment 955891

    View attachment 955891

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    Edited Mar 27, 2020
  11. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 27, 2020

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    Lotsa watches, not many stories, seems like!
     
  12. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 27, 2020

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    All vintage watches have a story, but sadly most of those stories are forgotten. However, I know there are more good stories out there on this forum.
     
  13. DaveK

    DaveK Mar 27, 2020

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    Watches aren’t part of my family history, so I am enjoying living vicariously through these stories. I’d love to have canuck’s old Waltham with its rich history
     
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  14. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 27, 2020

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    I know @Mad Dog has got some great stories, although they usually come in cartoon form.
     
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  15. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 27, 2020

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    Well, let me know when you’ve had enough from me. I have my story for tomorrow outlined in my head.
     
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  16. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Married to MacGyverette! Mar 27, 2020

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    Well...this one time...at Hooters in St. Louis, MO...I bought a birth year 105.003-64 from @Darlinboy! :thumbsup:

    715936BB-3228-483C-960B-A80C7E020990.jpeg
     
  17. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Married to MacGyverette! Mar 27, 2020

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    And then...this one time...I was so broke from buying a birth year 105.003-64 from @Darlinboy at Hooters in St. Louis, MO, that I stayed in a Super 8 motel in Grayville, IL while driving back to Cincinnati, OH. Also, I was fairly fatigued from the day’s activities...I only made it 2 hours, 26 minutes and 36 seconds out of St. Louis which is indicated by the birth year 105.003-64 in the second pic below...

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    Edited Apr 4, 2020 9:24am
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  18. STANDY

    STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Mar 28, 2020

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  19. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 28, 2020

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    No, no I love your stories. Keep them coming.
     
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  20. wagudc

    wagudc Mar 28, 2020

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    Lovely to story and watch. Europe is so foreign to me literally and figuratively. We have no trains were I live, and the nearest town over 50,000 is a 3-4hr drive, it takes 5.5-6 hours to get to a city. The idea of taking a day trip via train to another country to buy a vintage watch sounds so romantic.
     
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