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Watches of our fathers

  1. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Nov 6, 2019

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    My dad wasn’t a watch guy, he bought what he thought was nice and would tell time. He grew up poor and worked hard for his money. He paid his way through college and medical school, spent his residency doing pediatric cosmetic reconstruction (burns, cleft pallets, facial reconstruction)- really cutting edge stuff at the time. He moved to Los Angeles in 1972 and joined a group of plastic surgeon- talk about the right place at the right time! But he still kept doing the pediatric trauma for 2 more decades despite his private practice booming- he worked 60+ hours a week. I went to middle school with kids who knew my name because my father had operated on them- small world

    In 2002, he died way too young at the age of 64- he never got to enjoy the retirement he had saved for all those years.
    I inherited his watches when he died, two we found in his bathroom drawer next to the toothpaste and floss, the third he wore until he was admitted to the hospital. I kept the oldest (the 18k B&M chrono) and gave the other two to my younger brother. I have all three today as my brother wanted me to change the batteries in the newer ones and swap out a bracelet for the aging leather strap. Thought I would share them together.
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    Share you father’s watch and a little bit about the man who wore it.
     
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  2. Walrus

    Walrus Nov 6, 2019

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    Nice thread JW. You said your father wasn’t big into watches but he acquired some nice pieces. One of my favorite things on the site is when people find or show watches left by family and every once in a while they find a rare omega or some other limited watch. Remember the poor guy who found the ultrama or something similar in his families collection and he had to change his account as people had tracked him down on Facebook continuing to make offers. I’ll put up a couple watches I have from my family tomorrow they are not of any value but they are of the most value to me. If I may compliment your pops for continuing the treatment of kids through his career that was a really decent thing to do for his fellow human
     
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  3. borre

    borre Nov 7, 2019

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  4. WhereMadnessLies

    WhereMadnessLies Nov 7, 2019

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    Great thread and some lovely watches @JwRosenthal . The stories behind these family heirloom pieces are always a great read.

    My father is still alive so his watches haven’t been passed on yet. However, he did pass on to me one of his father’s watches. It’s a 9kt gold Bulova Longchamp. My grandfather received it for 50 years of service from his employer in 1975. This watch means quite a bit too me as I never really got to know my grandfather on my fathers’ side as he died when I was 18 months old. Despite this I still feel a connection with him when I wear this watch and it was great that I had it to wear on my wedding day.

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    I wear this watch quite a bit when I’m off out to more formal events, so it is still being used 2 generations on.

    Another family heirloom watch that I have just received is one of my mothers fathers watches. While its nothing to write home about from a horological viewpoint, it again means a great deal to me. He was a fascinating man who I greatly miss.

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  5. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Nov 7, 2019

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    Lovely heirlooms and the Bulova in the wedding shot is awesome. That Sumo is sweet- what do you mean nothing to write home about, I love those 60’s cheap divers.
     
  6. noelekal

    noelekal Nov 7, 2019

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    My father's 93 and has a Timex Expedition he wears, a gold Bulova retirement watch, and a Russian diver which has been broken for 20 years.

    I have a vague memory of him wearing a Gruen of this style when I was very small. I remember seeing it in his "junk" drawer in his dresser after it had stopped running. I picked up a working example of it. I'm sure his Gruen watch was discarded by about 1970.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. WhereMadnessLies

    WhereMadnessLies Nov 7, 2019

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    Thanks. The Sumo does look very cool. It's at the watchmakers at the moment where he is attempting to get it working again. I believe it has a 1 jewel EB8805 in it, hence my "nothing to write home about". I am however looking forward to getting back and putting it on a rubber tropic style strap :cool:.
     
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  8. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Nov 7, 2019

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    Some of these dials/hands/cases were a standard fit for other movements- perhaps you can see if a better movement (like an FHF or AS) can be a swap in. But I would wait to see what he finds in there. I have some similar that have FHF movements which are very robust and easy to work on....for a watchmaker
     
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  9. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Nov 7, 2019

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    My father wore a Bulova Accutron as his daily watch (my brother has that) and this Young's store branded watch was his "good" watch...

    [​IMG]

    That's as I received it, so a bit of work later and it looks like this now:

    [​IMG]

    Case was replated, new crystal, A Schild movement was serviced...I'm most certainly not a fan of yellow gold, so I don't weat it much...
     
  10. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Nov 7, 2019

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    Same here with the gold- only wear my dad’s B&M on special family occasions out of sentimentality.
     
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  11. JPE.88305

    JPE.88305 Nov 7, 2019

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    Wonderful story, @JwRosenthal, sounds like he was a great guy.

    My father was never a watch guy, but always had an appreciation for well-functioning task instruments, namely fountain pens. Being a PA and having 7 kids he never had the money to invest in a nice watch, but given his love of the mountains & outdoors, I always fancied buying him something to commemorate 1953--the year of his birth--which ties in nicely with Hillary & Norgay's summit of Everest...so ideally a Rolex Explorer or a Smiths Deluxe.

    He's not the kind of person to feel comfortable with a Rolex on his wrist, and a vintage Smiths Deluxe was too risky (attempted a few times to purchase a "reissue" from TimeFactors but always ran into production and timing issues...and it's not the real thing), so a mechanical wind watch with a storied past seemed like the next best thing...

    Hence my foray into Omega, and my hope his Speedmaster will be something he can enjoy, appreciate and pass on to his grandchildren.
     
  12. Dan S

    Dan S Nov 7, 2019

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    My father had an interest in watches. After he passed away in 2005, I inherited a small collection of pocket watches (three of them are quite nice) and his daily-wearer IWC automatic, which was his pride and joy. My own interest in watches actually dates to about this time. I also have his favorite coffee mug, and his speed-skates, which he wore in the 1952 Oslo Olympics.

    He somehow became incredibly enamored of IWC watches when he was stationed in Austria in the early 1950s. He luckily escaped being sent to Korea, and instead went to Europe as part of a small "occupation" force that mainly seemed to process claims for reparations. He could not afford an IWC when he was in the Army, but eventually acquired one at some point in the 1960s. The watch dates to 1961-62, if I recall correctly. He probably picked it up from a friend who owned a jewelry store/pawnshop in NYC. In any case, he didn't seem to realize that the brand was called International Watch Company, and always called it his "Schaffhausen watch". Obviously, I had no idea at the time. He wore it day and night throughout my childhood, and was incredibly proud of it, often telling me about the automatic winding, the waterproof case, and the high quality of the mechanism. He had a debilitating stroke in 1982, and subsequently wore digital quartz watches.

    When I inherited the watch, I started to learn more about it, which ultimately led me down a slippery slope. I had the watch serviced and began to wear it. Unsurprisingly, the case has a lot of wear and tear, but it's a nice solid 36mm SS watch with a classic sporty style. The style is actually quite similar to a ref 666 Ingenieur, with a related auto-winding movement. Ironically, a few years into my collecting journey, when I began to interact more on watch forums, posting wrist-shots, I took a close look at a high-resolution photo of my father's IWC for the first time, and noticed that the dial had been refinished quite poorly. It was incredibly obvious, I just had never imagined it might have been redialed, so I never even looked very closely. It was a bit of a shock at the time. He probably had no idea.

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  13. Canuck

    Canuck Nov 7, 2019

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    My late father apprenticed to a watchmaker in 1924. After 4 years, he changed employers, and was staff watchmaker until 1939 when he joined the RCAF. For years in the 1930s, his wrist chronometer was the Rolex Prince Observatory. After his Air Force stint, he opened his own store. In his store, he was a Bulova guy, tried and true, aside from the Hamilton 992 he used as a bench chronometer. When Accutron arrived in the early 1960s, he bought one for himself, and an identical one for me. When tuning fork Accuquartz became available, he sold his Accutron. I inherited his Accuquartz and his Hamilton, but I still have the Accutron 214 he gave me 53 years ago. It is identical to the one he sold. (I even have my paternal grandfather’s 18-size, 7-jewel Elgin in a coin silver case. He died 111 years ago. I suspect he acquired the Elgin, second hand.) First is his Accuquartz. Second is my Accutron 214 (same as his was). Third is his Hamilton 992 bench chronometer. Fourth is my paternal grandfather’s 7-jewel Elgin. Fifth is my father’s Rolex Prince Observatory chronometer which was used by him for decades. File phots. The pocket watch pictures are sub-par.
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  14. Pvt-Public

    Pvt-Public Nov 8, 2019

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    My dad Left 3 wrist watches and 1 pocket watch.
    A Seamaster that I had serviced and wear occasionally.
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    A JLC which still needs some work so its never worn.
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    A Rolex Sub that my brother bought him, so bro got that back. (never got a pic)

    And this mess.
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  15. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Nov 8, 2019

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    Your dad had some good taste! That pocket watch looks like something right up @Canuck ’s alley.
     
  16. GarethS

    GarethS Nov 8, 2019

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    My father passed about 10 years ago at the tender age of 75.

    He was not a watch collector but passed these two on to me - a generic Swiss dress watch which he bought on a road trip to Geneva back in the 50's and a rather nicer Omega Geneve that was gifted to him by a Hong Kong Doctor who owned a small house in London and would visit occasionally. My Dad would take care of the property maintenance and would receive a gift each time he visited. I received a kickin' Casio one time. No idea where that puppy is.

    He also had a peachy orange faced Pogue which I used to borrow in my early teens but unfortunately lost it one time at the swimming pool... still need to replace it...

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  17. Pvt-Public

    Pvt-Public Nov 8, 2019

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    From the little I found out about the PW he'd probably just pitch it.:eek:
     
  18. mydeafcat

    mydeafcat Nov 8, 2019

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    A terrific thread and wonderful way to honour the fathers who continue to inspire and guide our unique and interesting journeys. Watch men or not, if not for their influence I suspect none of us would be indulging our passions to the level we do here on OF.

    My dad was hugely influential to me. At his funeral in 1987, someone came up to me and said 'your father was good man'. Sums it up perfectly. What more can we ask than that? That alone is good enough for me.

    Not wealthy by any stretch, yet rich in wisdom and curiosity, my father lived within his means and that meant not spending lavishly, except shoes; good, clean shoes meant you were, in his words, a mensch. Lord knows he'd give me shit if he saw my rather meagre collection of 9 watches - especially the 2254 bought new in 2008 and most certainly the 3570, purchased gently used a few months ago (damn you OF enablers). Neither are exactly rare or expensive compared to what we see here every day. My dad would have appreciated the movements and aesthetics, of course, but to him spending thousands on a watch would represent extravagance, which he eschewed. Clearly, I took after my mother in that department. My dad was generous as hell but resisted gifts given to him. He was much older than my peers' fathers and while he did come out to watch me play hockey in freezing temperatures at the local outdoor rink, his preference was to sit at home and read. He passed that on to me (f'ing ipads nowadays are killing that ethic!).

    Born in 1910, he was 52 when I came along - i am the youngest of four. My father was way ahead of his time: he was 42 when he got married, and had his first child a year later. In 1951, being an older dad was rather uncommon. His trust in fellow humans cost him dearly as he lost it all when his customers, farmers in small towns and villages, suffered multiple years of bad yields and couldn't (or, in in some cases refused to) pay back the money borrowed to buy combines and other machinery. He moved the family to Calgary in 1959, became a furniture salesman for 12 years, then after a massive heart attack in 1972 went back to selling made-to-measure suits, his vocation as a young man in Ottawa during WW2. Imagine: starting over at 62, an age at which his peers were retiring comfortably. Ballsy, resilient & responsible to his family, he survived 2 more heart attacks, retired at 71 and passed at 77 from lung cancer. 77...twenty years from my age now.

    I inherited 2 watches from him: a linen-dial Gruen from the early 60's which I've posted a few times, and a slightly damaged (and, I recently learned, refinished) GP my mother gave him on their first anniversary in January 1952. The GP was his daily wearer until some kind of accident that smashed the crystal and also dented the dial. He bought the Gruen around the time I was born and wore it until a busted Spiedel bracelet and cracked crystal relegated it to the back of a drawer for 40+ years. I had it serviced in 2014. The GP tank was brought back to life in around 1974 and once again became his daily watch for many years. Worth little now, except perhaps melt value, but priceless to me.

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    Edited Nov 8, 2019
  19. ahsposo

    ahsposo Most fun screen name at ΩF Nov 8, 2019

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    My father used watches to tell time and tended to throw them away when they quit. I remember some Timexes and a Bulova with a whale on it and then Seikos. Nothing fancy or expensive.

    My grandfather was given a very nice watch for his service as the grand poobah of his Masonic Lodge. He is the Senior, my father the Junior and I am the 3rd (or the Turd as my younger brother says). This watch has a runic dial with our shared name on it. My son also shares the name but we changed his middle name so as not create a dynasty of fools.

    Well, anyway, this watch is our connection. Pop received from his mother when his father passed and my mother gave it to me when my father died. The idea is for my son to inherit from me. The problem here is that I plan on living forever. So far that plan is on track. I truly hope to disappoint him.

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  20. Evitzee

    Evitzee Nov 8, 2019

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    My dad died at age 50, and that was in 1966.....I was just 15 years old. But I remember he wore a Hamilton gold filled watch on a Speidel Twist-O-Flex bracelet, and I always remember that watch when we went to see the St. Louis Cardinals play, always sitting in the cheap seats, 50 cents for kids, maybe a $1.50 for a general admission ticket. The crystal was damaged and the dial was very dirty, but that is what he wore until the early 60's when he decided to get one of those new fangled automatic watches at EJ Korvette. He died a few years later. Eventually I saw his old watch in my mother's dresser drawer and she said 'take it'. I kept it for decades, never losing it, but it didn't run and it looked pretty bad. In 2013 I took it out of my cabinet and opened the back, the movement looked in reasonable condition. Anyway, I discovered Rene Rondeau (now retired) and sent him some pictures. He said it dated from 1938 and was the popular Sutton model, and was worth restoring. The light bulb went on, my dad graduated from Marquette University in 1938 with a Mechanical Engineering degree, that watch was almost certainly a graduation gift from his father. His dad ran a hardware store in a small Wisconsin town, he was not wealthy. The watch cost $52.50 in 1938 ($950 today) which would have been a real stretch for him during the Depression, but his son was the first to go to college. And not many people went to college in those days (<5%).

    I had the watch completely restored including a redial and movement overhaul, I wanted it put back to the condition it was when my dad received it, including the original style pigskin strap. None of this 'original dial, no polishing' stuff. I even sourced a Hamilton bakelite box of that era. I wind it and wear it occasionally, but mostly have it displayed along my first watch I received in 1958.
     
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