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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like to have feedback on an Agassiz
(3 high res photos attached)

This is a family hand me down, originally passed from father to son in 1919.

a) Age
b) Relative worth
c) Rarity ?
d) etc...

Here are the specs.

Inside Cover

M.W.C. CO
Serial # 3298

Agassiz Serial # 60776

Cleaned and new crystal installed ~1980.
100% functional, accurate timepiece.
Jeweler almost fell off his feet when he saw it & wanted to buy it on the spot.

Small hairline crack on faceplate.
Multiple engravings...








 

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Awesome, high quality movement!


Nice that's it's in a solid gold case.

Added family value

Should be a definite keeper for you
 

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Wonderful pics.

The movement has no shock proofing so predates the middle 20th century. But to me it looks like a 20th century movement.

I've never heard of the vendor but the use of English on the movement indicate US or English origin. I suspect English. And I suspect it is relatively rare.

The gold value of the case is considerable.

No jeweler will give you what it should be worth to you!!
 

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Hi -

First of all, welcome to WUS and the vintage and pocket watch forum! I hope we can help you out...but the one thing we do not do is valuations: we have a couple of permanent messages at the top of the forum explaining why. Fundamentally, it wouldn't be fair to you without actually seeing the watch and inspecting it to give a valuation, and it's also not our business. Any good, professional, trained and certified watchmaker will be able to help you there, and I for one wouldn't trust anyone but such a fellow or gal with such a lovely timepiece...

Second: wow.

The watch is almost definitely American, based on the fine engraving on the plates of the watch (the flat surfaces) which is called damascening, which very, very few companies outside of the US ever used. It has nothing to do with the operating of the watch, as it is purely ornamental, but it really looks good, doesn't it? :)

The jewels are in chatons (the little collars around the jewels are screwed in, rather than pressed in), the balance is a screw-weighted balance, and the fine adjustment is really, really neat.

This is the part to the lower left of the picture, where it says "Fast" and "Slow". You have an unusual microadjustment, which is driven by a cam (looks like half of a ying/yang symbol). This is really neat because it is fairly rare: it shows that rather than rely on mechanical friction to hold the microadjustment in place, the watchmaker implemented this in such a way that the position is held firmly via the spring, but is finely controlled by the cam.

That's really cool. :)

The hairspring is blued and with the Breguet overcoil, high quality.

That pretty well exhausts what I can say, and I turn it over to the pocket watch specialists amongst us...

I'd place it in the late 19th century, though: a lot of the details scream that out to me, rather than 20th century. It does lack any sort of shock protection on the balance staff jewels, which became very, very widespread by the 1940s, but given that you know it was passed on in 1919, that's not surprising.

Definitely an irreplaceable family heirloom. Thanks for sharing!

JohnF
 

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Actually Agassiz is a Swiss company started in 1876. These watches were sold in the United States. Agassiz was known as a very high-quality manufacturer and also produced complicated watches like repeaters & chronographs. Agassiz is associated with Longines since both were started by the Agassiz family and shared facilities at one time.

I'd guess that this particular pocket watch is from around 1900.
 

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Yes I agree with JimH. Swiss model high quality movement from the early 20th century. The case is American so the watch was cased in the USA.
It's well worth restoration because of its quality and provenance as a family heirloom. I'd get it serviced again if it's been close to 30 years since its last service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yup, its a keeper...
The overall weight of the watch is 4 o.z.
So , less the movement, still alot of gold there...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes I agree with JimH. Swiss model high quality movement from the early 20th century. The case is American so the watch was cased in the USA.
It's well worth restoration because of its quality and provenance as a family heirloom. I'd get it serviced again if it's been close to 30 years since its last service.
Just wondering about the case....
M.W.C.CO.

Does that stand for Military Watch or what ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi -

First of all, welcome to WUS and the vintage and pocket watch forum! I hope we can help you out...but the one thing we do not do is valuations: we have a couple of permanent messages at the top of the forum explaining why. Fundamentally, it wouldn't be fair to you without actually seeing the watch and inspecting it to give a valuation, and it's also not our business. Any good, professional, trained and certified watchmaker will be able to help you there, and I for one wouldn't trust anyone but such a fellow or gal with such a lovely timepiece...

Second: wow.

The watch is almost definitely American, based on the fine engraving on the plates of the watch (the flat surfaces) which is called damascening, which very, very few companies outside of the US ever used. It has nothing to do with the operating of the watch, as it is purely ornamental, but it really looks good, doesn't it? :)

The jewels are in chatons (the little collars around the jewels are screwed in, rather than pressed in), the balance is a screw-weighted balance, and the fine adjustment is really, really neat.

This is the part to the lower left of the picture, where it says "Fast" and "Slow". You have an unusual microadjustment, which is driven by a cam (looks like half of a ying/yang symbol). This is really neat because it is fairly rare: it shows that rather than rely on mechanical friction to hold the microadjustment in place, the watchmaker implemented this in such a way that the position is held firmly via the spring, but is finely controlled by the cam.

That's really cool. :)

The hairspring is blued and with the Breguet overcoil, high quality.

That pretty well exhausts what I can say, and I turn it over to the pocket watch specialists amongst us...

I'd place it in the late 19th century, though: a lot of the details scream that out to me, rather than 20th century. It does lack any sort of shock protection on the balance staff jewels, which became very, very widespread by the 1940s, but given that you know it was passed on in 1919, that's not surprising.

Definitely an irreplaceable family heirloom. Thanks for sharing!

JohnF
Thank you JohnF

Yes, I had read your sticky before listing, but wanted to hear the feedback about this timepice from your collected knowledge.

Your overview / analysis is inspiring, and I appreciate the detail.

I had managed to find out about Agassiz history before but was unable to date the watch (other than to know it was given as a gift) from father to son on his 21 birthday in 1919.

I had also found a serial # dating list from Logines, but wasn't sure if it is relevant.

http://montresuisses.blogspot.com/2007/04/longines-serial-number-charts.html
 

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The scrap value of the gold case alone is worth about $1500 USD (4 oz at $650/oz)
 

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I don't know offhand what the M stands for but the rest means watch case company. It's American though. Definitely not a military watch.
 

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Presumably the movement/dial accounts a good portion of the 4 oz. and, of course, remember that 14K gold has only 58% gold content.

Certainly there is a good amount of value in the gold case but the watch has more value than this.
 

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Re: Regarding the case ...

Yes I was thinking that might be a possibility as well. Thanks JimH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Regarding the case ...

I believe that "M.W.C. Co." stands for "Montreal Watch Case Company".
It's starting to fall into place.....

My Great Grandfather came from Ireland to Canada (Montreal)...Wasn't sure of the date but it now places his immigration before 1919.

Montreal Watch Case Company fits the timeline and location......

THANKS JimH !
 

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Re: Regarding the case ...

not watch related but ...

Canada government web sites have extensive immigration information online including ship's passenger logs from the early 1900s (it's cool to see the scans of the handwritten ships logs). If you have his birth date, you could spend some time and find his ship that he travelled on.
 

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Re: Regarding the case ...

The depth of knowledge of this group continues to amaze and delight me. Thanks folks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: Regarding the case ...

A sketch of Montreal Watch Case Co. in Old Montreal.
http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/massic/high/8-155-b.jpg
By the way Canadian census records from 1901 and 1911 are online so you could try tracing your great grandfather.
http://automatedgenealogy.com/index.html
Wonderful

Great Grandfather and Grandfather found in the census records !

Also bumped into the library archives of Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html

Saw that the recipient of the Watch was in the first world war (Lied on his application) and joined at 17 1/2 yrs old.

Was residing in Montreal with his parents (in 1919) when given as a present.
 

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Re: Regarding the case ...

Well I'd say we did a fairly nice bit of detective work here guys - identified the watch and case, sent Kenno off to research genealogy and military history successfully.
Thanks for all the contributions.
 
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