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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 82 year old mother said it was given to her when she was 16 or 17. She thinks it was worn by someone else in her family before being given to her. As you can see there are no obvious markings on the dial or case. There is engraving of a floral motif (ivy?) on the top of the case. The hands (at least he subdial) appear to be blued. the crown pulls out and the time can be set. I have not tried to wind it or to open it. Does anyone recognize it or have any information on how I can find out about the maker, year of manufacture, value?

Thanks

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I am afraid that the only hope we have of telling you anything is to have a look at the insides. The "cushion style" case was certainly popular in the thirties which matches your statements.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am afraid that the only hope we have of telling you anything is to have a look at the insides. The "cushion style" case was certainly popular in the thirties which matches your statements.

Hartmut Richter
Any suggestions on how to open the case? There appear to be seams around the top of the case and the bottom (sort of a "sandwich"). They seem to be very tight with no gap.
 

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Could you post a close-up of the side? There has to be a gap somewhere. Also, the dial may be either solid silver, or silvered. If so, it would clean up nicely without refinishing (if so desired). Numbers on the dial suggest it's a late 20s - 30s watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are some close ups of the case. Looks like there might be a slight gap on the corner above the crown, but it's only slight (fourth photo). I am leery of opening it myself because I wouldn't want to try to open it the wrong way or force it and damage the watch.

So do you think a good local watch repair shop might be able to service/restore this, or would it need to go somewhere special? (The crystal is missing. Are replacements available?) What might restoration cost (ball park) and could the watch be worth enough to do it?

Thanks again for all your help.

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You have to edge in a sharp knife into one of those gaps (the standard one to use is opposite the crown) and pop open the back. The knife (the proper tool is a case opener looking like a short knife with broad blade) must be sharp enough to go into the gap but not too sharp to prevent injury if you slip.

Good luck!

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Got the case back off this watch yesterday. Took it to a small jewelry/watch repair shop. The owner said the movement is a "viceroy" worth $8-10, the hairspring is broken, and the watch would cost more to get repaired than it is worth. He said he had a drawerful of these movements he keeps for parts.

After googling viceroy and searching for the term on this forum, something just didn't seem right. The small number of results I got pointed to new cheap Chinese watches with that name or a line of Rolexes from the 40s. So I decided to open it again and take a look myself.

This is what's engraved on the inside of the case back below a five pointed star (pictures will be in next post):

S.W.C.CO.
GOLD FILLED
20 YEARS
9 3/4 LIGNE
4604697

And hand engraved to the left:

2285 2/25

And the following is engraved on the bridge of the movement:

BLANCPAIN
FIFTEEN 15 JEWELS
THREE 3 ADJUSTMENTS
SWISS

And along the edge of the bridge:

ALECOULTRE

I'm trying not to get too excited, but I know BLANCPAIN is a fer piece from Viceroy!

Can anyone here provide more information?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Well, for one thing, I have to dampen your spirits slightly - Blancpain was always a decent make but the modern Blancpain (in Le Brassus) has little to do with the old Blancapin (in Villeret). In fact, the modern company is a newly founded one, using the rights to the old name and doing its best to revive and restore the tradition of the old one. Rather like A Lange & Söhne. Which does not make either of them bad companies or either of the old ones bad companies.....

I am not sure where the old Blancpain got its movements from but I suspect that it made some of them itself (according to the Zenith lists, the Zenith Cal. 12-4 is actually a "Rayville", i.e. Blancpain movement). They may well have got them from LeCoultre who have throughout their history been an ebaucherie, i.e. supplier of raw movements as well as a manufacture. The earlier LeCoultre movements were good (the repeaters were exceptional) but some of them were reasonably mundane. I therefore suspect that, if your watch and movement specifications are correct (and the movement engravings are a little rough - any chance of posting the whole movement?), the whole thing adds up to an interesting but not terribly special watch. Still, rarity is one reason for increased value, I suppose.....

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks Hartmut. Through a little additional research I found out that SWCCo is the Star Watch Case company. According to NAWCC, the gold filled cases with a 20 year guarantee were produced until 1906. I still haven't found out much about the movement.

Not sure if there's enough detail, but here's a shot of the entire movement.

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Sorry, I can't identify it either. If it is a LeCoultre, it seems a bit of a transitional piece between the times when the bridge edges were quite curved and those when simpler forms were introduced.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Hard to see, but in both pictures where it is somewhat visible the hairspring doesn't look to be broken or really tangled...
 
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