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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am working thru some of my old watches and have some questions on this particular one that is an inherited watch.

I know that it predates the great war but can not get a more accurate date on it.

The movement has 'Baume Geneve B&L' written on it along with the serial number 25243. This serial number also appears on the movement back and the watch back. The watch is keeping good time (gains 1 min per day).
On the watch back we have '18k 25243' aa written on it.
The watch came from my UK family, so would have originally been purchased there.

My questions are :
Does anyone recognise this watch movement - it looks fairly standard to me.
B&L - this is a strange thing to see on the movement. Any idea what this is?
Is there anything in this detail that allows us to put a more accurate date on the watch?
Do I have anything 'special' here apart from sentimental value and the value of the gold?

Thanks for any opinions!

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Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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Baume as in "B & L" was probably Baume & Lezard of Geneva. The movement is typical of the era 1830-1870 (approx.): key wound, Swiss, radial finger bridge style (later specimens had parallel bridges) and a cylindre escapement from the period in which this was not quite as mundane as the turn of the 19th (to the 20th) century.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Hartmut, that helps. From what I can see the B&L signature was used between 1852 and 1872 which narrows the range down for me. I will look in to it some more, or perhaps someone else on here can shed more light on it?!
 

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Unlikely to be gold; no hallmarks. Even American cases would have some indication of fineness. The "18k25243" is likely "officially" part of the case serial number (so as to not run afoul of official hallmarking laws) and was probably put there to confuse buyers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Unlikely to be gold; no hallmarks. Even American cases would have some indication of fineness. The "18k25243" is likely "officially" part of the case serial number (so as to not run afoul of official hallmarking laws) and was probably put there to confuse buyers.
Its gold all right. I had the watch and the chain that came with it checked by a jeweller about a decade ago prior to adding it to the insurance policy.
 

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How did he check it? If the case is rolled gold or gold filled, the thickness of the gold is enough to fool a chemical spot check (because the outer layer is indeed solid gold). The fact that the case serial matches the watch serial means it was probably cased in Switzerland. I believe the Swiss started hallmarking around 1880, so if it's from before then it's conceivable that it wouldn't have been hallmarked (assuming it wasn't being exported to the British Empire). The cuvette definitely looks plated or filled; there's a spot of what looks like vertigris on the inside that would likely be from the inner brass layer.
 

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Hey did you ever get anywhere dating this? I have a very similar watch except it has a seconds sub-dial and doesn't say "B&L" on the movement. Also has a different reference number - 39250. Any ideas welcome.
 
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