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Discussion Starter #1
Just picked up a nice looking vintage Longines-Wittnauer watch on the bay and I'm a it disappointed as it was sold as a "solid 14K" watch however there is some brassing on the back and a small chip inside so...it can't be "solid 14k"...

I'm going to have a word with the seller about that, but I was wondering if anyone had any insight on the hallmarks used by Longines, here is the one inside the case of this watch :



Without having the watch under your eyes, this hallmark would seem to qualify as "solid 14k"...
 

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Nothing there says 'solid' to me. I would say this was 14kt gold-FILLED.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks, well in my (admittedly) short experience with Gold hallmarks, it is generally spelled out when the watch is plated or goldfilled. On the solid gold Bulova Accutrons it says "14K Gold Case" for instance.

I guess the "trick" here is the little "thingy" between 14K and GOLD, what looks like an L (or E?) in a circle and maybe with a small p (for plating?) on top of the L/E.

I looked up Longines hallmarks but couldn't find this particular one :-(
 

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When sold in the US, Longines did not encase its products in Switzerland. The movements were shipped to the US and encased locally. Thus they follow US law.

I believe US law prevalent at the time of encasement required products which are not solid gold to be labeled as such. If it is solid gold, its purity must be noted. Thus, I would read this as solid 14kt gold. (I think this is still current law.)

What was assumed to be a hallmark is actually the foundry mark. US law does not provide for hallmarks.

I may be wrong but, if I am, I trust others will correct me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the insight, unfortunately looking up "14k foundry mark longines wittnauer" on Google didn't yield anything of interest.

So you would have also assumed "solid gold" like I did when I saw the pictures and the seller too I suppose, except that when you have the watch in your hands you can see it is not solid gold, with the brassing and the chips being the telltale, both being impossible for solid gold, right ? Not to mention the general aspect.

Seller got back to me, maintains it is solid gold, want to talk on the phone...
 

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I would think it's a solid gold watch from that photo also. If it were plated, it would say how thick the plate is (ie 20 microns). If it were gold filled, it would say 14K gold filled or rolled gold plate....something like that. Eeeb is correct in saying that the markings in that picture denote a solid gold case. The only thing missing (and it frequently was on American cases) is the .585 purity percentage of 14K. Here's the inside of my 1964 Longines Diamond Dynasty that's solid 14K white gold:



The symbol next to the 14K mark is from the case manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for pitching in guys, not sure what to think now...I've taken some pics that will hopefully shed some light on this :

Close-up view of the "foundry mark", almost looks like there is a 5 in there, 5 micron plating ?




Chips :





"Brassing" :



"Foundry Mark" in the back, this time with only an L inside the circle
 

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Thanks for the insight, unfortunately looking up "14k foundry mark longines wittnauer" on Google didn't yield anything of interest.

So you would have also assumed "solid gold" like I did when I saw the pictures and the seller too I suppose, except that when you have the watch in your hands you can see it is not solid gold, with the brassing and the chips being the telltale, both being impossible for solid gold, right ? Not to mention the general aspect.

Seller got back to me, maintains it is solid gold, want to talk on the phone...
Wear points on gold may take a slightly different color but they should not be brass colored... you can polish the rest of the lug and if they are the same color it is not brassing. (The alloys in gold can oxidize causing a slight color shift. Polishing should remove that oxidation... wear is an extreme case of polishing.)

As to chips... I am not sure what that means. I have had what looks to be delamination of gold plated and rolled gold watches... that's the base metal showing through. But that usually occurs as a line along a wear point.

Mechanical stresses that cause 'chips' in metal should cause chips in gold metal. I do not see why gold would be immune. But I associate chipping with very hard metals which 'flake' off when stressed at a point.

You may be seeing dents in the case and think that is a chip. Almost any case can dent.
 

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Ah great photos... this is marked as a solid gold case. The lugs certainly look brassed ... try polishing as I mentioned in the other post.

The white metal on the edging might be 'transference', i.e. white metal that rubbed off onto the gold. Again, polishing will show the true nature of the case.

You may have a fake 14kt gold case... :-s
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, actually the lugs are not too bad, in the "brassing" picture I was trying to show the discoloration in the back of the case, just above where the "clip" is located.

Don't have much in the way of polishing equipment here, but the "chips" really look like plating that has come off, I have an old plated watch that has the same problem.

Fake gold case, eh ? Just my luck !
 

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I too would call that solid 14K based on the markings.

Sometimes gold surfaces get discoloured and it polishes up pretty easily. Perhaps that is what you have here but I've never seen silver coloured discolouration before (it's usually dark).

Is there anything about the movement or dial that would suggest a COMPLETE fake?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
No the movement is a 19.4 with a 12xxxxxx (sorry I closed the watch) serial that dates it to 1964 and the dial looks genuine too.



This is really weird, clearly not solid gold, so I was thinking the bezel and there does appear to be a tiny hallmark at about 6 o'clock, slightly off center but even with my 15x loupe I can't make much of it looks like "22" maybe. There is a small grey colored ding in the bezel too so that suggests plating as well.

That L in the circle in between "14K" and "GOLD"must mean something on Longines-Wittnauer watches...

=================================================
HERE IS ANOTHER L-W WATCH THAT IS FOR SURE SOLID GOLD
=================================================
I found this on liveauctioneer, this is what solid 14 looks like for L-W apparently "14KGOLD", not "14K_L5_GOLD"

 

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Definitely SOLID gold. :-!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Er...the one with the "14KGOLD" case ? Yes for sure, not mine though, or I'm losing it. I'll edit my previous message to clarifiy it's another watch.
 

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I believe that the "L" inside the circle represents Longines-Wittnauer, Inc. I've seen similar markings inside LeCoultre and Wittnauer brand watches from the 1950's and 1960's, all of which were imported by Longines-Wittnauer, Inc. for casing in the US.

With respect to hallmarking, US law does not require decimal designation like the Europeans. So cases made here would not have such information unless intended for export. The language looks correct for this type of watch case.

However, I would be concerned about the whiteish marks you describe. The only way to be sure would be to submit the case to a jeweler for gold purity testing in the affected area.

Hope this helps,
gatorcpa
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the insight, it's possible they changed the hallmark between the example I found :

"14KGOLD
L&K"

and my :

"[email protected]"

with @ being an L in a circle on the back and and an L and 5/p in a circle on the inside.

I'll try to show it to my local jeweller tomorrow but I'm not sure he can test it on the spot. The whitish discolouring on the back could be compatible with gold I guess, but, the chips on the side with grey metal underneath (feels like the hidden back of the old gold chronos) and the general feel of that piece can't possibly make it solid gold.
 

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Thanks for the insight, it's possible they changed the hallmark between the example I found :

"14KGOLD
L&K"

and my :

"[email protected]"

with @ being an L in a circle on the back and and an L and 5/p in a circle on the inside.
L-W used several different contractors over the years to produce their US-made watch cases. Both markings are likely correct for their respective watches.

When I first read your post, I thought it possible that the case might be a fake case cast from a real one. However, this would be awfully expensive to do for a "one-of" on a model that's not a great rarity to begin with.

Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Please let us know what your jeweler says after testing.

Take care,
gatorcpa
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Will do, I agree it doesn't make much sense, but the problems in the pictures don't seem compatible with solid gold.

Also the fact that the marking is different inside and outside would tend to indicate that it's not just related to the maker of the watch.

Confusing...
 

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Something that no one has mentioned

I believe that the case is most likely 14K white gold that has been plated with yellow gold.
The markings on the case definitely indicate solid 14K gold.
It probably was not done to deceive anyone, but was done to simply change the appearance to what the previous owner then preferred.
I don't believe that it came from the factory as yellow over white, though it may have.
The link below shows what looks like your watch and take note that it was available in both yellow and white gold cases.
http://www.vintagewatchresources.com/detail.php?watch_id=275
 

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Re: Something that no one has mentioned

I believe that the case is most likely 14K white gold that has been plated with yellow gold.
You beat me to the punch. I was just logging on to put forth that theory. Only a jeweler or watchmaker can test it to be sure.
 
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