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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In 1967, when my grandfather retired from his job at a factory in New York, he received the obligatory gold mechanical watch for his efforts. I was barely a year old at the time and he passed away a few years later. After his funeral, I was told that it was wish that I inherit this watch. I was still a young boy at the time and my parents felt I wasn't old enough to appreciate or care for it properly, so the watch sat in storage, forgotten for nearly 30 years.

When I grew to be a man, got married, and started a family of my own, someone remembered my grandfather’s watch and presented it to me to commemorate the birth of my first son. I graciously accepted the tarnished reminder of a man I barely remembered. Knowing little about watches, this mechanical device was a mystery to me. Why would anyone take the time to wind a watch every day when quartz watches were so convenient, I wondered.

As time passed, I became wiser and came to appreciate traditional devices long neglected and frequently scorned by contemporary society. Most notably, I developed a love for fountain pens and bottled inks, as well as "wet" shaving with a double-edge razor, with cream you mix in a bowl and apply with a badger-hair brush. So I guess it was only natural that I'd become curious about vintage watches sooner or later.

Fast forward eight years. One morning I looked into the watch box sitting on my dresser and felt compelled to pick up my grandfather’s watch. I held it in my hands, gently winding the crown. I was spellbound as the sub-dial’s second hand began to sweep around silently, marking the time. I became captivated by the simple design of the dial and, paradoxically, the complicated mechanical mechanism ticking away just beneath the surface of the brushed white dial. I slipped it on and immediately felt a connection to a man I last saw three decades earlier; a connection which, until now, consisted mainly of sharing the same name. Memories rushed back of those moments we shared together, the lessons he taught me, like watching the Mets win the '73 World Series, and how to bait my first fish hook. In my mind's eye, I saw him sitting in his rocking chair, ancient even then, smoking his pipe, and I swear I could smell the tobacco wafting through the air.

Taking a jeweler’s cloth, I gently buffed and polished the watch until more than a quarter-century of accumulated grime was gone and all that remained was the shiny yellow gold of the case. The crystal was nearly flawless, and the engraving on the case-back revealed itself. My grandfather’s initials – my initials – glinted in the light once again. Weeks of testing showed that this old watch still keeps perfect time, and I finally installed a new watch strap yesterday and the watch really does look to be in mint-condition. I am today, at last, proudly wearing my grandfather’s watch.

Although it hasn’t been worn much until today, this is the watch that fueled my growing love for fine timepieces. I thought it fitting to share its story, and these images, with you today.
 

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That's a good story. It's a nice looking watch and it looks almost new.

None the less it may not be a bad idea to get it serviced if it hasn't been, oils etc still break down even if it hasn't been running.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's a good story. It's a nice looking watch and it looks almost new.

None the less it may not be a bad idea to get it serviced if it hasn't been, oils etc still break down even if it hasn't been running.
Thank you - I agree, I'd like to get it serviced and have someone open it up to see what's inside. I don't want to entrust this watch to just anyone, though, and I don't know any reputable watch repair folks in my area. Still looking, though!

James
 

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Lovely watch and a lovely story to match. I'm a sucker for family continuity stories.

I just inherited my dad's watch. It will have to go on a strap also as the men's bracelet won't fit my woman's wrist and I'm reluctant to have it cut down. It's nice to see how great yours looks.

Jeannie
 

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Touching story and a great post.

https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=171339

The Cornavin company was founded in Geneva, Switzerland back in the 1920s. They made a wide variety of watches of various grades. In the 1970s, they started outsourcing; movements from Russia, dials from Taiwan, cases and assembly in Hong Kong etc, etc. By the end of that decade they were sourcing complete watches from the Soviet Union, mostly from the Petrodvorets Watch Factory (makers of Raketa).

Looks a little like a vintage Patek - very nice!!
 

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Great story, and you wrote it very well. Thanks for sharing.

And welcome to forum from a fellow Michigander.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, - great to be here. I've got loads to learn, but this has been a great experience for me. Since you're here in the Great Lakes State, can you recommend any decent watchmakers in the area? We may want to take this back-channel, so feel free to PM or email me if appropriate.
 

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Lovely story:

Thanks for sharing it with us.

I'm sure it's a special feeling that you get whenever you wear that watch... It looks fabulous, and is truly special.

Wear it in good health,
-wjb
 

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Great story...

that watch reflects 22 years of hard work and dedication that your grandfather gave to the company....I'm sure he was very proud to receive it....and even more proud to ask that you have it to remember him by.


Enjoy and never forget....thanks for sharing your story it made my day.

(It's my dream that my son will have my watches to help him remember me by.)


Best Regards,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Re: Great story...

Just wanted to post a brief follow-up to this story. I listened to the suggestions, and was referred to a Master watchmaker here in Ann Arbor. Lee at Campus Jewelers popped off the back of my grandfather's watch, inspected the movement, and confirmed it needed a good cleaning. Other than that, he said the watch was in good shape and commented favorably on the quality of the Swiss movement (which at least confirms for me that this is not one of the "Russian" Cornaviins). I left the watch, and another manual Bulova I had that date from the mid 1960s, with Lee, who told me he'd have them ready in a week.

I picked up both watches the other day and I am very pleased. So far, both watches are running pretty close to perfect time, keeping consistent with www.time.gov the few times I've checked (the second hands on these watches don't hack, so I couldn't synchronize them to the second). The power reserve has also been very strong, with the watches running at least 35 hours a piece without a need to be re-wound.

Just need a new strap for the Bulova and I'll have a pretty decent pair of manual-wind watches to add to the collection. And, when I get a few minutes, I might just pop the back off myself to snap some images of the movement. Or at least look at them under a loupe.

What marvelous devices!

James
 

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+1 to everything said above. Beautiful watch, beautiful story. What a great start to a Friday. :)
 
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