Great uncle Max's Hallmark

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Great uncle Max's Hallmark

New postby mars-red » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:24 pm

Earlier this year, my grandfather caught wind of my interest in watches. He surprised me by digging up an old gold filled pocket watch, which no longer ran, and giving it to me. He said he had two - a Waltham and a Hallmark. One belonged to his father, and one belonged to his brother, Max (my namesake), and he couldnt' remember which was which. It was sometime later that I narrowed down the year this watch was made that we concluded this was the one which belonged to my great uncle. My great uncle was killed, long before I was born, when his car exploded. It was officially an accident ... but it was a small town, and people knew it was no accident. The way the story was told to me, Max had obtained evidence that somebody had been misappropriating town funds. When Max's car went up in flames, along with his research, a certain influential family found themselves able to breathe a sigh of relief. For them, it was a fortunate "accident", indeed.

Regardless of how much truth there is to the story, I'm proud to bear my great uncle's name, as well as his watch. The dial and movement are signed "Hallmark" - the movement seems to me to be a re-branded Illinois movement. When I received the watch, the movement was very gummed up - a good cleaning and oiling got her running like a champ again. The dial was badly cracked and chipped, and I was able to find another porcelain Hallmark dial of the same size, as part of a movement being sold for parts. The dial was slighly different in style, and so I have kept the original dial until I can locate one exactly like it. For now, though, this dial will do fine - it has only one hairline crack. The crystal still needs to be replaced - it has a plastic crystal which is badly cracked and scratched. The bow has a substantial amount of corrosion, which doesn't notice as badly when a chain is attached. The case is in so-so shape - there are spots of wear through on the engraved back.

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Re: Great uncle Max's Hallmark

New postby Charlie Sides » Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:29 pm

Great story and watch.

Love the family watches that are passed down thru the generations.

I know you will cherish it.


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Re: Great uncle Max's Hallmark

New postby mars-red » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:44 pm

A few weeks ago I finally got around to replacing the cracked and worn plastic crystal with a proper mineral glass one, and thought I'd update this post with a newer picture. It made a world of difference to the eye appeal, though I still need to find a replacement bow for it. I would also like to try soaking the porcelain dial so that the hairlines are less noticeable.

Here is a picture of the watch, with new crystal. Next to it is the original dial as well - even though the current dial isn't perfect, it's quite a bit more presentable than the original.

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Re: Great uncle Max's Hallmark

New postby Marty101 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:21 am

Nice, interesting story Max, thanks.
That bow bothers me-are you sure it's the metal that's the problem and not a build up from a chain or tether that was connected to it? I just get a feeling it would clean up.
At least I hope so-she's a survivor alright.
Keep winding things,
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Re: Great uncle Max's Hallmark

New postby mars-red » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:28 pm

Marty101 wrote:Nice, interesting story Max, thanks.
That bow bothers me-are you sure it's the metal that's the problem and not a build up from a chain or tether that was connected to it? I just get a feeling it would clean up.
At least I hope so-she's a survivor alright.


Hi Marty,

Now that you mention that, you have me wondering. When I received the watch, the bow had a fair amount of green corrosion, which I had assumed was corrosion on the base metal where the gold fill had worn away - but thinking about it now, it could have been corrosion built up from another metal contacting it. My only attempt at cleaning it was using one of those jewelry polishing wipes (the ones that have some sort of dry polishing compound impregnated), and was left with the black areas you see in the pictures.

What would you recommend using to clean the bow so that I can know for sure whether the gold fill has been worn through?
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