Help me find this story

Did you come by your watch in an interesting way? Does your watch come with a story? Provenance adds value ... and interest too. Tell your watch provenance story here.

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Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:00 am

Here is a watch I picked up recently. It is a Swiss made watch of low quality but the case is interesting.
Looks like it was once gold flashed over brass. Lots of brass now.

The story is in the watch case and I was hoping you could help me understand it.
Inside the back cover is a name inscribed.
Perhaps scratched is a better word.
Can anyone make it out?

On the dust cover is more writing and what looks like a date of 1894.

Perhaps that is when this "writing" was done ?

story01.jpg


story02.jpg


story03.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:13 am

So far not very interesting but there is more.
Have a look at the inside of the dust cover.

I have included 3 views here and hopefully we can work out the full script.

story04.jpg


story05.jpg


story06.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:32 am

I found the owners name marked on the frame of the watch just under the dust cover.
He sure wanted everyone to know who this watch belonged to.

story07.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:41 am

After pondering this a few times and trying to work out the writing which I am not to good at reading at the best of times
(to many years of drafting) I have come up with what I think the inscription says.

My guess at this point is that the watch was given to a young male by his uncle and shortly after that gift some disaster occured to the uncle.
The owner of the watch has attempted to record the event in the way we see.

If anyone sees any spelling errors in my translation please let me know.
In the meantime I will try to find out any information about ALBIN DEVHON DELUTH who I think was the owner of this watch.
If any of you have access to family tree research sites I would be obliged if you can look for him.
I suspect he will have been born in the 1880's

story08.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby richiec » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:26 pm

Stephan, I hope this is a help. I found an Albin Rudolph DeVohn in Duluth, Minnesota, USA, born August 22, 1874 in Sweden, mother Olive Person DeVohn. He served in the Spanish American War as a volunteer from Minnesota in Co. G, Unit 14. On his World War I draft registration he is a bank teller at the American Exchange Bank in Duluth, Minnesota. He arrived in America in 1883. Don't know if this is the same guy but it is the best I can do for now.
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby veritas » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:47 pm

Interseting inscriptions on case.
It tells a lot of what has expired with the owners of this watch.Not often that much history of a watch is known.I have one watch with a sin number on it, but i dont think i can track it as laws that govern your identity in Canada are very strict.
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Irwin » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:18 pm

Stephan,
The watch itself, regardless of the inscription, is a handsome looking box hinge.
Is it running?
If you clean up the case, can you improve the readability of the inscriptions under the dust cover?
IF
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:23 pm

Hello Irwin, I haven't got serious about cleaning the case yet because I am not sure how to proceed. I think it is a brass case that was once gold flashed but all the gold on the outside is long gone. Much evidence of past polishing with residue in the corners. There is still a bit of gold on the inside covers but there appears to be a lot of corrosion as well. I am still pondering how to tackle it. All ideas welcome.
Here is a picture of the movement which is not running. It is a cylinder escapement marked swiss with the name "GOVERNOR" Dial is plain and flat, 2 legs held on with tapered pins. Watch is KW and KS from the front but there is an extension at the back on the centre post as well but it is round, not square. The screw near the escape wheel at the bottom looks to have something to do with adjusting the engagement of the escape wheel but not sure yet. Escape wheel is solid but I have not come across one this shape before. Looks more like a fly wheel. Needs a new balance staff to get him going. The bottom half is missing.
I think the age of the movement is about right and am hoping it is the original one. Feel free to tell me otherwise if I am wrong.

story09.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:35 pm

Richard, Many thanks for the information.
It actually fits in very well with what we can see here.
If the watch dates to an earlier time then it is possible that uncle Pearson brought it from Sweden as a gift for the boy.
Perhaps an early 21st birthday present.
It is fun to speculate.
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby richiec » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:33 am

Much luck trying to get it going knowing what a nightmare cylinder escapements are these days. I wish I could find out what his uncles first name was so I could dig deeper into the lineage. His mother's maiden name was listed as Person in the US Census but I would bet it was really Pearson and it was her brother who gave her son the watch. Minnesota was a large Scandinavian enclave in the late 1800's to the mid 1900's. If I dig up anything else I will let you know though I did find out that Albin was a secretary of a horse shoe company in the 1930 census and was living with his sister, who had been married twice to a Kennedy and then a Carlson, and neice, Marcella, still in Duluth, Minnesota age 54. His sister, Olive, died in Los Angeles in March 1955. Oh well, I have run on enough about this guy. Cheers.
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Irwin » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:09 am

To clean it up, my probable first move would be to use toothpaste and a toothbrush and see what it does. It's non-aggressive.
That should remove a lot of the deposits. Then the thing to use would be an organic solvent such as alcohol or petroleum ether.
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Tom Huber » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:38 pm

Stephan, I have seen other movements very similar to yours that were made by the Langendorf Watch Co. Is it marked under the dial?

To clean a brass case, I use happich Simichrome polish. It is non abrasive and some very light rubbing should clean off all the dirt and crud.

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Re: Help me find this story

New postby Stephan » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:11 am

This has been a long time but I finally did something with it.
The case was not gold plated but just polished bronze ( or similar ) What I thought was the remains of plating was corrosion.

After considering all the markings for a very long time I decided to remove all the random scratchings on the inside of the main covers which did not appear to mean much.
These may even have been added by a second owner who did not posses the "penmanship" of the initial owner. Younger brother perhaps.
I have preserved the story under the dust cover and the name scratched on the frame as these are much better defined and do make sense.

There were a couple of dents to remove and one small one remains.
The movement is still not running as I am yet to solve the balance problem. Had a couple of near misses but no cigar.
For the time being I have put an old waltham into it which I suppose is exactly what a watchmaker would have done.

I am happy with the result. The movement is set aside for a rainy week project.

story 004.jpg

story 005.jpg
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Re: Help me find this story

New postby John Moane » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:51 pm

You have done a find job with is watch, Stephan. It`s alway great to see something brought back to life and that has some history tied to it. Well done!!
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