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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the problems constantly plaguing the pocket watch collector-and probably to a lesser extent the wristwatch collector is that of the overabundance of uncased movements.

Tens of thousands of gold cases have been scrapped over the years, and with recent gold and silver rushes, even some silver and gold filled cases are finding their way into the melting pots.

"Standard" sized high grade movements that lose their cases often find their way into good condition gold filled or silver cases that come from lower grade movements, leading to a glut of low-grade movements in these sizes.

Many of the watches I collect, however, are not "standard" sized and their are lot large numbers of lower-grade watches to provide cases for these movements.

Thus, I, and many, many other American pocket watch collects choose to collect uncased movements. I have quite a few very nice movements that I know I'm unlikely to ever find cases for. These are just as much a part of my collection as the complete watches. In fact, there are plenty of advantages to collecting this way, as it makes examining the movements in detail much easier.

Most of the big time American PW collectors I know of(and I'm not counting myself among the big time collectors :) ) also have very large collections of movements.

This is a lot of reason why I cringe when I see carved up movements recased as wristwatches.

Are there any other movement collectors on here?
 

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One of the problems constantly plaguing the pocket watch collector-and probably to a lesser extent the wristwatch collector is that of the overabundance of uncased movements.

Tens of thousands of gold cases have been scrapped over the years, and with recent gold and silver rushes, even some silver and gold filled cases are finding their way into the melting pots.

"Standard" sized high grade movements that lose their cases often find their way into good condition gold filled or silver cases that come from lower grade movements, leading to a glut of low-grade movements in these sizes.

Many of the watches I collect, however, are not "standard" sized and their are lot large numbers of lower-grade watches to provide cases for these movements.

Thus, I, and many, many other American pocket watch collects choose to collect uncased movements. I have quite a few very nice movements that I know I'm unlikely to ever find cases for. These are just as much a part of my collection as the complete watches. In fact, there are plenty of advantages to collecting this way, as it makes examining the movements in detail much easier.

Most of the big time American PW collectors I know of(and I'm not counting myself among the big time collectors :) ) also have very large collections of movements.

This is a lot of reason why I cringe when I see carved up movements recased as wristwatches.

Are there any other movement collectors on here?
Hey Ben...
I have seen some of your movements and they are indeed extremely cool
masterpieces. Believe me, every time I venture into the swamp, I cringe when
I see all those uncased movements/dials, that I am assuming lost their gold homes.
This is happening all over the wrist world too and there is an abundance of
them for sale. I have picked up some fantastic examples lately, that I have used
to upgrade many in my collection.
 

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Uncased movements lead to Eastern European frankenschlocksters like Wandolec creating "unique" and "RARE!" abominations for sale on eBay. :cursing:

I collect wristwatches by caliber - along a similar line, but not exactly the same. My problem is seeing two fantastic but different watches with the same caliber. Which one do I chose? :confused1:
 

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I am not a movement collector, though my collecting is done based on movement grades.

I've noted, of course, the wave of orphan movements on Ebay. One of the sad things about the Lord Elgin pocket watches of the 1920s and 30s is that even though they were pretty cool watches, there's not much collector demand for them, so it's an easy calculation for those considering scrapping them. And I simply don't have the resources to buy even one gold pocket watch, so I'm out of that game.

I find myself wanting to save the movements, at least, from slow, ignominious deaths in drawers and cigar boxes, and I've used one of these, a 451, to 'hot rod' an 'Streamline' watch I bought last year. It's replacing the 479 that came with it. I may leave it like that, even after I'm done restoring the 479.

I'm also considering doing something about all the Hamilton 922s I see. I have a solid gold case with a 918, a 19jewel movement that's good in its own right. I'm thinking of buying a 17j gold filled watch that will fit the 918, and a 922 for the solid gold case.

That way, I'd be saving both the 922 and the 918. But of course, I'd be spoiling originality to do that. It's a quandary.
 

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i don't think it's much of a quandary. despite the notion that most pocketwatch collectors also collect movements- that's still remarkably few people. and as others have noted, there is no shortage of uncased movements out there. the purists of the board will insist that nothing be done with these. they insist that they only be re-cased in correct pocket cases. in their world, these millions of movements are destined for a drawer or the garbage can. as long as the movement hasn't been altered in some way that is irreversible, i see nothing wrong with re-casing them as wrist watches. these machines were made to be used, not shoved in boxes to never be seen again. it's a waste of resources. some of those re-cased hamilton movements look amazing. i wouldn't wear one simply due to the size, but i'm not going to begrudge someone who does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i don't think it's much of a quandary. despite the notion that most pocketwatch collectors also collect movements- that's still remarkably few people
I've seen the notion that the pocket watch collecting community is "small" repeated on this and other message boards quite a bit. Truthfully, I'm not really sure where it comes from, as my observations indicate anything but.

There are no shortage of folks-most of whom have far more money that I do-who will buy good, high grade PW movements all day. On look at Ebay or a trip through an NAWCC mart will tell you as much.

the purists of the board will insist that nothing be done with these. they insist that they only be re-cased in correct pocket cases. in their world, these millions of movements are destined for a drawer or the garbage can. as long as the movement hasn't been altered in some way that is irreversible, i see nothing wrong with re-casing them as wrist watches.
Actually most purists would insist on not recasing them at all :)

All that aside, I don't see wide scale instances of movements ending up in garbage cans. My uncased ones are in trays right next to my complete watches. They get pulled out, admired, and wound and set just like the complete watches do. I have many watches which don't get worn at all-as I'm sure most antique/vintage collectors do-and the uncased movements are just as much a part of my collection as are those complete watches that don't get worn.

As to your second point about "not being altered" that's probably easier said than done, and in my experience there are few wristwatch-cased movements that aren't altered at least in some way. I've seen far too many with pillar plates turned down, dials carved up, and other completely irreversible issues. A couple of years back, a friend of mine bought a 21j 1872 model Waltham(easily a $4000-6000 movement) where the butcher who recased it had converted it to push setting and drilled a half dozen holes in the pillar plate to do so!
 

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let me make it clear, if i hadn't done so already- NO HARM DONE. i only support the re-casing if no permanent alterations are made. and i admit to speaking from ignorance here, i've never examined one of these re-cased 10 size movements. i would be horrified if folks were grinding down plates, drilling new holes or hacking up original dials.

i think it's an interesting point you raise with the "high grade" movement comment. i don't think i'd like seeing a 950 in a wristwatch. but a 974? sure. and there are tons of movements out there around that quality that they real aficionados aren't interested in. they certainly are good quality, but not top tier.

i still stand by my belief that there are a great many movements that could find new life and that this is a good thing.



edit- i'm curious, i have several uncased movements that i'd love to display. have you ever seen a nice treatment of this? a shadow box or stand of some kind?
 
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