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 Post subject: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:13 pm 
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I acquired this beautiful Galt & Brother 14K gold pocket watch along with a genuine 1865 Abraham Lincoln mourning ribbon from a lady in New York who believes her husband acquired it from the Galt & Brothers archives when the closed. I read that Galt & Brothers had quite the collection of prestigious and historical items within their safe that was sold off once they closed their doors in 2001. Which brings me to me question, would anyone know if this particular watch has any historical value or who it may have belonged to. As far as i can tell the script reads AHB but i cant be sure, picture is attached. Any information would be rather helpful in digging up the history of this amazing watch. Thanks, Matt


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:17 pm 
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Your watch dates from very early in the 20th Century. The movement is by the Illinois Watch Company of Springfield, Illinois. It is what is called a "Getty model", Getty being one of the senior engineers at Illinois and designer of the movement. A Getty movement is easily identified by having only one of the wheels in the winding train, the big one that is actually on the mainspring arbor, visible on top of the plate. The smaller wheel, which is driven from the winding stem, is on most movements on top of the plate but is concealed under it on Getty watches. A Getty movement also has a unique shape to the "click", somewhat like a crescent moon. The serial number suggests that this movement was made in 1900 (this model of movement was made from 1897 until 1911). Illinois made over 16,000 of this particular version of Getty's design; it's not particularly rare.

This watch is an example of a "private label" Illinois watch. Illinois would for a price make up watches with the name of a dealer or wholesaler on the dial and/or movement. There are hundreds and hundreds of known private labels (Fred Friedberg's upcoming book on Illinois is believed to have an extensive list of them). If Galt and Brother was a prominent jeweler, it's not at all surprising that they would contract with Illinois to make them a house-brand series of watch movements, which they then could case for sale.

As for a connection to Lincoln, it's rather remote: he was the corporate attorney for the Bunn brothers when they were starting their wholesale grocery business in Springfield in the 1840s, but they didn't branch out into watchmaking until the 1870s, after Lincoln's death.

While a lot of collectors are fond of Getty movements, and some people collect private-label watches, most of the value in this watch is probably in the 14K case.


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:44 pm 
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The solid gold case was made by Jeannot & Shiebler, one of the premier American case makers.


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:49 am 
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The person who posted this nice Illinois pocket watch is now listing only the movement on eBay, presumably because he is scrapping the beautiful case:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VERY-RARE-Vintage-1900-GALT-BROTHER-Pocket-Watch-Movement-Illinois-183-/322274950662?hash=item4b09157e06:g:zKsAAOSw8gVX6p7g

SHAME, SHAME SHAME!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:57 pm 
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The case was not scrapped Magpie. A friend had been interested in the case ONLY for a while and it's now going towards the restoration of another beautiful watch since there is no historical ties that i have been able to dig up through myself, friends or forums. I appreciate your concern but it do not scrap any of my watches. It will live on.


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:40 pm 
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Proxima8624 wrote:
The case was not scrapped Magpie. A friend had been interested in the case ONLY for a while and it's now going towards the restoration of another beautiful watch since there is no historical ties that i have been able to dig up through myself, friends or forums. I appreciate your concern but it do not scrap any of my watches. It will live on.


Thanks for letting us know. Feel free to post up pics when it's done.

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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:21 pm 
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Quote:
Proxima8624 wrote:
The case was not scrapped Magpie. A friend had been interested in the case ONLY for a while and it's now going towards the restoration of another beautiful watch since there is no historical ties that i have been able to dig up through myself, friends or forums. I appreciate your concern but it do not scrap any of my watches. It will live on.


Thanks for letting us know. Feel free to post up pics when it's done.


Tom, I agree that it would be interesting to see the result of the restoration. I'm relieved that at least there is to be no scrapping.

A seller can of course sell a watch (or parts thereof) to whomever he or she pleases, and the buyer can do whatever he or she wishes to do. However, IMO it is a shame to separate the movement and dial of this particular watch from what appears to be its original case (to my eye there don't seem to be any of the telltale indications of a recasing). I expect someone who is a collector of Illinois private-label pocket watches would have been only too happy to acquire it intact -- and in terms of horological history to see that Galt provided a Jeannot & Shiebler case. But just my two cents' worth . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Galt & Brother pocket watch - any historical value? HELP
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:01 am 
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Galt sold some very fine and exclusive watches. I am not surprised to see them using a J&S case.
I agree with Magpie that it is a shame to break up an original combination from a jeweler like this.


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