Would like to learn more about this pocket watch


So sorry for the delay in posting this, I made an inquiry some weeks ago concerning the acceptability of posting my pocket watch in search of some information about it. I took some photos and put them on my Flickr account, here they are:

Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
Here is the front clamshell, the watch is a rose gold color and in what appears to be fine shape.

Would like to learn more about this pocket watch

Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
My hand for scale

Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
This is what I would call the 'rear clamshell', the back opens up to show these two blank faces. (Suitable for a photo or momento perhaps?)

Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
Here is the small slot which I take to be the leverage point for opening up the watch to get to the works. I definitely don't want to force this, my nail fits in fine but would probably break if I tried to open it up with full force. I DON'T want to use a tool unless someone here says it's appropriate and won't damage the watch.

On the back clamshell is stamped in block letters 'HAMMAN & KOC' (I think), and below that


This watch belonged to my great grandfather. Any info would be greatly appreciated,


Re: Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
10/13/2009 - 22:14
Hi Dave, Here's some information about HAMMAN AND KOCH. Yhey were in NYC in the 19th century, importers of Swiss watches and clocks. They had a very fine reputation. Here is a clip from a book published in 1888 "Illustrated New York, The Metropolis of Today" HAMANN & KOCH, Importers of French Clocks and Bronzes, Dutch Hall Clocks, Dealers in American and Swiss Watches, Fine Jewelry, Diamonds, and Precious Stones, No. 5 Maiden Lane.—A house with an established prestige in its special line -of trade with a standing of the highest character in commercial circles, and with an enviable name for the character of its merchandise -and the honorable methods of its management is that of Messrs. Hamann & Koch, of No. 5 Maiden Lane. The firm are direct importers of French clocks and bronzes, and Dutch hall clocks, and general wholesale and retail dealers in American and Swiss watches, fine jewelry and diamonds, and other precious stones, both set and unset. The business of this reputable concern was founded in 1861 by Mr. J. A. Hamann, and in 1868 he admitted to partnership Mr. P. Koch, since which period the enterprise has been conducted under their joint control. Through their upright and liberal policy they have acquired a trade of splendid proportions, having its principal 'tributary area throughout the Eastern States, while also extending to other sections of the country. The store occupied has a frontage of twenty-five feet and a depth of seventy feet, affording ample space ;for the accommodation of customers and the display of goods. The place is handsomely furnished and is filled with a very heavy stock <of goods in the above-named lines, all being the finest productions of -the leading manufacturers in the world, and the choicest merchandise of the kind to be found in the market. A staff of efficient assistants -are employed, and all patrons are waited upon with promptness and 'Courteous attention. Messrs. Hamann and Koch, who are natives of Germany and have long resided in this country, are both watchmak-ers by trade, and have from youth been familiar with then- vocation. They have become identified with the best interests of the city, and -are highly esteemed by all who know them. Have someone open the back for you if you're not comfortable doing it and take some pics. The movement is likely genuine and will have Vacheron & Constantin and/or Hamman & Koch inscribed. The case was likely made locally with the dial and movement imported from VC. (very common practice in those days). Its a fine looking watch and dial looks in great shape. Regards, Joseph
Re: Re: Would like to learn more about this pocket watch
10/13/2009 - 23:25
Thank you so much Joseph, that is absolutely fascinating! I appreciate you transcribing that. Dave
you need to have a watchmaker (you can do it yourself without
10/14/2009 - 19:54
damage to the case) open the case back and give you the movement number
Re: you need to have a watchmaker (you can do it yourself without
10/15/2009 - 18:28
Thanks for your response Mr. Ghotbi, Did you mean to say that I can or can't do it myself without damaging the case back? If it's something I can do myself any tips on how to do t without 1. damaging the case or 2. ripping my thumbnail off would be apprecated. Dave Bockman
10/15/2009 - 19:20
Hi Dave, You should be able to do it yourself. There is a special tool watchmakers use. It looks like a short blunt curved knife but not with a sharp edge. You can try your thumb nail but it might end up breaking the nail. I would suggest a butter knife with a curved end. Cradle the watch in one hand, then insert the (dull) edge of the knife near the tip under the lip on the watch back. Hold the knife near the point were it is under the lip, not by the handle. Then gently rock the knife in a prying motion. With a little effort the back should pop open. You should only require a small amount of force. If it doesn't open easily, a watchmaker can do it and perhaps show you better than I can how to do it properly. Good luck, Joseph
Lovely jubbley!
10/15/2009 - 23:44
That worked quite well, thanks! It reads, "Specially adjusted for Hamman & Koch", then there is an unusual symbol I can't locate on the charater map for this keyboard, rather like a lower case Q almost, followed by the number 81799. I must say it's quite beautiful (the works) in my opinion!
Not toooo hard!
10/16/2009 - 04:54
Good job. BTW that lower case "q" is the numeral "2". Watches that were made for a specific dealer often had the dealers name inscibed on the movement as well as the manufacturer's. Sometimes only the dealer's name was on the dial. Yors is in exceptionally good shape, dial and movement. Someone really took good care of it! Regards, Joseph
Re: Lovely jubbley!
10/16/2009 - 05:06
I forgot to add...all the jewels look in excellent shape as do the screws, probably all original too. And a lovely swan-neck regulator. I'd get in touch with the VC Concierge Service and see if they can help establish a date. Certainly Vacheron in Geneva would have a record. My guess is about 1885-1890 but the numbering at that time was not necessarily sequential. It also may have been different for watches sold to dealers. Antiquorum could give you an appraisal if you're interested. Regards, Joseph
Re: Lovely jubbley!
10/16/2009 - 14:50
Thanks for your replies. Is Antiquorum a contributor here?
10/16/2009 - 19:26
They are a major auction house for watches. They do have a web site which could be helpful Others to consider would be Sotheby's, Christies and Patrizzi. all have offices in NYC as well as other major cities throughout the world. Joseph
That is a very nice pocket watch! (nt)
10/16/2009 - 00:09