Solid Gold Ring?
Q: I recently inherited a lot of old gold pocket watches. Some are marked 14K and 18K and others are not marked. They look gold to me and not gold plate. How would I know? One is a very beautiful Hunters Case with a dog on it,and inside the case it reads Champion and watch is a Waltham. Did they ever have solid gold pocket watches that are not marked?
A: "Solid" gold is 24K, but gold is too soft to be used as a watch case. It would dent and scratch too easily. The 18K watches have 750 parts of gold and 250 parts of silver, copper, or other alloys. The ratio of 14K is 585/1000. All cases are marked if gold, and if not marked they are usually nickel or brass cases. With hunter-cased watches, there are usually three leafs to open: the front leaf exposes the face of the watch, the back leaf exposes an area that is usually where engraved dedication is added, and the inner-back leaf that exposes the works of the watch. Be sure and open the inner-back leaf if the gold indication is not on the other leafs. Here's a small Elgin hunter-cased watch of mine: http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f244/cooper213/elgin.jpg The front and back leaf have the serial number of the case, but no indication of the gold content of the case. The inner-back leaf shows what is in the insert of the image: Fahey 14K Monarch 500748. Elgin didn't make cases. They purchased cases from many different suppliers. This one was made by Monarch. It was very common for a jeweler to carry watch works and watch cases, and for the customer to order a particular works in the case of his choice. If you list your watches, always list both the serial number of watch works and the maker and serial number of the case. Collectors date the watch and case by serial number and look for particular combinations of works and case. All three leafs will usually have the case's serial number, and these numbers should match. Otherwise, the watch is not completely original since someone has replaced a leaf. Also, some works have been placed in earlier- or later-made cases. Some collectors prefer combinations that are the originally purchased combination. Take them to a jeweler. Really. No matter *what* you plan to do with them, you need to have them appraised. The evaluation of each one, will tell you the gold content. The value (most likely an "insurance" value) will show as much higher than you'd be able to sell them for....so ask also for a wholesale/retail value. What you're referring to is a base material that is plated with a layer of gold. In that case, the marking would be "14K Gold Plate" or "14 K EP" (EP = Electroplate). Without the plating designation, watch cases are one material made up of gold plus alloys. Modern watches use a gold wash treatment which is a (very cheap) type of plating, but the discussion here is antique pocket watches. "Solid gold" is 24K, which is "pure gold"...no alloys. On the karat scale, 24 is 100%. Too soft for any jewelry use where wear is a factor.
Most Popular Articles
- Hot Tubs
- Computer Course Have Training
- Real Estate
- Back Pain