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Author Topic:   Swiss watch - marks ??
pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-2533]

Hi !

First post as a new member, with an interest in family history. My ancestors included Daniel Moilliet, (d.1803) who was a Geneva watch maker. I've recently acquired a watch, made and signed by 'Moilliet fils' at Geneva; it could well be by his son Antoine, who died in 1844. It's in a much less flamboyant style than Daniel's (see pic). The inner case bears the name 'Humbert', also of Geneva. However, the markings on the outer silver case don't appear to be Swiss, although there is an engraving of Geneva castle on the back of it.

Having ferreted around the internet a bit, the case-marks look to me to be French. I've posted them here; the inside of the case appears to include a clear Minerva, with the '2' below the chin; '647'; and what must be a maker's mark, which is extremely small (just over 1mm long) and difficult to either read or photograph - it seems to have a clear 'J' on the left hand side, what looks more like a Teddy Bear than a Swiss bear in the upper middle, and what must be another rather indeterminate letter on the right hand side. In the lower part of the diamond is a mark (again pretty indeterminate) which just could be a watch face with one hand visible, but that is probably my imagination!

The watch pendant has a clear head (Minerva, or someone else ?) on one side, and what I take to be a bigorne on the other.

I'd be very grateful for the comments of any member on the mix of Swiss and French here, and the identity of the maker. It would be good if possible to date the watch a bit more exactly and hence pinpoint which Moilliet made it.






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agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lovely watch, nice that it's family. The little I know is that the watch and case were made by the watch maker and a French case maker and the case is after 1838. It may be a new case for an older watch mechanism. The watch is key wound so a watch person can tell how old it is.
My vote for the case maker mark is AF... Good luck!

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the Silver Salon Forums.

The French "Minerva" marks were introduced 1838. The Minerva looks like it includes a 2 which means it is made with .800 silver (second standard).

The diamond lozenge is the maker's mark. If someone can id the maker's then we would have a better idea of a date.

The French/Swiss connection ....I'll let others comment.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
to my eye the maker's mark letters looks like J F

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for both replies. If 1838 is the earliest possible date, it could still be Uncle Antoine (well, gtX4-uncle), since he didn't die until 1844. The comments I've had elsewhere about the watch are that it looks pre-1800: but since Antoine trained under his father, probably in the 1780's, he probably saw no reason to change an old-fashioned style of watch-making. The jump-hour display would indicate a date probably post-1830. So the date window is narrowing ! Thanks again. I look forward to any comments on the Swiss/French connection ....

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-07-2015 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And thanks for the 'J.F.' suggestion, Scott. If French, and between 1838 and 1844, that limits the field considerably - I'll pursue that.

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was not uncommon to buy a pocket watch by first purchasing the movement and then picking out a case in which to have mounted. Also, it was also not uncommon to put most of your money into the movement then buy a simple case for it to start, and then at some later point when one had more money to upgrade to a better quality case. Of course this did not always happen, but 'marriages' of cases and movements from different time periods are often seen.

I am not able to read clearly what is engraved on the movement but I think I am seeing Molliet Fils xxxxxxx. To me this seems to indicate that the name of the company when it was made was Molliet Sons. If it were Molliet and Sons I would have expected it to read Molliet et Fils. This suggests to me that the movement was made after the father was no longer in the business and perhaps after his death when his sons took over the business in its entirety. I can see that there are some other engraved markings on the movement but I cannot read them on my computer monitor. Could you please say what the other markings are or add a closeup photo that shows what they say?

Thanks for joining in the discussions - this is a great first post!

Kimo

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the comments about the Moilliet maker - this should produce a better pic of the writing inside. I can find 'Moilliet et fils' in the list at [online] , but not a simple Moilliet fils. Daniel died in 1803, so presumably Antoine, the 'fils', took over at that point.

And thanks for your comments about the case and the movement not necessarily being of the same date; certainly worth bearing in mind.

Very grateful for all the assistance !

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thought I'd just submitted a reply, but no joy....

The pic above may make the name of the maker clearer. The 'fils' must I think have been Antoine, who took over after Daniel died in 1803.

And thanks for your comments about the case being often later than the movement. Certainly something to be born in mind !

Many thanks for the comments all round. No joy with a 'JF' French maker yet, but shall keep looking....

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apologies for the multiple posts - a bit of delayed action there on the part of the server! The photo look fine.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its not our server.... its your browser's cache.

Clear your cache or tell your browser to load the page without cache (how? is different in different browsers). In some browsers its just a matter of reloading the page while pressing the CTRL or Shift key.

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-08-2015 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK - sorry !

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-09-2015 01:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They must have been very prolific since the movement has a serial number of 24,562. This also suggests a later date in their production rather than an earlier one. It also suggests that there were more watchmakers in the company than just Mollier and his son given the amount of work that it took to make a watch. Making over 24 thousand of them seems to my thinking to be well beyond the capacity of two men and that they may have had a small factory employing many watchmakers who were making these watches with this maker's name on them. Or possibly they used a common Swiss model of farming out production to individuals who produced watches to the specifications of the owner and the owner then sold them under his name.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 10-09-2015).]

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pianoman

Posts: 11
Registered: Oct 2015

iconnumber posted 10-09-2015 03:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pianoman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Kimo. Yes, the Moilliet family started making watches around 1740, or even earlier, and continued until the late 19thC, so they produced a lot between them. There were also several in the family; if you look at the World Tempus site, search for 'Dictionnaire des Horlogers', and scroll down until you find the 'M's, there's a long list of them. Possibles for this watch seem to include Antoine, Antoine et Cie, Moilliet et fils etc; oddly, Moilliet Fils pure and simple is not listed, but my bet would be on Antoine, towards the end of his life, working solo with a movement in a very traditional style, but adapting it to a simple jump-hour display, perhaps of a type just becoming popular then. Google images comes up with a whole host of Moilliet watches, some very fancy indeed, but I can't find another like this.

And thanks for your comments on the farming- out aspect of production. It certainly looks in this case as though the outer case was bought in.

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