Pocket Watch Stands the Test of Time

By Anne McCollam

August 17, 2018 4 min read

Q: This is a picture of an antique pocket watch that has been in our family for years. It belonged to my grandfather, who passed it down to my father. He gave it to me, and now I intend to give it to my son. I researched it and know it is a South Bend open-face steel-escape 21-ruby jewel movement, adjusted to temperature and position. It is in excellent working condition and was made in 1870. I have the original wooden box with the original guarantee bond paperwork. The price was $35. About 30 years ago, when I asked an antiques dealer about its, he told me he didn't know but would buy it for $200. A watchmaker recently told me that it was in remarkable condition.

I know these watches aren't overly valuable but would love to be able to put a fair evaluation on it when I gift it to my son.

A: Your pocket watch is not as old as you thought. South Bend Watch Co. was formed in 1902 in South Bend, Indiana, by three Studebaker brothers, Clement Jr., J.M. and George. They were the sons of Clement Studebaker, who made wagons and cars. The trio bought the Ohio Watch Co. and renamed the business South Bend Watch Co. They opened the new factory between South Bend and Mishawaka. They employed 145 German watchmakers and at one time produced at least 60,000 watches a year. Their stem-wind pocket watches were 15, 17 and 21 jewels. After World War I, they ventured into mail-order watches that could be purchased by paying $5 down and $3.50 a month. By 1929, the company faced financial setbacks. Liquidation began in 1932, and by 1933, all assets had been sold and creditors were paid.

Your stem-wind 21-jewel open-face steel escape with original presentation box would probably sell in the range of $300 to $600.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of my porcelain teapot. It is white and decorated with pastel flowers and gold trim, and it is in perfect condition.

It has been in my family for four generations, and I would never part with it but would like to know more about the maker and the value.

A: Oscar Schaller & Co. made your teapot. It was located in Schwarzenbach-Saale, Germany, and this mark was used from 1882 to 1909.

It would probably fetch $75 to $125 in an antiques shop.

 South Bend Watch Company was founded by three Studebaker brothers.
South Bend Watch Company was founded by three Studebaker brothers.
 Oscar Schaller & Co. was located in Germany.
Oscar Schaller & Co. was located in Germany.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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