Over the years, I have handled a boatload of Victorinox Swiss Army watches. I am an avid collector who buys, blogs about and resells this brand. The best way to get to know them is to own them for a while, and that is what I do. I was several years into collecting this Swiss Army when one of my readers showed me the date his watch was manufactured. This excited me because the method that I had used previously was more convoluted and probably less accurate.
I have provided a lot of examples of genuine British hallmarks on the page at British hallmark examples. There is also a page that shows examples of fake hallmarks at fake hallmarks. But if you are still stuck, you are welcome to ask me for help via my Contact Me page. If you are interested in the sponsor's marks found in gold and silver watch cases, an invaluable reference is Philip Priestley's Book "Watch Case Makers of England Philip has also written books on watch case sponsor's marks covering the earlier period of - and the watch case maker Dennison.
Philip passed away in March This was completed by his widow and the editorial team of the NAWCC and is now available to purchase on line.
It includes all the material of the two earlier books about watchcase marks, and a lot of additional information.
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The term "hallmark" originated in when London gold and silver smiths were first required to take their work to Goldsmiths' Hall to be assayed and marked. Today it is used to mean a control mark applied to precious metals after assay testing by a legally authorised body that is independent from the manufacturer of the item.
This provides a reliable indication of the fineness of the precious metal which is otherwise difficult for a purchaser to assess without specialised equipment. There has never been an equivalent system of hallmarking in America and so there are no such thing as "American hallmarks". Watch case manufacturers stamped their own marks onto watch cases to show the fineness of the metal. The customer must either rely on the veracity of those marks or make their own tests.
In the case of a well known watch case maker relying on the marks will be safe, but one must always be alert to the fact that the marks might not be what they purport to be: caveat emptor. Before German states were independent and Sovereign and decided their own laws. Each state, city state or city had their own stamps, or "Feingehaltstempel", for gold and silver. These were applied by the manufacturer of an item rather than in an independent assay office and should not be called hallmarks.
The term "hallmark" originated in originated in when London craftsmen were first required to bring their work to Goldsmiths' Hall to be assayed and marked. It means that the item has been assayed and stamped hallmarked by someone independent of the manufacturer.
After the unification of the 39 sovereign German states into the German Empire incountry wide laws began to be introduced. In this law was revised. The law was implemented by the manufacturers who stamped their own products, there were no official independent German assay offices.
The imperial crown, the Reichskrone, within a circle representing the sun Reichskrone und Sonne was to be stamped on gold, and a crescent or half moon with the imperial crown Halbmond und Reichskrone was stamped on silver. The actual fineness of the metal was expressed in thousandths, and a mark identifying the company, or the trademark of the business, which stamped and guaranteed the marks. These marks were stamped on imported items as well as German made items, so the sun and crown or half moon and crown can be seen alongside e.
Swiss hallmarks such as the bear or grouse on Swiss items imported into Germany. The image here courtesy of Peter O. This is explained further in the following section.
It would be natural to think that these marks were only stamped in Germany. However, John Matthews observed that there are a significant number of Swiss watch cases in the UK, Scandinavia and other countries having both Swiss and German hallmarks with no evidence of their passage through Germany. In fact, there are no German official Assay Offices like - mcauctionservicellc.com assay offices in Britain and Switzerland. In Germany the fineness stamps are applied by the manufacturer, who is legally responsible for their veracity.
Because they were not stamped by an independent organisation, these German marks should not be called hallmarks. This means that the presence of one of these German marks does not prove that an item has ever actually been in Germany. It is possible that the item, although obviously at one time intended to be exported to Germany, could have been directed to a different market after being stamped in Switzerland and never actually passed into or through Germany at all.
The watch making industry of Pforzheim seems to have comprised companies that imported Swiss watches, or imported bare watch movements from Switzerland and put them into locally made cases. This reduced import charges, because watch movements were cheap compared to the cost of silver, and particularly gold, watch cases, which were expensive because of the intrinsic cost of the precious metals.
The import duty on a watch in gold or silver case were much higher than on a bare movement. When stainless steel came into use for watch cases in the s, this financial incentive was largely removed. It was used to register designs, that is the specific appearance of items, from to around A registered design differs from a patent in that it is what the item looks like that is registered, not how it works.
In a patent, the specific implementation of the invention is not important, a registered design is almost exactly the opposite in that it is only what the thing looks like that is important.
Since the Middle Ages over 5, different punches have been used in France to hallmark silver and gold. The huge number of different punches and the complexity of the French administration of hallmarking means that this is a massive subject that requires an encyclopaedia to cover it, which I am not going to attempt here.
One French mark that comes up quite often on Swiss watches is that of a swan or cygne. Even this mark is rather difficult to pin down. It was used for items that were not hallmarked in France in the normal way and so was principally used on imported items, such as Swiss watches imported into France.
The owl in the second image is also a French import mark, used on gold. The symbol on the owl's chest identifies at which French assay office the item was tested and marked. The swan shows that the item meets the minimum French legal standard for gold, and that it is therefore legal to describe it as a gold item.
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In Russia before the revolution fineness was expressed in zolotniks, which was derived from the Russian for gold, zoloto, and which was also the name of a gold coin. When this is seen in a Swiss watch case, often with the Swiss hallmark of a rampant bear, then the watch was made for the Russian market.
Swiss made gold and silver watch cases were not hallmarked in Switzerland until hallmarks for watch cases were introduced by Swiss law in Before that date gold cases were usually stamped with their carat fineness by the case maker, and silver was marked with its millesimal fineness, usually , or sometimes just "fine silver".
The cases of Omega and Tissot watches often carry this mark, exports to Russia being a large part of their production. Poland appears to have started hallmarking gold and silver in A male head with a helmet was used for gold zloto and a female head covered with a scarf was used for silver srebro. Three standards of gold were recognised,and Three standards of silver were recognised,and Sometimes Swiss watches are seen with with British sponsor's marks but no British import hallmarks.
This is because the case was stamped with the sponsor's mark in Switzerland by the case maker but then not imported into Britain. It was easy to for someone with a British registered mark to arrange for this to be stamped as part of the watch case manufacturing process, avoiding the need for the mark to be stamped later as a separate operation.
This was done for watch cases that were intended to be imported into Britain, but the lack of British hallmarks shows that the importation never actually took place. The watches with these pre-stamped cases were sent directly from Switzerland to countries such as Canada and Australia. The reason for this goes back to With the first World War WW1 starting to impose a severe strain on the British economy, the Government imposed an ad valorem duty of This meant that any watches imported into Britain, even if only for checking before subsequent export abroad, would be subject to this high rate of tax.
Prior to this, many watches were imported to Britain before being re-exported to the Empire. Britain had large overseas territories at the time which were a big market.
Because there was at least a possibility that watches ordered by these companies might end up being exported to Britain, cases were stamped with their sponsor's mark during manufacturing.
If the watch was not imported into Britain it would carry the sponsor's mark but no hallmarks. Stockwell and Pringles acted as Assay Agents for a number of Swiss companies who did not have British based offices, so cases that they would have been responsible for having hallmarked if they were imported into Britain were likewise stamped with their sponsor's marks during manufacture.
When you first pick up a book of hallmarks such as Bradbury's Book of Hallmarksyou might think that it is easy to use the tables to discover all that you need to know about a hallmark. This is not the case!
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Although books such as Bradbury's are useful summaries they are very condensed and cryptic. Hallmarking has an extremely long history and can be surprisingly complicated and difficult to interpret correctly. Date letter punches, originally called the 'assayer's mark', show who was responsible for the assay and therefore were changed when new Wardens were elected.
This was part way through the calendar year, the end of May since the Restoration for the London Assay Office, the end of June for most other assay offices.
The new punches were first used in June in London, July at other offices, so a hallmark date letter refers to parts of two calendar years. For brevity most tables of hallmark date letters show only the first year in which the punch was used, but you need to remember that could equally well have been applied in the first part of the following year.
Dating Antique Silver Hallmarks Antique Silver Hallmarks and how to indentify where your silver comes from. Antique silver hallmarks have been used to control the quality of goods made of silver since the 14th century and the organisation that regulates the craft, . The Swiss hallmark for silver of 80fineness, ‰ or , was the symbol of a grouse. Sometimes the grouse mark on silver is struck twice, a large grouse above the fineness mark and a small grouse below. This seems to be prevalent on cases with the German crescent or half moon and crown. This mark seems to follow on logically from. Ich bin 47 Dating Swiss Silver Video Jahre, cm gro? und habe Kurven. Ich bin ehrlich, treu, humorvoll, berufstatig, tierliebend und bodenstandig. Ich suche einen Mann der es ehrlich mit mir meint. Du solltest gleich gro? oder gro?er sein, treu, humorvoll berufstatig und bodenstandig/
Each assay office used its own cycles of date letters, which depended on when the office was set up and the date on which the wardens were elected, which is also when the date punches were changed. Because of this, date letter tables are unique to each assay office. You cannot use a date letter from one assay office to read a hallmark struck by a different office.
Most date letter tables give only the year in which a date letter punch was first used. Punches were changed when new wardens were elected, which was usually in May or June, so same punch was used over a period spanning two calendar years. For instance the "a" used first used by the London Assay Office in shows that the item was marked either in the later part of or the early part of The picture here has superimposed at the top the entry from Bradbury of the London date letter "H" for to It also shows an "H" date letter mark on an 18 carat gold watch case for the same hallmarking year to But the shape surrounding the letter is different, so how can it be the same year?
The reason for this is that the shield shapes used on gold were often different from those on silver, but most reference books show only the marks used on silver.
Shield shapes were also different for different standards of gold. The date letter in this 18 carat gold watch case is rectangular, which is the shape used by the London Assay Office on the "higher standards" of 18 and 22 carat gold for date letter cycle XXI. The shields around date letters marked by the London Assay Office on the "lower standards" of 15, 12 and 9 carat gold during this cycle were round.
Why do most books only show the marks on silver? Most collectors of hallmarked plate collect silver, for the simple reason that items made from gold such as plates, spoons and cream jugs are virtually non-existent and extremely expensive.
I expect that the only person who has a collection of gold plate is Her Majesty the Queen, and I doubt that she needs to consult a book to know about it. Watches and wedding rings are the only gold items most people will ever own or handle, and tables do not usually reproduce the date letters found on them. There is only one book that I am aware of, Jackson's Silver and Gold Marks, that shows the London Assay Office date shield shapes for the higher and lower standards of gold in addition to those for silver for each cycle of date letters.
Why did Jackson choose to list the different shield shape marks for date letters on all the standards of gold and silver?
Jul 03, Over time, I may be able to confirm more dates in the chart above as I collect more vintage Swiss Army watches so please use it with common sense and the secondary dating methods I suggested. I hope that Swiss Army watch collectors find this information helpful as a . Most vintage Swiss pocket watches did NOT have serial numbers and can't be dated by this method. Can't find YOUR exact serial number in our lookup tables? Many watch companies made hundreds of thousands of watches, and some companies made millions of watches! It would be impractical to list the individual serial numbers of EVERY watch made. Dating Swiss Silver Video un dialogue avec Dating Swiss Silver Video des personnes sympathiques et sinceres. Je suis quelqu'un d'assez proche de la nature et des animaux. Dans la vie j'aime beaucoup la simplicite, la franchise et la bonne humeur. Mon numero: 06 98 69 87 /
Well, he was very thorough, and his book is regarded as the bible of silver collecting as a result. There is a reasonably priced pocket version available that shows the different shapes of most date gold and silver letter shields. But note: only for London hallmarks. Even Jackson's doesn't show all of the variations in the punch marks.
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Punches were made in various sizes, and those for watch cases were at the smallest end of the range. The marks were combined in a single "press punch" so that they were all struck in one go using a fly press. The shields around the marks on the press punches used on watch cases were often different to those used on larger pieces of plate of the same metal. For instance, on silver instead of the base of the shield around the date letter having a small point it was rounded. This was likely because of the difficulty of making the point on a small punch, but might have been done to get even striking.
Some Birmingham hallmarks have different shield shapes for both the town mark and date letter from those shown in tables. The shield shapes for the Birmingham Assay Office date letter cycle from to shown in Bradbury are round, but the actual shield shapes used on watch cases are triangular with a point at the base, and sometimes cut top corners. The image here shows a set of Birmingham Assay Office anchor hallmarks for sterling silver walking lion with one of these different date letter shield shapes.
The date letter itself is the Gothic "c" of to - remember that date letter punches were used over two calendar years. The sponsor's mark A. D in cameo was entered by the Dennison Watch Case Company. The Birmingham Assay Office told me that the outline around hallmarks for watch cases are not shown in Bradbury and that watch cases often have different shield shapes. This is different from the letters shown in Bradbury and others which have a curly pointed base for the surrounds of Birmigham date letters in the cycle from to This suggests that the Birmingham Assay Office used different surrounds for date letters on imported watch cases.
The sponsor's mark JR in cameo within a diamond was entered by John Rotherham.
These hallmarks are in the Borgel case of an Electa wristwatch. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to to get in touch via my Contact Me page.
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This page ated August Back to the top of the page. Movado West End Watch Co. Cautions about Hallmark Tables. Sterling silver import marks. Sterling Silver Import Mark. British Traditional Hallmarks on Sterling Silver. Swiss Bear. Swiss Federal cross. Chester Assay Office Hallmarks for to Fake hallmarks: Click image to enlarge. Sun and Imperial Crown, Sonne und Reichskrone: used on gold.
German Sun and Reichskrone mark. French Swan Mark. Birmingham Assay Office Hallmarks for to Before I tell you how to look up your watch date, we should discuss the important dates associated with any Victorinox Swiss Army watch.
Although you might be able to apply some of this information to other brands, they all have their own distinct nuances.
Vintage and Antique Watch "How to" Information by Renaissance Watch Repair, provides a large amount of info on identifying, dating, evaluating vintage pocket watches Specific Makes or Styles How to identify an original Simon Willard clock by Ben E Fulbright, Adobe Acrobat 23KB. The name "Swiss franc" (Schweizer Franken, French livre suisse) was given to a silver coin minted in Bern from , and later also in Basel, Solothurn and mcauctionservicellc.com value of this coin was 10 mcauctionservicellc.com name franc was taken from the colloquial name of the French livre tournois, since defined as grams of fine mcauctionservicellc.com the Helvetic Republic, in , there were plans to introduce a. Import mark for small watch cases silver fineness more information more information Since Guaranty swiss mark.
PVD coated watches can have the serial numbers filled in with white paint. In high-end brands, it can mean a significant difference in value based on desirability and rarity. In some cases, it may be desirable to have the first year model of a watch.
For a more accessible brand like Victorinox, it may be better to have a later year if improvements were made though Victorinox seems very consistent within the lifespan of any given model. I think it is just a good practice to know what you are buying and how old it might be. Before I knew this serial number trick, I spent many hours piecing together the release dates of the Victorinox Swiss Army watches in my collection. Victorinox Swiss Army watches after usually have a serial number and a model number on the case back.
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No, I am not talking about praying to heaven for answers but contacting the manufacturer. Some historic manufacturers, like Longineshave dedicated employees to answer obscure questions.
Some brands realize that a rich heritage of past models should be celebrated. Some manufacturers may have official online references for the watches that they have produced. Victorinox is sadly very much in the here-and-now. Once they stop selling a watch, it pretty much disappears from their web site. However, you should still ask them the basics about your Swiss Army watch model by contacting customer service.
This serial number indicates that this watch was made in in February. The serial number is the longer digit in the lower left. The model number is shown to the right. There may be no better experts on Earth than the passionate collectors of any given brand. Joining a watch community like the WatchYouSeek Forum opens you to a large pool of collective knowledge and wisdom about practically any watch on Earth and a few that have traveled beyond the Earth such as the Omega Speedmaster.
Some Victorinox Swiss Army serial numbers that are not etched can difficult to read on older models.
I have meticulously collected many Swiss Army catalogs with the oldest one going back to Anything before that has been incredibly difficult to get my hands on.
This is simple just look at the first 4 digits of your serial number and compare it to the chart below. According to Victorinox Customer Service, this technique might not work for all of their watches because the ones pre-dating did not consistently have a year hidden in the serial number.
However, many of these watches that I own seem to corroborate the list of probable dates.