Thursday, January 31, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Pocket Watch

My husband owns a gold pocket watch that used to belong to his maternal grandfather George Cazakoff (1884-1958), who emigrated to Canada from Russia in 1899. After George passed away, his watch eventually came into his only daughter Anne's possession. After her death in 1980, the watch stayed with her husband William. A few years after the birth of our son, Nicholas, Bill presented the watch to Michael, with the idea that it would eventually go to Nicholas.

George Cazakoff 1884-1958
George Cazakoff (about 1949)

Michael knew very little about this open-face pocket watch, except that it was in working condition, had belonged to his grandfather, was probably old, and had probably been in the family for a long time. He rarely looked at the watch, but kept it safely stored in his dresser until the day he would pass it on to our son Nicholas.

About a year ago, in April 2012, our local library hosted “Antiques in the Attic”. Three appraisers looked at family heirlooms and antiques. They gave their professional opinions as to the worth or value of the items, tips on how to care for them, and where to get more information. Michael and I decided to attend this free event and chose two items for appraisal: a serving platter that my Mom bought when she was first married and Michael’s grandfather’s pocket watch.

It was our first time at an “antiques roadshow” and we looked forward to having our family treasures valued. We also wondered what interesting details the pros would share with us.

Pocket Watch
George Cazakoff's pocket watch (2012)

After a brief look, the appraiser checked his antique collectors’ handbook, but couldn’t find a listing for this “Solar - Birkdale” watch. He then carefully opened the back cover for a closer inspection. The case was 10K gold filled, made in Canada, with the mechanism housing made in Switzerland. The chain wasn’t gold, but maybe brass. He estimated that the watch was made in the 1940s. The appraiser explained that about five years go, it might have been worth about $300.00, but since there were so many similar watches on auction sites like eBay, it now had a market value of about $100.00.

In the end, the fact that the pocket watch is of relatively recent manufacture and of modest value doesn’t matter to Michael. What’s really important is that the pretty timepiece has great sentimental value and has been in his family for three generations.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

1 comment:

  1. The antique guy was a fool solar birkdale is the trademark for the best of eatons watches and some have rolex movements in them