The year 2022 proved to be financially turbulent in many parts of the world, but happily, vintage watches still capture people's interest and have held their value. We were excited to attend the NAWCC mid-winter regional in late January as well as the NAWCC Convention in July. We appreciate that we always have pocket watches, wristwatches, jewelry, and coins constantly pouring in here in Goffstown, New Hampshire! Most importantly, we continue to enjoy friendships and exchanges of information with all of our clients and friends, whether seasoned collectors or those who are new to the hobby.
A highlight of 2022 was the auctioning of the Waltham Crystal Plate serial #12, Model 1872 with free-sprung balance. Fred Hansen, our pocket watch specialist, wrote the following about this watch:
"One of the most beautiful and iconic watches in American horology, the Waltham Crystal Plate movements have red ruby jewels friction set directly into the upper plate giving the illusion of their floating in mid-air. This particular example is especially notable as it is believed to be the only known 16 size open face Crystal Plate that is equipped with a free-sprung balance; and this watch is also a strikingly beautiful example with its superb condition throughout, its unusual and elegant top grade dial, and its gold skeleton style case with an ideal simplicity of design that serves to present the piece without distraction."
As 2022 draws to a close, we have asked our staff to select their favorite lot from the past year (except, of course, the Waltham crystal plate pocket watch, above).
Here are the chosen ones:
Owner and auctioneer, George Jones, chose this beautiful Paul Ditisheim in platinum and iridium case with diamond inset and bow and featuring a dial with diamond inset runic indices spelling "George Somnes," this watch having brought close to high estimate at $1,800 hammer price as Lot 281 in our September 25, 2022 Live Webcast Auction. George stated: "This watch shows a combination of the skills of a jeweler and a watchmaker and maintains its beauty after all these years." We only wish the dial had read “George Jones” instead of “George Somnes”!
Owner/auctioneer Patty Jones’ favorite is Lot 15 from our May 1, 2022 Live Webcast Auction, a lady's Cartier Tortue wristwatch in platinum, 18K & diamonds, which rose over estimates to garner $4,800. Patty feels this watch is “so elegant,” and said, “I love vintage even better than modern women’s wristwatches!”
Chief operating officer/auctioneer Diana (Kelly) Dickinson chose the extraordinary Agassiz 36mm pendant watch with high relief detail of an owl perched on a branch that rises three-dimensionally and lifts clear from the case. She said, "This is the most stunning case I have ever seen, and despite its smaller size, the impact is breathtaking! I shared this in a pocket watch group on Facebook and spoke to the amazing case, and my favorite comment by a watch collecting friend was, ‘Owl have to agree!’”
Pocket watch expert, Fred Hansen, picked the rare Empire Combination Timer by Empire City Watch Co, which sold as lot 125 in our September 25, 2022 Live Webcast Auction for $3,000. He explains: “It's such an unusual and eye-catching piece highlighted by its unique dial design that tells the story of just how complicated timekeeping and travel between cities was in the days before Standard Time was introduced. The watch was also in excellent original condition and is something that very rarely comes to the market; in all our years this is only the second example of an Empire Combination Timer that Jones & Horan has had the pleasure to sell.”
Our wristwatch specialist, Tyler St. Gelais, who refers to himself as our Grand Czar of Wristwatches, enthusiastically chose the Omega Cosmic triple calendar wristwatch offered as Lot 156 in our May 1, 2022 spring Live Auction. Tyler states: “This watch was the whole package! In a larger than average case in the perfect choice of gold being rose gold. This watch was just a great large piece that I think will look just as good in 50 years as it does today and did all those years ago when new.”
Photographer Ryan Fields chose Lot 114 from the September 25, 2022 Live Auction, an exceedingly rare Charles Fasoldt two-train stop/start chronograph with upper chronograph register having co-axial seconds and minute recording as well as 1/5-second jump. This watch came in below estimates at $12,500. Ryan explains why he chose this one: “It stayed in good condition all this time with all its many functions still working. Plus, it’s in a nice gold case modified to accommodate it. It’s pretty cool!”
Assistant pocket watch cataloger and store manager, Amanda Kelly, chose lot 116 from our May 1, 2022 Live Webcast Auction. Her reasons? “For this year’s staff favorite, I choose the Charles Oudin, cloisonné minute repeater with chronograph. The case for this watch was just absolutely stunning to look at. The photos are gorgeous and yet in hand, it is even more visually stunning, even from afar! Unlike other beautiful cases, this one’s bow and crown are also done up with ornate engraving detail. Beyond the exquisite case, this pocket watch was clean and beautiful with all of its complications functioning as they should. If I had had the ability to win this watch, I surely would have been proud to own such a stunning piece!”
Marc Bourque, our festive IT manager (don’t let his “bah, humbug” fool you!), picked Lot 254 from our 8th Annual Holiday Spectacular online auction on December 8, 2022, the Swiss for Chinese market pocket watch with vibrant polychrome enamel woman's portrait on the back. When asked why, he simply said: “I like this one because it reminds me of someone who brightens everyone's day.”
Receptionist, video creator, assistant photographer, and assistant cataloger, Courtney St. Gelais, chose Lot 151 which garnered $9,200 in our May 1, 2022 Live Webcast Auction. She explains: “Something that set Lot 151, Rolex Oyster Day-Date in 18K yellow gold, apart from all the other lots this year was its beautiful blue pie pan dial. I always find myself being attracted to colorful items, and there was something about this shade of blue that had me searching the rest of the year to find a dial that could even come close to matching it. I had thought to myself, when I first saw this watch, that in a perfect world, perhaps I would love it even more with its original bezel present. However, the diamond bezel actually compliments the lighter blue tone of the dial so well, that I was surprised to see myself so fond of this amount of “bling”. Perhaps later down the line, this cataloger may acquire one of their own…some day…”
Associate pocket watch specialist from afar, Steven Humphrey, chose Lot 107 in our September 25, 2022 Live Webcast Auction, an Albert H. Potter, Geneva, pocket watch with "Model No. 14" marked movement of unusual plate design. He explains his final, but difficult choice: "Such a tough decision! So many great watches. There was the Hansons Patent Chronometer, more than a few fascinating Charles Jacot watches, Henry Matile, and a parade of magnificent Gruen Fiftieth Anniversary watches. I think my favorite this year was the unusual Albert Potter watch. I like 'em weird." Hammering over estimates at $6,800, the full write-up as well as all photographs, can be seen by clicking here!
When home from college, Caleb Bojarsky serves as our assistant “multiple pocket watch” lot cataloger. He also serves as primary online bid taker during our Live Webcast Auctions with live online bidding. Caleb chose Lot 287 from the September 25, 2022 Live Webcast Auction, a fusee quarter-hour repeater with two-figure jacquemart automaton that realized $1,900. He states: “I like watches that are ambitious with their visuals and mechanics. This watch just looks fascinating, and has an art style I particularly enjoy.”
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! We were thrilled when our 8th Annual Holiday Spectacular in December broke Jones & Horan's record for number of registered bidders in an online-only style auction!
We have seen many beautiful, unusual, and/or rare things this past year and learned so much in our research and from our clients.
We thank you all for your attention, information, bids, consignments, and kindnesses, and we look forward in eager anticipation to 2023!