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Gent’s silver, pendant wound and pin set, open face pocket watch with fancy dial, case and possibly the watch attributed to Racine Freres, Bienne, Switzerland, watch retailed by Wilhelm Giesser, Gossau, Switzerland, circa 1890s.
Case: Size not provided, but will assume it is in the range of 45-52mm in diameter, three leaf, 0.800% silver open face pocket watch case.
The back cover is engine turned with horizontal striping and engraved with a figure of a Renaissance era Crusader with shield, armor and sword flanked by foliate engravings. The interior of the back cover is hallmarked with Swiss markings: The grouse hallmark for 0.800 grade silver (this is slightly less than coin silver), a cameo with 0.800 inside for that quality of the silver (Sterling is 0.950), case number, and a European beach hut, the logo for the Racine Freres watch firm of Bienne, Switzerland, maker of watch cases, movement and whole watches. There is a suppressed ball fluted pendant and round bow laced at the twelve position relative to the dial and adjacent to it a push button for pin setting. The barrel of the case has a coin edge. There is a cuvette over the movement with ornamentation which is not fully shown.
Dial: Bi-color dial with enameled Roman hours against a pink ground, open gilt dotted minute track, Arabic markers placed every five minutes around the periphery of the dial. Colorful floral- wreath around the base of the hands in the dial center, two rococo skeletonized Louis XVth style hands, subsidiary seconds @6 and the upper dial marked for the retail firm in Gossau, Switzerland, “Wilhelm Giesser”.
Movement: Gilt bridge-plate movement with half plate having exposed ratchet and crown wheels, curved center-wheel bridge and small straight jeweled finger bridge, three arm mono-metallic balance wheel, and Swiss style index regulator marked in French for faster and slower. The movement is unsigned, but there is no good reason to suspect it was not also made by the Racine Freres firm.
Condition: Case – In very fine condition with only minimal wear. Dial – Excellent. Movement – Standard type, unsigned but in clean original, genuine finish and likely functional.
Most of the members of the Racine family - involved in the watch industry - lived in and around Lamboing, Bern Canton and (just across the Canton border) in Grenchen, Solothurn Canton, Switzerland. At the TAG-Heuer watch manufacturer members of the Racine family are employed since 1920.
In the 19th and early 20th century many Racine's and their in-laws had an independent small or large 'manufacture' producing watches and all kinds of watch parts and accessories. Some of them are listed below. Most of them closed their business in the 1920's and 1930's.
Ernest Racine (1868-1923) has a factory of special cogwheels in Lamboing. In his best days he gave work to some 50 people. And his factory even had a petrol engine as power source! Unfortunately he went bankrupt in June 1911. Since early 1904 - however - he managed a company with his younger brother as Racine Frères (Racine Brothers). They were running two small factories of bracelets in Biel/Bienne and Corgemont, selling also watches under their own name and brand names like 'Fuxia' and 'Suza'. Late December 1912 they register 4 models of wristwatches.
The Racine Brothers registered on May 29, 1911 their Fuxia Watch Co. (aka Fabrique Suza). Unfortunately a settlement of debts was announced on November 22, 1926, leading to a bankruptcy early 1927.
Trademarks registered by the Racine brothers were “Fuxia” in 1911 and the ‘beach hut’ back in 1888.
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/77911175_lady-racine-935-silver-pocket-watch-works-great (SOLD FOR $60 IN 2019)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/88513107_lady-racine-pocket-watch (sold for $150 in 2020)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/73485458_swiss-fancy-dial-935-silver-cased-ladies-watch (sold for $60 in 2019)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/32022799_lady-racine-with-guilloche-case-and-fleur-de-lis (sold for $100 in 2014)
This is a very nice looking and well-kept pocket watch. Racine made many of these style for the ladies and they would v=be in a case measuring closer to 30mm while the men’s examples would tend to be closer to 50mm in diameter. These were well made but not expensive watches unless they had 14k or 18k gold cases or some watch complications which this does not have. I think the fair market value of this watch with its decorative aspects and in such very good condition would be in the range of $150-$200, with retail pricing about twice that amount.
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