Help me ID this Swiss(?) Watch
January 24, 2014 8:37 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought a pocket watch (photos: one two three), and I was hoping to find out something about the company that made it. The brand is "Three Stars" and it's supposedly Swiss. I can't find anything searching because the name collides with a lot of things (including a line of wrist watches that seems unrelated), but am I missing something?

Many years ago I had another watch (since lost) that looked very similar - the hands in particular were exactly the same - which was supposed to be a Swiss watch from the 1930s, and its brand was Orpheus. I can find one other Orpheus watch on eBay but nothing else.

Looking around auction sites I've seen a lot of pocket watches that seem to have similar designs - simple faces with a few variations, a couple of different particular hand shapes (straight, the circles like my Three Stars, or the diamonds of the linked Orpheus) - often from brands that don't seem to exist outside the auctions. Were there a lot of small Swiss watch companies at one point that had similar designs, or are these fakes with labels swapped around to keep people from recognizing them?
posted by 23 to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
This may be one of those questions where a dedicated watch forum -- of which there are quite a few -- might be more helpful.

The watchmaking business, including the Swiss one, is complicated because there are sellers that buy the components from the part-makers and sell them under their own branding, and there are makers that build watches from their own parts who adopt different brands for different markets either because they want to appeal to that market or because their existing trademarks are already taken. In recent years, the larger brands have acquired more of the independent parts business, which has crowded out the indies.

So to answer your question directly: there were a lot of companies that assembled watches using movements, dials, cases etc. bought from the same set of suppliers.

What might help most is to identify the movement, rather than the watch as a whole, and that's going to be where the watch forums (example) are going to have the most expertise.
posted by holgate at 9:13 PM on January 24, 2014

FWIW, I found the same watch - in fact, your same three photos - on this Japanese auction site page. But I guess that's where you bought it from.
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:55 PM on January 24, 2014

Can you unscrew the back and take a picture of the markings there, as well do a close up of the stamp on the back of the watch?

The Taubert family was the first Swiss watch manufacturer to use stainless steel cases. It will be easier to track down who made your watch with access to the makers marks.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2014

Also, I bet the Watch Doc could help you identify it.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 7:07 AM on January 25, 2014

The Swiss tend to brag about watches, and this is silent on the issue.

I'm wondering, possibly Russian? (Three stars)
posted by IndigoJones at 1:14 PM on January 25, 2014

Then there's this tantalizing bit:

"following the war, in 1949, the [Petrodvorets] factory was reconstructed and began assembly of “Star”, “звезда” (Zvezda) and “Victory” “Победа” (Pobeda) watches."

Which probably just coincidence, but on the other hand....
posted by IndigoJones at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2014

Quisp Lover: Yes, that is where I bought it from. Well, to be more accurate I bought it on Yahoo Auctions and that looks like some weird wrapper site? Same text/photos at least.

whimsicalnymph: Here is a picture of the stamp on the inside of the back cover; tell me if you meant something else (though note I can't take pictures as good as those from the auction). The text is "STAINLESS STEEL J.O. 604050" (With J.O. inside the triangle).

holgate: Thanks for the tip - it makes sense a dedicated watch forum would be better, but I wouldn't have even known where to start. That's also good to know about the parts.
posted by 23 at 11:33 PM on January 27, 2014

« Older Single, nearly 35, feeling profoundly alone and...   |   Is the 13" MacBook Air the right laptop for me? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.