Pocket Watch with Fob Chain
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $50,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:10)
Metalwork & Sculpture
GUEST: The story is that Pancho Villa killed a man in Mexico City and took the watch off of him. Then... he ended up in Alpine, Texas, where he traded this watch to Mr. Kasner for a brand-new Buick automobile. Mr. Kasner sold it to a Dr. Middlebrook from Del Rio, Texas. My father told the doctor, "If you ever want to sell that watch, please give me first chance at it." Dr. Middlebrook died several years later, and his widow called my father, and my father bought the watch. And he never would tell anybody what he paid for it. (chuckles) Now, I-I cannot, uh, I cannot prove any of this, and believe me, I've tried.
GUEST: I understand.
APPRAISER: Well, let's take a look at the watch
GUEST: All right.
APPRAISER: and talk a little bit about what could be true about the story. Um, if you examine the watch, on the dial, it does have the name of a jewelry store in Mexico City. La Esmeralda. It is from the era that it could actually be-- the story could be true.
GUEST: Right, right.
APPRAISER: The watch is from before the turn of the century. La Esmeralda is closed up. I had a friend in Mexico City check that out. The initials of the original owner are mounted on the case, which is 18-karat gold, in rose diamonds. And then there's a watch fob charm in 18-karat gold that matches that opens as a locket. There are no pictures left in it, which is too bad.
APPRAISER: Pancho Villa probably took them out. There are diamonds all the way down the chain, which is in two colors of gold. The case work is French or Swiss, and the watch movement is a Swiss chronograph, which means it has four separate dials on the front. It does moon phase, it counts off the days of the month, it has a stopwatch function that works by pushing this here. The lever here is to make it chime, which is sometimes called blind man's function. People who couldn't see could tell the time by pushing this lever and counting the chimes.
GUEST: Oh, how interesting.
APPRAISER: Um, let me... It is a separate little spring that makes it ding. (quiet chiming) Faintly, faintly hear it.
GUEST: I love to hear that.
APPRAISER: It's considered a very, very complicated watch, because each dial has to have a separate part of the watch movement. Uh, it's enhanced by the fact that the materials in it are very, very high quality and that the chain and-and fob match the watch and are original to it. Uh, would you have a guess as to how much this watch might be worth in today's market?
GUEST: No idea. That's-that's, uh, that's what I'm doing here.
APPRAISER: Uh, somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000. It's magnificent.
GUEST: Would it be worth more if I could prove the story?
APPRAISER: Definitely, definitely.
GUEST: That's what I thought. I've tried.
APPRAISER: But it is possible from the serial number of the watch to find out for whom it was originally ordered and then trace the story back that way.
GUEST: Well, that'll be a nice job for you, Fred.
APPRAISER: Take some time.
GUEST: (chuckles): Yeah.
APPRAISER: Thank you very much for coming to show it to us. It's a fabulous watch.
GUEST: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, everybody. It was fun.
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