Droz Jeannot Fils 18K Detent Chronometer, ca. 1880

Value (2009) | $2,500 Retail$4,000 Retail

Originally it was from my grandfather. He was a civil engineer in London at the turn of the century, early 1900s. And then he immigrated to Argentina and was an engineer for some major works in Buenos Aires. My family left Argentina in the mid-'50s because of the dictatorship revolution, so we moved to Canada, actually, and my father brought this watch with him. Never explained much about it. And so it's been with the family for maybe 40, 50 years since we left Argentina.

It's a heavy 18-karat case. Made in Switzerland about 1880. The maker is Droz-Jeannot Fils. They're from Neuchâtel. They had several awards and exhibits, and they even exhibited in the Columbian Exposition in the United States for their high-quality work. So, they're not a household name, but they're a good-quality small manufacturer in Switzerland. And this watch is a very highly technical watch. This would've been used in a marine situation on board a ship like a marine box chronometer would be used to be able to navigate. Or it could be used by just somebody who was a very technical person, an accomplished engineer, somebody who appreciated the quality of a good timekeeper. Now, this was almost as good as you could get at that time because it incorporated what’s called a detent escapement, which you really can't see without looking at it with a loupe, but it’s a high-grade escapement that reduces the friction and helps to produce a very accurate timekeeper that maintains time over various temperature situations and positions. It also has a helical hairspring, which also help to maintain good timekeeping under various conditions and temperature. And another feature, which is a little bit unusual, and I really have to research this more, because it's so rare, it’s got blue sapphire jewels on two of the primary pivot points while it's got rubies on the rest of them. The overall condition of the watch is immaculate. I mean, it shows very little wear. Probably used for special occasions. Conservatively, because of the condition, because of all the different quality features on the watch, I would appraise this at a collector show at approximately $2,500 to $4,000. And in a retail situation, much more than that.


Well, thank you for bringing it to the Roadshow.

Thank you, Don, appreciate it.

Appraisal Details

Don Levison Antiques
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2009)
$2,500 Retail$4,000 Retail
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)

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