N. Gamse "The Globe" Pocketwatch, ca. 1910
It starts with my grandfather. He was actually born to a very wealthy family in Finland. The farm was to go to him, but he was always teased about being this kid with a golden spoon, and he decided to leave everything that would have gone to him and came to America with nothing. Came up to central Minnesota, found a farm that he liked, agreed to buy it, and headed out west to make money to get the down payment. And he worked out there for several years in the mines, ended up in the redwoods in California cutting redwoods. And then as he worked back, he came across somebody that had this watch, and so some of his money converted to this watch, and I'm not sure how much. Got back to Minnesota, the fellow that had the farm had sold the lakeshore property off of it, so he bought another farm a couple miles away, which is where we're at now, and was able to keep the watch. In the '30s, they were mortgaged to the hilt, and they took the watch in and had it appraised, and they were offered $300 for it, which was huge at that time, but they managed to make it through and kept the watch. It got passed on to my dad, and then to me, and it'll be my son's.
The first thing you'll notice is it has multiple colors of gold. Over here you have in the leaves you have this green gold. The main case is yellow, then you see there's some pinks and some white. The gold is 14 karat, variegated gold. That is in itself a little extra special thing when this watch was being built. The next thing we notice is just the ornate engraving. You see these heavy ornamentations on the top and on the bottom. These ornaments are what they call a box hinge. It gives the watch a very big, chunky, square look, but it also makes the watch a little more durable. Now, by the name up on top, over here, it says, "The Globe, N. Gamse." N. Gamse is the retailer. He was in New York state, and he had a penchant for calling up watch companies and ordering big blocks of orders. But he didn't like to order the everyday regular pocket watch. He always went for the extras to make the watch extra special for his clients. Each one had a name; this one's called The Globe. So The Globe is the model. You have a very traditional, double sunk white porcelain dial with Roman numerals. You see the little numbers on the outside? The little tracks? That's for minutes, it's very railroad style. The hands, again, not plain hands, very fancy, very ornate. We're going to go to the back because he wasn't finished. There's still a couple extra things going on here. Usually a watch, when you look at the movement, it's one color, it's usually a gilt, gold color, or it's usually just a nickel, brushed. When you start to put engine turning lines on it, we call that damascening, but here you have what we call two-tone damascening. If you'll see, you have the bright white, and then you have the gold tone. He usually ordered most of his watches from Illinois Watch Company, which was in Springfield, Illinois. I checked the serial number on here. It's too high to be an Illinois Watch Company. He did also order some watches from Elgin and Waltham. But judging from the serial number, if it's Elgin or Waltham, it's got to be somewhere in the early 1900s, probably like from 1908 to 1911, when this watch was made.
Is there significance to the diamond on there?
I think just again, another little add-on. They put a little old mine cut diamond in there. It's just a nice little accent. It's not a terribly expensive diamond. What was the appraisal?
Well, it's changed. I would say at auction today, this watch would be $4,000 to $6,000.
It'll stay on the farm.
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