Determining a watch’s brand

I just received a watch that belonged to my great grandfather. Other than the family connection, it’s nothing out of the ordinary—it’s not encrusted in jewels, nor does it seem terribly old (it probably dates from the fifties or sixties, but no one actually knows). It may have come from Woolworth’s, it may have come from a retirement party… again no one knows.

I’ve always been amazed at how seriously some people take watches, so I figure even if it is from a dime store, there’s a chance the info is out there somewhere… but after a bunch of Google searching am nowhere. Can anyone here help with a lead or two?

On the front (working from top to bottom) is a small crown logo (yeah, try searching watch crown logo in Google!), and the word Admiral right below it (the A and the d are in stylized italics).

At the bottom of the front it says waterproof and then shock protected (more terms that should vastly narrow down the field). At the very bottom is more rare words—“Swiss made.” I think you can see why my amateur looking got me nowhere.

The back has no brand information, just descriptive words like “unbreakable mainspring,” “case Swiss made,” etc.

Any thoughts?



This page has an Admiral pocket watch c.1910 for £95.

Can you post a picture?

Close? … the page Johnny L.A. linked to has an Admiral watch, but the large photo doesn’t load.

Unfortunately, I can’t post a picture until later today … which makes me wonder why I didn’t wait to post until then.

It might be a Longines Admiral - nice durable watch. In good condition worth a couple hundred bucks, but not more than that.

Longines were an underappreciated watch.

That would be neat, but it doesn’t have the traditional flying hourglass logo, but rather a crown-like logo. I can’t find it (the crown) on Longines’ site… is there any chance I’m overlooking something?

The vast majority of Longine “Admirals” were wristwatches and their logo is usually wings not a crown, so I’m not sure they are the best bet for the model designation. The “shockproof” and especially the “water proof” designations put it as most likely a post WWII watch.

I’ suggest scanning eBay current and past sales for pics. You might also want to try this watch forum site. they have lots of watch mavens.

See this

Tacy Admiral pocketwatch with crown logo

Ok, I managed to get a couple passable pictures (hard to do with a watch crystal staring the flash in the face, and not enough light to do otherwise).

I just put them on a newly created Flickr account, and hope that the URL works.
Unfortunately, the crown isn’t the same as in Astro’s link, nor have I ever seen it before. I don’t expect it to be anything out of the ordinary, but it would be nice to know just a wee bit about it.


I don’t think it’s Longines, they’ve had the same logo since the late 1800’s more or less.

The “crown” almost looks like a stylized Baume Mercier logo, I’m still trying to find an old marker of theirs to see if it’s changed in the last 40 or 50 years.

The third possibility is that it’s just a plain old no-brand watch. Although, the fact that it’s marked “Swiss Made” indicates it probably isn’t a no-name. I’m 98% sure it’s a good piece you have there. It certainly is attractive. I looked the PW Admiral mentioned, but they don’t appear to have that logo either.

There are only a handful of Swiss companies that have made a watch called the “Admiral” Corum is one of them. Don’t get too excited though (Corum are quite spendy) corum doesn’t have a logo like that either.

I’m really wondering if it’s an old Baume & Mercier.

It’s almost certainly a generic Swiss watch from the 1960’s.

Is it automatic, or can you wind it?

What does it say on the back of the watch? Stainless, gold-filled? "Anything?

You can probably pry off the back with a pocket knife. Don’t be afraid. When you have the back off, what does it say inside?

Then look at the movement. How many jewels? I’ll guess 17 or less.

It might have the name of the maker.

Oooo, I’d be careful about prying the back off. Some of the better Swiss watches are pressurized for water resistance. At this point, I’d probably take it to a watch repair person (preferably one who does his own work on site). They’ll have the proper tools to pop the back off and look on the inside and tell you the number of jewels and if there are any defining marks inside the case. They’ll also be able to tell you if it’s actually a Swiss watch, or if it’s just a Swiss case with japanese movement. That happens on some of the lesser quality watches.

I warn being careful with it since you have no idea what you have.

Case in point, I have a Tag Heuer that I bought off of e-bay for VERY little money (under $200–I honestly thought it was a fake, especialy since the seller was in Singapore) when it stopped working, I took it to my watch repair guy. It turned out that it was a very very rare Tag worth several thousand dollars. He was even able to verify it with Tag from the serial number inside the case.

Take it to a watch guy, they’ll charge you next to nothing to take a look at it. Some even do evaluations for free.

Are you sure about that? My Rolexes just have gaskets. The Sea Dweller (which I don’t have) has a helium release valve for saturation diving, but that’s to let gas out.

From his picture, this ain’t a pressurized modern Swiss watch. It’s a 1960’s generic Swiss watch. It might have a gasket, but probably not.

My guess is the watch, if a stainless or base metal case, is something we’d resell for $10-35.

If you’re concerned, take it to a local watch repair person.

Upon reflection, this is NOT a “better Swiss watch.” It isn’t pressurized.

I’d tend to agree with ya samclem… I’m just always careful about things like this that I’m not sure about because I’ve found that I have little treasures that initially I thought were pretty much worthless.

I have a pretty good sized collection of midling-jewelry quality swiss watches (I’m only a half-hearted collector though) but most are modern Baum Merciers, Tags, and Omega. And I have a couple of movados I beat up on a regular basis.

It’s a pretty good looking watch he posted though. The face is quite nice in my opinion (for what that opinion is worth, which is probably not much. LOL)

It’s a wind-up.

The back says:
Stainless steel back
Shock Protected
Unbreakable Mainspring
Case Swill made
It also has the number 244 in a box

I’m sorry, but while I can julienne carrots with reckless aplomb, I’m not sure I can take a cleaver to this. Sure, I’d try and be careful, but one slip and whammo, three generations of guilt come crashing down on my head. If I still find nothing, I’ll drop by a jeweler to have a professional open the back.

I wasn’t expecting much of a brand here, he was immigrated in the 30s or so and a tailor–but given its provenance and sentimental value, I’d love to know anything more about it.

I too would like to see a cite for this. I just observed a watchmaker pull the back off my TAG/Huer and it was not pressurized. A gasket around the case cover. He applied a light coat of silicone to the case o-ring and stem o-ring before reassembly. After that he put the watch in a pressure chamber where it was tested for leakage. I was given a print out showing no leakage.

I think that’s what she’s talking about. Most people don’t have pressure testing equipment at home, and I doubt the OP knows how to ensure that the gaskets are seated correctly.