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Thread: Looking for advice on restoring vandalized Helvetia DH Pocket Watch

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice on restoring vandalized Helvetia DH Pocket Watch

    I posted yesterday to find out if my engraved Helvetia Pocketwatch was genuine or a hoax, and unfortunately found out the watch is genuine and the engraving is bogus! As it is, I have been told the watch is worthless now with the eastern European handy work, so I would like to remedy the situation if possible. One aficionado recommended trying to sand out the engraving and repolish the back- but unfortunately the engraving is too deep to do this. It seems to me that since there is apparently a trend of these genuine fakes coming out of Europe now- maybe some of you have every been in this situation. My notion is to try to find a back for the watch- since the D######H isn't actually a serial number. I wanted to start a discussion about how collectors would recommend restoring or at least remedying these vandalized watches. I hope to find something eventually on Ebay, but if anyone here has some parts let me know.
    Thanks again for all of the responses from forum members yesterday!
    Last edited by Zeitraffer; 08-09-2017 at 11:20.

  2. #2
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    Odds of finding a back are slim. Odds of it actually fitting your case even slimmer. Even if it came from a duplicate case.

    Back then. Not as precise, so case parts adjusted, touched up and fitted to a particular case. Case next to it may have been the same, but adjusted and touched up so parts fit that case.

    I had a number of vintage chronograph Swiss watches and although cases were the same. Backs did not fit to other cases. They only snapped onto the case they belonged to.

    Not sure if a jeweler can solder anything into it and polish it over to hide it or you just write it off to inexperience and move onto something else.

    I wouldn't waste the time and money trying to buy a back that may or may not fit as you'll pay a premium for the DH and more if the seller thinks your desperate for it

    DON

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    Quote Originally Posted by DON View Post
    Odds of finding a back are slim. Odds of it actually fitting your case even slimmer. Even if it came from a duplicate case.

    Back then. Not as precise, so case parts adjusted, touched up and fitted to a particular case. Case next to it may have been the same, but adjusted and touched up so parts fit that case.

    I had a number of vintage chronograph Swiss watches and although cases were the same. Backs did not fit to other cases. They only snapped onto the case they belonged to.

    Not sure if a jeweler can solder anything into it and polish it over to hide it or you just write it off to inexperience and move onto something else.

    I wouldn't waste the time and money trying to buy a back that may or may not fit as you'll pay a premium for the DH and more if the seller thinks your desperate for it

    DON
    This is a screw back watch- but I'm not sure if that makes any difference. It would seem that being threaded and screwed on would make the backs more easily transferable.
    The back is 50.14mm.

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    Maybe that might help, but still going to be slim finding one as most of the sellers in the Ukraine that have them are carving new designs into them to up the price

    DON

  6. #6

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    ouch! that skull is so 'piss poor' surely in ukraine there are artists that coulda done a nice job

    Mark L

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    Quote Originally Posted by DON View Post
    Maybe that might help, but still going to be slim finding one as most of the sellers in the Ukraine that have them are carving new designs into them to up the price

    DON
    I understand what you're saying here but I'm looking for viable solutions to possibly fix my problem.
    I build and repair guitars for a living and have been a collector since I was a kid- I don't know much about military watches but I do know that old stuff keeps getting older and more scarce as the years roll on.
    In the 1980's many of the catalog guitars from the 1950s and 60s sold by department stores were just thrown in the trash rather than repaired because people didn't want to spend the time or the money to fix 20 year old "cheap" guitars. Now in 2017, the old catalog guitars (Kay, Silvertone, Harmony, etc.) are very highly collectible and the prices have skyrocketed!
    SO my thinking on this watch is: its a genuine Helvetia Swiss made watch, issued by Germany in 1939/40 to troops, in perfect working and almost excellent aesthetic condition. I have seen quiet a few parts in eBay and have a search for "Helvetia Pocket Watch Back" followed that sends me email updates everyday. The Watch is worth about $300 from what I understand without the vandalism, and if I can source a replacement back and offer both back to a buyer for a reasonable price then it is worth the 10 LPs I traded at the flea market!
    Thanks for your replies Don
    Last edited by Zeitraffer; 08-09-2017 at 12:44.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    try putting a WTB in this forum -

    http://www.mwrforum.net/forums/forum...nd-Accessories

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    Member Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Look for one with a knackered dial on Ebay and have plenty of patience. If you play a long game something will probably turn up.

    I hear what you say about old stuff getting scarcer but the thing about pocket watches is that the collectors are getting old and scarce alongside the merchandise.

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    Senior Member river rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post
    Look for one with a knackered dial on Ebay and have plenty of patience. If you play a long game something will probably turn up.

    I hear what you say about old stuff getting scarcer but the thing about pocket watches is that the collectors are getting old and scarce alongside the merchandise.
    You make me fill OLD I started off collecting pocket watches then switched to vintage and military issued wristwatches and clocks but still have a few pocket watches since I am a packrat.

  11. #11
    Member Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Don't worry - I got my first pocket watch when I was 21.

  12. #12

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    sorry, collecting DH watches is one thing, but collecting nazi stuff is creepy to me.

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    especially fake Nazi stuff.

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    ok- Thanks for the help. Threw it in the trash this morning. It was an impulse at the flea market but I've decided I don't want to be stuck with fake nazi junk. If nothing else I have learned a lot about watches looking for info on this one.

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    Hi there. That's a shame if you really have thrown it away, especially for us Helvetia collectors . Those watches were issued to ordinary soldiers and a very similar Helvetia was issued to British soldiers as well, so in my view the watch doesn't have Nazi connotations. As Carlton-Browne says sometimes damaged ones come up that will have a decent back. Or maybe someone else would have appreciated the decent dial, hands and movement you seem to have.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    we must all appreciate that this subject matter will always generate emotions and ill feelings.

    if you can still retrieve the watch then put a Wanted To Buy in the linked forum as I suggested.

    if this avenue is not successful then put a For Sale in the PX for spares or repair.

    please do not take any comments to heart..

  17. #17
    Member namib's Avatar
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    perhaps we could fix it on a lathe,
    but that would make the case back thinner by the depth of the ugly engraving .
    To re-engrave the figures should be the smallest thing.

  18. #18
    Member maxgara1979's Avatar
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    You can also get the engravings filled using laser welding and buffed without reducing the thickness of the metal plate. I used Tomkins Jewellery in the UK for a similar job and they did a great job for a very reasonable price.
    http://jewellers-watford.co.uk/jewel...epairs/2054744

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