Frequently asked questions
My watch was probably made after 1930, can it be dated?
Hampden watches made after 1930 cannot be dated by serial number. Go to the chapters on Clinton and Manheimer where you will find a collection of adverts that may help determin the age of your model.
Where is the Serial Number?
The watch serial number will be stamped onto the movement - not the case, it has it's own number. The back of the watch has to be removed, if you're not sure how to do that ask a watchmaker. Inexperience can cause damage.
What's my watch worth?
Only a few Hampden watches are worth a lot of money. It usually depends on rareity and condition. The best way to find out without paying for an appraisal is by searching eBay or other auction sites. Remember, it's the selling price and not the asking price you need to know.
Is my watch really gold?
SOLID GOLD watches will be stamped with a Hallmark and purity mark. Purity usually ranges from 9K(ct) to 24K which is pure. Not all the watch parts may be solid gold. Each part, like the case, the back, the chain or bracelet, should be individually Hallmarked.
But there are other watches that may be sold as "Gold". Here is a great explanation by Elizabeth at 'Vintage and Antique Jewelry' which I will reproduce...
ROLLED GOLD: Rolled gold is a very thin sheet of gold that is laminated to a lesser metal (most often brass). The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. Jewelry made from rolled gold wear very well over time. It is a very economical substitute for solid gold as it looks and feels just like solid gold. Rolled gold pieces are marked "rolled gold", "RG" or"RGP". Sometimes, there may also be a mark "10 mc", "20 mc" or "50 mc". The "mc" stands for "micron" and indicates thickness of the layer of gold. There may also be an indication of the quality of gold e.g. "9 ct RG", "14 ct RG" or even "22 ct RG". Please do not confuse solid gold with rolled. If in any doubt, always ask the seller for clarification.
GOLD FILLED: Gold-filled is composed of a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal, very often brass. High quality gold filled pieces have the look, luster, and beauty of 14 ct gold. The minimum layer of gold in an item stamped "GF" must equal at least 1/20 the weight of the total item. You may also come across items marked "1/20" or "1/50". "1/20 12kt GF" is the most common stamp you will find on gold filled jewelry. 10kt and 14kt are also quite common. Gold filled or rolled gold items, even with daily wear, can last 5 - 30 years but will eventually wear through.
GOLD PLATED: Gold-plated metal has a very thin layer of gold on the surface, usually applied by the process of electroplating. Gold plated items are often marked "GEP", "gold electroplate", "gold plated", or "electro-plaqué d'or". Because the layer of gold is very thin it will wear off much quicker.
GOLD WASHED: "Gold washed" are metals that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than 0.175 microns thick). This will wear away much quicker than gold plate, gold-filled, or rolled gold . The gold is applied by either dipping or burnishing the metal, but it is not plated.
GOLD TONE: Gold coloured or electro-plated metals where no gold has been used in the process.
How often should a watch be serviced?
As a rule a watch should be treated like a car. Both need regular maintenance or they will fail. Service costs vary and today real watchmakers are rare. Be wary of the jeweller who fit's batteries to quartz watches and seems to have an array of watchmaking tools. Also a jeweller advertising watch servicing may mean he sends them away to be done.
I know a good watchmaker who understands my old movements, but he is so busy he won't take new customers.
Are there fake Hampden watches?
Not usually fakes like a 'copy watch', but there are 'frankens'. A franken is what watch collectors call a watch made from parts of other watches, from Frankenstien.
Hampden movements parts are often stamped with matching numbers. However, with old watches it's not unreasonable for replacement donor parts to be used.
I have a Moscow made Hampden is it rare?
Watches made in the Moscow factory with a Hampden made movement are almost always fakes. That is, a Moscow made case with a scrap Hampden size 16 movement fitted. There are many old Hampden movements for sale on the internet, usually because the original case was gold or silver and they have been melted down.
I only know of one such watch and that is in the Polymus museum in Moscow. I know of Type-2, 3 & 4 examples in private collections.
My Hampden pocket watch winds-up but I can't set the time!
Most probably because it is a lever set movement. Lookup lever set or pin set movements on the internet and you will find a 'How to' do it video.
I have a question that's not listed.
Use the contact page to ask a question. Please remember, I do not appraise, buy & sell or repair watches.