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WORLDWIDE Chapter 149 Message Board Forum Index » The Watch Collectors' Journal » nickel plates vs gilt plates
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nickel plates vs gilt plates
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Jon
Chapter President
Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 25248
Location: Boston, Ma




Many collectors have various likes and dislikes and opinions as to preferred watch plates.

Which is better, higher grade--the simple answer is who is the manufacturer? Early High grade American Watch Company gilt plates, for example, if left alone (and not ruined by poor cleaning, handling or BAD storage) are wonderful and superb--a real delight to handle and eyeball. The debth of the gilding, the matter contrast to gold settings and super steelwork is fabulous. Talk over them or finger the plates and all bets are off.

Lower grade nickel plates (and finishes) on many company products are poorly finished and damascened to begin with--an extreme case would be Trenton, Ingersol plates. One can then begin with those and go upwards.

There are quite a few gilt plates that were "talked over" (saliva developed spots) or "fingered" (handled poorly creating an eventual thumbprint than cannot be removed). Continued cleaning dulls and ruins gilding.

Contrast handling issues for nickel plates that can be wiped off with much hire success than gilt ones.

THEN, there is the overall condition issue--nothing can compare to super or unused plates.

Here is a great example of methods of manufacture--compare a nickel Columbus (any jeweling) with a high grade Elgin Nat'l Watch Co. piece. The Elgin 19-23 wins over any Columbus. Again, the manufacture settle the debate.

Now, when it does to Elgin convertibles, for example, what fishes are better? Some Walthams.

Next we have TT or gilt damascening--certainly company products are beautiful when new or unused, i.e., Otay Watch Company, Seth Thomas, Columbus and sen some lower grade Walthams are poorly finished--they look great to the untrained eye or newbie collector but the quality just isn't there. Again, certain great gilt high grade finishes win going away as for quality. Another example are many of those Peoria Watch Co. nickel finishes--good watches, run well, but when well used, heavily cleaned, recased and thus handled often during switching, they become unattractive watches.

Lastly, state and compare the steel work on various watches and grades from different companies--the difference under a loupe is astounding.

Tagline to all of the above: watch finishing and quality of appearance seems to have lessened as the years went by. Check out late Waltham movements (poor quality) or Hamilton late, military and boring grades--they run great but the quality of finishing the metals changed drastically over time. Performance won over appearance, and rightly so for new wave users. No military man cared about damascening.

The bottom line: condition usually wins out but there is no substitute for quality of manufacture.

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SUPPORT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN HOROLOGY--Keep watches original--DO NOT SWITCH, PART OUT OR "CREATE" PW abortions!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:01 pm Reply with quote
434richmond
Chapter Member
Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 634
Location: Raywick, Kentucky




Good points Jon. Keith

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:11 pm Reply with quote
Jon
Chapter President
Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 25248
Location: Boston, Ma




thank you

I believe that many of my posts will help collectors, old and new; it is good that collectors such as yourself read these messages and and study my points.

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Jon "the truth" Hanson
Founder and President of Chapter 149--the leading horological collectors' club!
American Horologe Co -- America's Most Respected Name
SUPPORT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN HOROLOGY--Keep watches original--DO NOT SWITCH, PART OUT OR "CREATE" PW abortions!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:11 pm Reply with quote
Neilywatch
Chapter Member
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 5028




Jon-

I would suspect the quality of finishing on nickel would also vary if the watch was nickel plated, as compared to solid nickel, all other things being equal.

As you mentioned the earlier Walthams were solid nickel, and even the simpler finishing looks deeper than on a post 1900 model 1883, for example.

Until I saw your examples, I never really understood or appreciated the quality of the gilding on an unused watch. Gilding is more sensitive to environmental change then nickel.

I always wondered about Columbus - since their popularity has suffered in recent years.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:39 pm Reply with quote
Jon
Chapter President
Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 25248
Location: Boston, Ma




Agreed

Good or great nickel plates will survive better than gilt; but what about the steel work? It is very problematical.

Therefore, as I hinted in my initial post, certain/correct care and/or storage is a must! Always has, a;ways will be.

Remember, more harm has been done to movements by BAD repairs that had they been left alone.

_________________
Jon "the truth" Hanson
Founder and President of Chapter 149--the leading horological collectors' club!
American Horologe Co -- America's Most Respected Name
SUPPORT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN HOROLOGY--Keep watches original--DO NOT SWITCH, PART OUT OR "CREATE" PW abortions!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:23 pm Reply with quote
434richmond
Chapter Member
Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 634
Location: Raywick, Kentucky




I don't know about you guys, but I don't buy out of Florida. Keith

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nickel plates vs gilt plates
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