Blog: Mystery “JW” Sponsors Mark
Date: 15 October 2021Copyright © David Boettcher 2005 - 2023 all rights reserved.
I make additions and corrections to this web site frequently, but because they are buried somewhere on one of the pages the changes are not very noticeable. I decided to create this blog to highlight new material. Here below you will find part of one of the pages that is either completely new or I have recently changed or added to significantly.
The section in this blog is about a sponsor's mark that has been something of a mystery for many years. Many watches from the late 1920s onwards are seen with Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks with a sponsor's mark of the initials JW separated by a symbol.
It is known from surviving plates that at least 22 similar punches were entered at the Glasgow Assay Office, but unfortunately, when the Glasgow Assay Office office closed in 1964 many of the records were lost or destroyed and there are no records of who entered these sponsor's marks. From the initials JW they were once thought to have been registered by James Weir.
In the research for his latest, and unfortunately last, book, Philip Priestly visited the Dublin Assay Office and noted the details of all registrations of sponsor's marks that mentioned watches or watch cases. Two marks, registered on 7 Apr 1928 and 29 Aug 1928, are described as “J W Incuse Trilobe between”. This is also one of the marks entered at the Glasgow Assay Office. The registrant who entered the marks is recorded as J Veron Grauer & Company [Watch Importers] La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland.
From this clear direct evidence, and other circumstantial evidence, it can be inferred that all the sponsor's marks consisting of the initials JW stamped incuse with no surround and with a symbol between the letters were entered at the Glasgow and other assay offices by Veron Grauer & Company.
Is it too much of a stretch to think that the initials might have been intended to be JV for J Veron, but the V was transposed into a W by someone who spoke German or made an assumption about German pronunciation? I would welcome comments about this aspect from someone with knowledge of German pronunciation.
The section reproduced below is from my page about Sponsors Marks.
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to get in touch via my Contact Me page.
AxM and JxW: J Véron Grauer & Co of Geneva
A star M
Some watch cases with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks have a sponsor's mark of the letters A and M separated by a number, such as the A2M mark shown here, and others with the same letters A and M separated by a symbol, such as the star in the second image.
Examples of A2M, A5M, A9M, A10M, A11M and A✧M have been seen. They are all similar in style, made with by incuse punch with no surround.
There are also watch cases with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks with a sponsor's mark of the letters J and W separated by a symbol. There are a large number of these, at least 22, recorded on surviving Glasgow Assay Office punch record plates.
Unfortunately, the records for the Glasgow Assay Office were mainly lost when the office closed in 1964 and there are no surviving records of who entered these marks, although there are some surviving plates with punch marks of the sponsor's marks, showing that the sponsor's details and individual punches were registered with the Glasgow Assay Office.
However, although the Glasgow Assay Office records have been lost, some punches with similar sponsor's marks to those entered at the Glasgow Assay Office were entered at the Edinburgh and Dublin assay offices, for which records do exist and from which it can be inferred who entered the same marks at the Glasgow Assay Office.
If you have a watch case with one of these sponsor's marks, either A(number)M, A(symbol)M, or J(symbol)W, or something else along these lines, I would like to see a photograph please!
A (number) M and A (symbol) M
The surviving Glasgow Assay Office plates have some A[number]M punch marks, A2M, A10M and A11M, but there is no record of who entered these sponsor's marks.
The records of the Edinburgh and Dublin Assay Office each include an A5M mark, incuse with no surround. The punches were registered at Edinburgh on 3 March 1931 and Dublin on 17 September 1934. They were entered by J Véron Grauer & Co of Geneva, carriers and assay agents.
Watch cases have been seen with Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks and A[number]M sponsor's marks other than those on the surviving plates, showing that some of the original plates are also missing. The image here shows an A5M sponsor's mark in a watch case with Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks for 9 carat gold. The date letter is the “i” of the Glasgow hallmarking year from July 1931 to June 1932.
From this it seems evident that Véron Grauer & Co were acting as agents for Swiss watch case manufacturers in the same way asStockwell & Co, carrying watch cases to Britain, submitted them for hallmarking and then returned them to Switzerland to be finished before being sold on to watch manufacturers.
It seems reasonable to infer that all of the similar “A (number) M” and “A (symbol) M” marks, incuse with no surround, that were entered at the Edinburgh, Dublin and Glasgow assay offices were entered by Véron Grauer & Co. Rather curiously, there is no record of Véron Grauer & Co registering their details or any sponsor's marks at the London Assay Office.
J (symbol) W
J swastika W
It is known from surviving Glasgow plates bearing registered punch marks that at least 22 similar punches were entered at the Glasgow Assay Office with the initials JW stamped incuse with no surround and with a symbol between the letters such as a heart ♡, diamond ♢, triangle △, square ▢, equals sign =, swastika 卍, etc, etc. There doesn't appear to be an HTML code for a trilobe; if you know it, please let me know.
The image shows one of these sponsor's marks with the swastika 卍, an ancient religious icon dating back to the stone age which did not gain its modern negative connotations until the mid to late 1930s. The case has Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks for nine carat (·375) gold, the date letter is the "g" of the Glasgow hallmarking year from July 1929 to June 1930.
The Dublin Assay Office records include a sponsor's mark of J W incuse with a trilobe symbol between the letters, the same as the one shown in the image with Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks, so it seems reasonable to infer that the identical J trilobe W punch mark was entered at the Glasgow Assay Office by J Véron Grauer & Co.
By extension, it seems plausible to assume that all the similar “J (symbol) W” punches were also entered at the Glasgow Assay Office by J Véron Grauer & Co. It also seems at least possible that the mark was intended to be based on the initials J and V (for Véron), but when the punch cutter was instructed, the letters V and W were mixed up due to different English and continental pronunciations of the letters V and W.
The earliest record of a J (symbol) W punch is 7 Apr 1928 at the Dublin Assay Office.
J Véron Grauer & Cie
J Véron Grauer & Cie of Geneva were carriers who specialised in transporting products of high value such as watches and jewellery, and also in customs clearance in many countries. They entered these sponsor's marks so that they could act as assay agent for a number of different Swiss watch case manufacturers.
The number or symbol between the letters was used most likely used for administrative purposes, to identify which manufacturer each watch case belonged to. Watch cases were submitted in large batches for hallmarking and could not have labels or any other means of identification attached to them, so the sponsor's mark is the only means of identification.
A9M with PdM2 No 136
The sponsor's mark A9M has been seen in a nine carat gold case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1930 to 1931 and the Poinçon de Maître of a Hammer with Handle with the registration number 136 that was issued to the Swiss watch case making company C.R. Spillmann SA. If there are other cases with the same A9M sponsor's mark and a Hammer with Handle with the registration number 136, that would support the theory. If you have such a case, please let me know.
It appears that Véron Grauer were performing the same role as assay agent for Swiss watch case manufacturers as Stockwell & Co. This involved registering punches at British assay offices, supplying these punches to Swiss watch case makers, transporting watch cases to Britain, submitting them for assay and hallmarking and then returning the hallmarked cases to the case maker in Switzerland.
The mark with a star between the A and the M, shown in the second image, is in a case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks which also has the GS sponsor's mark of Stockwell & Company. Véron Grauer was probably also part of the continent wide network of shipping agents including Messageries Nationales Express and the Messageries Anglo-Suisses that Stockwell & Co. also belonged to.
Véron-Grauer also entered a mark AK incuse within an incuse rectangular surround at the Edinburgh Assay Office in 1931.
Rather curiously, there is no record of Véron Grauer & Co registering their details or any sponsor's marks at the London Assay Office.
Véron Grauer & Co still exists as a logistics company in Switzerland, the specialised valuables transport branch of the Deutsche Post DHL group, and traces its history back to 1867.
At one time it was thought that the J (symbol) W punches were entered by James Weir, who did enter some JW sponsor's marks. Philip Priestley records two sponsor's marks that are known to have entered at the Glasgow Assay Office by Weir; J.W. incuse with no surround, which is annotated in the records as “Watch Case Punch”, and J.W in cameo within a heart shaped surround. There are a number of other punches known to have been entered by Weir that Philip did not record because they are not recorded as watch case marks. It seems likely that JW punches without anything between the initials, especially those entered or used before 1928 and those in cameo, were entered by James Weir.
If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch via my Contact Me page.
Copyright © David Boettcher 2005 - 2023 all rights reserved. This page updated January 1970. W3CMVS. Back to the top of the page.