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Blog: Mystery “JW” Sponsors Mark

Date: 15 October 2021

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2021 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 to get in touch via my Contact Me page.


A(number)M: J Véron Grauer & Co. of Geneva


J trilobe W: Glasgow 1928/1929: Click image to enlarge
A10M
A10M
A2M
A2M AstarM
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 separated by a symbol such as the star in the second image.

Examples of A2M, A5M, A10M and A11M have been seen. They all look similar, made with an incuse punch with no surround. Unfortunately the records for the Glasgow Assay Office were mainly lost when the office closed in 1964 and there are no surviving Glasgow Assay Office records of who entered these marks.

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 punch record plates, but unfortunately the details of the registrant were lost.

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

Although the Glasgow Assay Office records are lost, the Edinburgh and Dublin Assay Office databases each include an A5M incuse mark with no surround. The punches were registered on 3 March 1931 and 17 September 1934 respectively. They were registered by J Véron Grauer & Co. of Geneva. From this it is reasonable to infer that all of the similar “A (number) M” marks entered at the Edinburgh, Dublin and Glasgow assay offices were entered by Véron Grauer & Co.

J (symbol) 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, etc, etc.

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. However, 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 here with Glasgow Assay Office hallmarks, so it seems reasonable to infer that all the similar “J (symbol) W” punches were entered at the Glasgow Assay Office by J Véron Grauer & Co.

The earliest record of a J (symbol) W punch is 7 Apr 1928 at the Dublin Assay Office. Philip Priestley records two sponsor's marks entered by James Weir at the Glasgow Assay Office, 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. It seems likely that JW punches, especially those in cameo, were entered by James Weir. It is not known whether items submitted under these sponsor's marks were for eventual sale in the Weir shops in Glasgow or whether Weir was simply acting as an assay agent for Swiss watch case manufacturers.

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.

It seems that Véron Grauer were performing the role of assay agent for Swiss watch case manufacturers in the same way as Stockwell & Co. This involved registering punches at British assay offices, supplying these punches to Swiss watch case makers, transporting watch cases to Britain and submitting them for assay and hallmarking, and the returning the hallmarked cases to the case maker.

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.

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.

If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to to get in touch via my Contact Me page.


Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2021 all rights reserved. This page updated January 1970. W3CMVS. Back to the top of the page.