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Swiss Poinçons de Maître

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2021 all rights reserved.

In Switzerland in the 1920s, a system of marks called Poinçons de Maître, literally the “Punch of the Master”, was introduced to identify watch case manufacturers. There were two different types of Poinçon de Maître required for watch cases; one type was used on cases plated with gold, the other was used on cases made of precious metal. Both systems were introduced in the 1920s.

Watch manufacturers didn't usually want the name of the case maker appearing in the back of their watches, because the case maker was usually a separate company who supplied many different watch manufacturers with cases. For cases made of precious metal a system of marks and code numbers was devised by the association of watch case manufacturers, with different symbols representing the different case making regions of Switzerland, principally Geneva and the Neuchâtel and Jura regions. This type of mark is called a “Collective Responsibility Mark” because the same mark was used by all the members of the association within the region, with a distinguishing number to identify which member.

Poinçons de Maître on precious metal cases are usually seen only in gold, platinum and palladium cases. Although provision was made by the Swiss watch case makers association for silver cases to be marked, these are only seen occasionally and were evidently not applied rigorously.

A Federal Law on the Control of Trade in Precious Metals and Precious Metal Works of 20 June 1933, came into force on 1 July 1934 and required that Poinçons de Maître were registered with the Central Bureau for the Control of Precious Metals in Bern. The only information the Swiss authorities now have is from that date. However, the 1934 lists have lots of gaps in the sequences of numbers. This is because in the decade between the lists first being drawn up in the 1920s and when they were centralised in 1934 there were a lot of changes. This is particularly so for the mark of a hammer with handle. If you find any one of the marks with number that is not listed, please let me know.

Note that the names in the lists below are the latest ones recorded in the database of the Central Office for Precious Metals Control. It is known that some of these marks were transferred to new names when companies changed ownership, sometimes many times. Swiss law required that any change in ownership of a company had to be registered, which meant that company names changed when old owners retired and younger family members or relatives took over, even if the factory and workforce remained identical. In order to know what name a company was operating under when it made a particular case one needs to know the sequence of ownership of the company and the exact date when the case was made, which unfortunately is not recorded by either the Poinçons de Maître or Swiss hallmarks.

The data on the use of Poinçon de Maître No. 2, the hammer with handle, was gathered in an attempt to understand what happened to the mark before 1934, but it also indicates when the system of Poinçons de Maître was introduced in the mid 1920s. It would be interesting to extend this to the other Poinçons de Maître, so if you have a watch case with any Poinçon de Maître that can be positively dated, through British hallmarks or any other means, to 1925 or earlier, please let me know.

Poinçons de Maître on Precious Metal

A requirement to strike a Poinçon de Maître (PdM) on watch cases made of precious metal in order to provide traceability back to the maker was introduced in Switzerland in the mid 1920s. I don't know exactly when, and when I asked the Swiss Central Office of Precious Metal Control, they didn't know either. However, I discovered that before the system was centralised in 1934 it was administered locally in the individual Swiss cantons. When it was centralised in 1934 it appears that the previous cantonal records were not centralised. They might still exist in some dusty cantonal archives.

I have seen a nine carat gold watch case with London import hallmarks for 1924 to 1925 which does not have a Poinçon de Maître, and a number of gold cases that were hallmarked in London and Glasgow in 1925 or 1926 which do have Swiss Poinçons de Maître. This suggests that the PdM system for watch cases made of precious metal must have begun around 1925.

There are gaps in the 1934 list, most of them probably due to the registered company going out of business between the origin of the systems and the centralisation in 1934. Some of these gaps are quite large, for instance the list of Poinçons de Maître No. 1, the hammer head, contains only three numbers below 100, numbers 2, 11 and 26. This implies that the other 97 of the first 100 registrants had ceased trading by 1934.

The collective responsibility mark of Poinçons de Maître No. 2, the hammer with handle, is even more mysterious. In the 1934 list there are only two entries, 115 and 160. The highest number that has been reported to me with a hammer with handle mark is 321. This implies that perhaps 319 companies on the original list had ceased trading by 1934. I don't think that was actually what happened, I think there was a reorganisation of the system that left the hammer with handle mark redundant and unused.

Observations of a Poinçon de Maître hammer head with a number known to have been registered to C.R. Spillmann SA, and the same registration number on a hammer with handle on cases made by Spillmann for Rolex, gives a clue about what happened to the hammer with handle mark; it was phased out after 1926 and the hammer head took over. These observations are discussed in the section at PdM 2 No. 136: C.R. Spillmann SA.

Poinçons de Maître on Gold Plated Items


Bréguet-Bréting Advertisement with PdM : April 1922

La Fédération Horlogère Suisse, 5 May 1926.

Poinçons de Maître were also required for gold plated watch cases and other gold plated items, which had to meet certain requirements concerning the thickness and durability of the gold plate.

The extract from La Fédération Horlogère Suisse from May 1926 shown here describes how Poinçons de Maître are registered (déposé) at the bureau de contrôle (assay office) of the canton or arrondissement where the manufacturer is located. The extract also says that the bureau de contrôle is responsible for the guarantee marks that are struck on the work that show the “dureé du plaqué” i.e. the duration or expected lifetime of plating. This is for gold filled or gold plated cases.

The earliest mention of a Poinçon de Maître on plated cases that I have seen to date is in the advert by Bréguet-Bréting from April 1922. The round topped shield containing the letters "J.B.B" is clearly identified as a Poinçon de Maître. The use of a Poinçon de Maître on gold plated cases ties in with the statement in the 1926 notice above about the mark guaranteeing the duration of the plating.

The 1934 Precious Metals Act

The Swiss Federal Law on the Control of Trade in Precious Metals and Precious Metal Works that was decreed on 20 June 1933 came into force on 1 July 1934 required that all case maker's Poinçons de Maître were filed with the Central Bureau for the Control of Precious Metals in Bern, pursuant to Article 59 of the Act.

The collective responsibility marks shown in the section and tables below were registered by the Fédération Suisse des Associations de Fabricants de Boîtes de Montres (Swiss Federation of Associations of Watch Cases Producers, or F.B. for short). The Federation changed its name in 1966 to called Union Suisse des Fabricants de Boites de Montre (USFB) (Swiss Union of Watch Cases Manufacturers). Later this was changed to the Union Suisse pour l'Habillage de la Montre (USH) (Swiss Union for Watch Casing). In 2006 it took the name USH-APIC, Union Suisse pour l'Habillage de la Montre et Association Patronale Suisse des Industries Microtechniques (Swiss Union for Watch Casing and Employers' Association of Industries Microtechnologies) and is now known as "apiah" (Association patronale des industries de l'Arc-horloger). It is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Responsibility Marks

The system of Poinçons de Maître used used on precious metal cases had different pictographic symbols to represent the different case making regions of Switzerland, principally Geneva and the Neuchâtel and Jura regions. The marks are called “collective responsibility” marks because each one was used by more than one member of the association. However, so that the individual members could be identified, each was allocated a registration number which they stamped as part of the the mark. This gave traceability back to the specific manufacturer of a watch case as required by law.

These responsibility marks are shown in the table below. They are usually very small and quite difficult to see, and are mainly seen on gold, platinum or palladium cases., although they do very occasionally turn up one silver cases, which No.3 and No. 4 were specifically intended for. Responsibility marks were not required by law on silver cases so their use was voluntary.

When stamped the XXX shown in the marks are replaced with a number that indicates the maker of the case. If you do find one in your watch case, then it is a simple matter to consult the tables of registered marks further down on this page and see who was the case maker. However, note that some company names changed over time and the one listed might not have been the name in use when a particular case was made.

When stamped the XXX shown in the marks are replaced by a number that indicates the maker.
Click on a picture of a mark, or a link in the Number or Name column, to jump to the list of registrants for each mark.

NumberNameDescription
No. 1Hammer Head, or Hammer without HandleFor gold, platinum and palladium watch cases made in Switzerland outside Geneva.
No. 2Hammer with HandleUsage not recorded: see The Hammer with Handle Mystery.
No. 3Marquee of Fédération des Fabricants de Boîtes Argent (FFBA)For silver watch cases made in Switzerland.
No. 4Arbalète or CrossbowFor silver watch cases made in Switzerland.
No. 5Key of GenevaFor gold, platinum and palladium watch cases of thickness 0.3mm or greater made in Geneva.
No. 6ShieldFor gold, platinum and palladium watch cases of thickness less than 0.3mm made in Geneva.

The system and numbering pre-dates 1934, but the 1934 list is the only one we have available today and it has gaps in it, which must be because the original registrant no longer existed when the 1934 list was compiled. So it is possible to find these Collective Responsibility marks in watch cases that are earlier than 1934, and if the registrant is in the 1934 list, all well and good, but the gaps in the 1934 list show where earlier registrants had gone out of business before the list was compiled.

Lists of the marks and registration numbers, together with the names of the watch case makers who the marks were registered to, can be found further down on this page. You can click on the picture of the mark or the live links in the table above to jump straight to the part of the list that you want to see.

Missing Numbers

In addition to the large number of numbers missing from PdM number 2, the hammer with handle which I discuss in the "hammer with handle" mystery below, each of the lists has some numbers missing. If you have or see a watch case with one of the missing numbers, please let me know via my Contact Me page.

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The "Hammer With Handle" Mystery


Hammer with Handle No. 180: Click to Enlarge.

The hammer with handle mark is rather interesting because there are only two numbers listed in the 1934 list, No. 115 Favre & Perret SA, and No 160 Joseph Erard SA. This seems to imply that there must have been a large number of companies with this mark at one time, but that they had all stopped using this mark before 1934. It seems unlikely that such a large number of companies would have gone out of business in 10 years and therefore I suspect that they all simply stopped using the mark, but I don't know why.

An official description of the meaning and use of each of the marks that was supplied to me in 2011 by USH-APIC contains no reference to mark No. 2, the hammer with handle. Unfortunately this description is not dated.

The one thing that can be said for sure is that if your watch has a hammer with handle mark and the number on the hammer head is not either 115 or 160 then it must have been made between when the Poinçon de Maître system began, circa 1925, and 1934.

I have a Stauffer & Co. watch with the Hammer with Handle mark shown to the right. The watch case is 9 carat gold and has Glasgow import hallmarks for 1926 / 1927, further evidence that the Poinçon de Maître registration system was in use before 1934. As you can see it has a number 180 on the hammer head, but there is no record in the 1934 list of a company using this symbol with the number 180, so the maker of this case must have gone out of business between 1926 / 27 when this case was made and 1934 when the central list was compiled.

I asked USH-APIC and the Swiss Central Office for Precious Metal Control about this, but they have no records prior to 1934. If the numbers were issued consecutively starting with 1, like for the other marks, there may have been up to 180 companies, and possibly more, using the hammer with handle mark registered with the Cantonal Authorities outside Geneva in the mid 1920s when the Poinçon de Maître registration system was introduced.


Hammer with Handle No. 321, thanks to Glenn.

If you have an example of a Poinçon de Maître of the hammer with handle that is not either 115 or 160, please let me know so that I can add the "unknown" manufacturers to the list. One day this might lead to something.

A correspondent sent me details of a lady's wristwatch with an 18K 0,750 gold case with Swiss head of Helvetia carrying the hammer with handle mark and the registration number 321 as shown in the second picture here.

The watch movement is marked Dueber Hampden Watch co, Swiss 2 Adj. 15 Jewel, believed to be manufactured by the Venus Watch Co. of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, dating approximately to the 1920s.

The registration number 321 is is far higher than any previous registration number that I had seen. I now think it is more likely that a decision was taken some time in the 1920s or early 1930s to stop using the hammer with handle mark, rather than the unlikely scenario of over 300 separate case manufacturers all going out of business in the space of a few years.

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Poinçon de Maître No.1 : Hammer Head

Where the date of Enregistrement is 21.07.1934, which a lot of them are, this refers to the date when the cantonal records were centralised at the Central Bureau for the Control of Precious Metals in Bern. It is not the date at which the mark was first used. The system of Poinçons de Maître was introduced in the mid 1920s and a mark recorded as Enregistrement 21.07.1934 could have been used from the very start.

Where a number is missing from the table, the registrant of that number must have gone out of business some time after the system was first used at cantonal level and before the data was centralised in 1934. At the moment we have no way to know who that company was.

Where the date of "Radiation" or striking off is blank, the company was still in existence when this data was compiled in September 2007.

"Marteau sans manche" : Hammer without handle, or hammer head. For gold and platinum watch cases made in Switzerland outside Geneva.

Why do some of the companies have addresses in Geneva? Probably that was their headquarters, and they also had a factory outside Geneva.

No.Nom de l'utilisateur LieuEnregistrementRadiation
2F. Baumgartner SA Genève21.07.193405.11.1958
11Manufacture Taubert Genève21.07.193405.11.1958
26Ponti, Gennari & Cie Genève21.07.193405.11.1958
100Union Suisse pour l’Habillage de la Montre (USH) Biel/Bienne 411.07.1969
101Junod Frères & Cie La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193412.09.1935
102Amez-Droz & Cie., Boîtes de montres Zéma Tramelan21.07.193431.08.1966
103Pro-Boîtes SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193407.02.1995
104Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193428.02.2000
105Les Fils de Jules Blum La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193416.05.1974
106Louis Wursten fils La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1941
107Mme H. Cattin, Successeur de François Cattin La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193413.03.1952
108Jacques Beiner / Roger Parel SA St-Imier21.07.193405.01.1984
109Oréade, Manufacture de Boîtes SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
112G. & C. Ducommun SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1940
115Manufacture Favre & Perret SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
116Flückiger & Cie La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193413.03.1952
117Guillod Gunther SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
119Gindraux SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193430.08.1972
121Guillod Gunther SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
122Oreade, Manufacture de boîtes SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
123Pfenniger & Cie SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.06.1980
124Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193430.04.1993
126Orac SA, Andre Brauchi Yvonand21.07.1934
127G. Balet SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193409.09.1992
128Jung & Cie La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193429.01.1966
129JSG SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
130Junod & Fils La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1941
132Eric Monnier La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193410.03.1992
135Orixa SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1940
136C.R. Spillmann SA Chêne-Bourg21.07.193405.04.1988
137Paul Voumard La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1941
140B. et C. Dubois Le Locle21.07.193409.12.1947
141Gabus Frères, Oracier SA Le Locle21.07.193426.06.1960
142Envers SA Le Locle21.07.193420.01.1939
143Classicor SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193410.03.1992
147Charles Kohli Tramalan21.07.193415.01.1957
148Vuilliomenet & Cie SA Biel/Bienne21.07.193401.01.1943
149Wyss & Cie Biel/Bienne21.07.193418.01.1975
150Ernst Böhlen Grenchen21.07.193415.01.1957
151Hermann Heggendom AG Grenchen21.07.1934
152Jean Curty SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.01.1984
156Helbein Frères & Co. Genève21.07.193421.12.1935
158Jean Arnoux Le Noirmont21.07.1934
161Joseph Erard SA Le Noirmont21.07.1934
163BGM Miserez SA Saignelégier21.07.1934
166Henri Jeanneret Peseux21.07.193415.01.1957
167Carnal & Cie. SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193431.12.1976
168A. Bähler & fils Fleurier21.07.193417.09.1936
170Cédex, Charles Dubois SA Le Locle25.11.194716.06.1982
171Bernard Dubois SA Le Locle25.11.194720.01.1987
172Novelor, Jean-Pierre Dubois La Chaux-de-Fonds25.11.194705.08.1987
173Pierre-Antoine Nardin & Cie. Le Locle25.11.194717.08.1978
174Boîtes de montres Huguenin SA Le Locle25.06.195814.10.1977
175Max Fuchs SA Genève01.09.196102.10.1973
176Bielna SA Biel/Bienne23.02.196209.09.1992
177Gerard Queloz SA Saignelégier01.03.196229.01.1966
178Pernador SA St-Imier13.04.196218.12.1969
179La Centrale Biel/Bienne26.03.196215.02.1978
180U. Paratte fils Le Noirmont08.06.196216.05.1970
181Fabrique de boîtes P. Etienne SA Les Bois11.07.196201.01.1998
183Nouvelle Piquerez SA Bassecourt01.04.1963
184Schmitz & Cie Nidau01.01.193829.01.1966
201Hermann Bodemer SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.06.1980
202Bijoux Bonnet SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193403.03.1997
204Marcel Girardin La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193417.09.1936
205Georges Meroz SA Neuchâtel21.07.193431.08.1976
206Varac SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193418.06.1981
207A. J. Niestlé Peseux21.07.193416.05.1974
210Rubattel & Weyermann SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
211Spichiger, Hoffmann & Cie La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193401.01.1941
212Marcel Etienne Le Locle21.07.193412.06.1952
213René Fer SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.11.1996
214Montadon & Cie Le Locle21.07.193401.01.1967
215G. Schwab La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193421.03.1938
217Jean Lampert La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193417.06.1963
218J. Beiner, successeur de Gianoli La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193405.01.1984
219Soguel & Co. La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.06.1980
220Bijouterie M.-H. Baillod La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193426.06.1980
221Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193428.02.2000
351Revor, Walter Brusa La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
352Serva SA La Chaux-de-Fonds14.07.194701.01.1960
353Stila SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
354Grandjean Sarl La Chaux-de-Fonds04.04.197310.09.2004
355Henri Viatte Delémont25.11.197729.10.1981
356Simon & Membrez SA Courtételle03.08.1978
357Calame & Cie SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
358Bernard Paratte La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.193403.03.1997
359F. de G. SA Chêne-Bourg21.07.1934
360Jaquet SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
361Bruno Affolter SA La Chaux-de-Fonds21.07.1934
362Celinor SA Le Locle21.10.198610.03.1992
363Donzé-Baume SA La Chaux-de-Fonds15.09.1987
364Manufacture Ruedin SA Bassecourt15.10.1987
365Louis Lang SA Porrentruy26.10.1989
366EMG Micromecanique SA La Chaux-de-Fonds04.07.1990
367Valentini SA Bassecourt23.11.199010.09.2004
368Habra SA Biel/Bienne14.05.199115.10.1993
369Jean Paratte Sarl Saignelégier03.05.1991
370AS Line SA St-Imier17.07.1991
371Froidevaux frères Müntschemier11.07.1992
372Miguel Gil La Chaux-de-Fonds26.10.1993
373Manufacture de boîtes de montres MRP SA / M.R.P. SA Alle17.06.1993
374Jean-Pierre Hadorn Biel/Bienne24.01.199410.09.2004
375Boitor SA / Boîtor SA / Boîte Or Chiasso SA Chiasso25.02.199427.03.1996
376Neuenschwander Composants Horologers SA La Chaux-de-Fonds18.01.1994
377Paul Wyss SA Courtételle23.04.199910.09.2004
378Queloz SA Saignelégier16.09.2003
400Centre-Boîtes SA Biel/Bienne01.01.197015.05.1975

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Poinçon de Maître No. 2: Hammer With Handle

The “hammer with handle” mark is rather interesting because there are only two numbers listed in the 1934 list, 115 and 160. This is discussed in greater detail in the section The Hammer With Handle Mystery at the head of this page.

People have been kindly sending me sightings of hammer with handle marks so now we have quite a large database of marks, but still very little idea about who the registrants were. Where a number is missing from the table the registrant of that number must have stopped using the mark before the data was centralised in 1934.

The first glimmer of light is that a hammer with handle mark No. 136 has been seen in a Rolex Oyster with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1927 to 1928. This is interesting because my research has shown that these early Oyster cases were all made by the company C.R. Spillmann SA, who also had an mark in the hammer without handle list with the same number, 136.

Does this mean that if you have a watch case with an unidentified hammer with handle mark you can simply look up the registrant in the hammer head list? Unfortunately perhaps not. Although Manufacture Favre & Perret SA appears in both lists with registration number 115, Joseph Erard SA, the second of the only two numbers listed in the 1934 hammer with handle list with registration number 160, is listed in the hammer head list with registration number 161, so it appears that there might not be a direct read across. However, number 160 is missing from the hammer head list, so this does not entirely rule out the possibility of read across.

If you have an example of a Poinçon de Maître of the hammer with handle that is not either 115 or 160, please let me know so that I can add it to the list.

Dating a Hammer with Handle

A watch case with a “hammer with handle” mark that is not either 115 or 160 must have been made between the date when the Poinçon de Maître system began, circa 1925, and 1934.

Hammer with Handle or "Marteau avec manche".

Usage not recorded – see The "Hammer With Handle" Mystery.

No.

Nom de l'utilisateur (Name of the User)

Lieu

Enregistrement

Radiation

102

Seen in a gold watch case with the trademark AK incuse within an incuse rectangular shield.

103

9ct gold cushion case wristwatch around 1930 movement stamped PLUTO, possibly Leon Breitling.

105

Seen in a lady's gold watch by Mido. Also in the 18 carat gold case of a Harwood self winding watch marketed in Barcelona by Blancpain in 1932 as per image here, thanks to Colin J.

The second image shows a trademark AD with pharaoh's head that is not listed in any of my references, but Alcide Droz & Fils (West End Watch Co.) registered a trademark "Nile Watch" beneath a pharaoh's head in 1893 so it seems quite likely that this trademark with the initials AD was also entered by Alcide Droz & Fils. If you know for sure one way or the other, please let me know.

106

Seen in an Alpina Valjoux 13 for German market and another watch (inset) advertised on eBay as per image here, thanks to George.

109

Seen in a lady's wristwatch by Cyma with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 9 carat gold 1927/28 sponsor's mark JC with also Schwob Freres mark.

110

Seen in the 18 carat gold case of a lady's watch with Swiss head of Helvetia hallmark. The watch was bought in the early 80's at a gold consignation in communist Romania. Unfortunately dial, case and movement are otherwise unmarked.

111

Seen in a lady's wristwatch with Tavannes movement and Edinburgh Assay Office import hallmarks for 9 carat gold 1925 to 1926 sponsor's mark SFC for Schwob Freres.

112

Seen in a Gruen gold watch case with Swiss 14k hallmark and the German crown mark from circa 1932. The Swiss hallmark shows 0,585 fineness with two squirrels, one large one small, which indicates the slightly higher 14 carat fineness for counties where this was the minimum legal requirement.

Also seen in a case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1933/34 and the sponsor's mark GN for George Nicolet of Stauffer, Son and Co. A late use of this mark.

114

Seen in a lady's gold-cased wristwatch marked Dublin import 1927 9 carat gold with Stockwell & Co. sponsor's mark.

115

Manufacture Favre & Perret SA; the first of the only two numbers in the 1934 list for this mark. Interestingly, the company had the same registration number for a hammer without handle in the 1934 list.

Le Crêt-du-Locle

21.07.1934

22.06.1966

116

Seen in the 18 carat gold case of an Eterna watch.

117

Seen in an 18 carat gold case marked Baume & Mercier, and also Normana Chronograph with Valjoux 22 15''' movement.

119

Seen in an 18 carat gold case of a jump hour watch, the mechanism bears a mark of a shield with TR, registered by A. Schild in 1927.

120

Seen in a pocket watch case with Swiss hallmarks for 14 carat gold and the German sun and imperial crown mark.

121

Seen in ladies' 9 carat gold watch case with London import hallmarks for 1927/28, sponsor's mark DBS for Dimier Brothers.

122

Seen in a pocket watch with a Marvin movement.

123


Harwood Watch Case: Click image to enlarge.

PdM 2 No. 123 has been seen in the 9 carat gold case of a Harwood self winding watch.

The watch case has London Assay Office import hallmarks for 9 carat (·375) gold and the Black Letter font date letter “n” of 1928 to 1929. Note that the hallmark has been struck upside down to the sponsor's mark and serial number. The number that looks like a 6 as part of the fineness mark is actually a 9 and the symbol of Leo is the right way up, which is not how it was struck by the London Assay Office at the time; see Leo Upside Down for more about this.

The sponsor's mark "GS" in cameo within a rectangular surround with a tab at the top was entered by the carriers Stockwell & Company who acted as assay agents for many Swiss watch case manufacturers. Note that Stockwell & Co. were carriers, they did not make watch cases and they were not the importer.

Thanks to Emre for the image.

124

PdM No. 2 # 124

Seen in a Rotary watch with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1929/1930, sponsor's mark SD (Sylvain Dreyfuss).

Also seen in an unidentified nine carat gold watch case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1926 to 1927 (date letter "d"), shown in the image here.

125

135

Seen in a gold watch case of a lady's watch by Doxa.

The case has the serial number 551 779.

126

Seen in a lady's watch case with Swiss hallmarks for 14 carat gold and the German sun and imperial crown mark.

130

PdM No. 2 # 130

Seen in a nine carat gold watch with Stockwell and Company's sponsor mark GS and London Assay Office import hallmarks for 1926/27.

The movement is an A. Schild calibre 168 which carries the trademark "Sunbeam 554" engraved on the barrel bridge.

132

Seen in a Swiss chronograph wristwatch with 18 carat gold case bought in Italy after World War 1.

133

Seen in a Swiss pocket watch with 14 carat 0.585 gold case.

Also seen in a 9 carat gold case of a Rolex watch with the hallmarks mandated by the Swiss 1924 Act and Rolex 20 Worlds Records, dating the case to between circa 1927 and 1933.

Also seen in the 9 carat gold case of a Vulcain Catanach's pocket watch with Swiss 1924 hallmarks shown in the image here. The circular mark above the Swiss federal cross is not part of the hallmark, it is a witness mark from the case touching a rotating part of the movement. This is common in gold cases because they were often made very thin, 0·3mm or less.

134

Seen in a watch case with the trademark MD in rectangle with convex top registered 28 July 1934 by Fils de Moise Dreyfuss, Fabrique de Montres Rotary, La Chaux-de-Fonds. It seems likely that the PdM was registered by a separate company that made the watch case.

135

135

Seen in the gold case of a trench watch with Sylvain Dreyfuss' sponsor mark SD and London Assay Office import hallmarks for 9 carat (·375) gold with the date letter "k" for 1925/26.

136

C.R. Spillmann SA

Spillmann's PdM 2 No. 136

Spillmann's PdM 1 No. 136

The hammer with handle mark with number 136 has been seen in the case of a Rolex Oyster with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for nine carat gold and the date letter "d" of 1926 to 1927. It has also been seen in the case of a lady's ROLCO wristwatch with the R.W.C.LTD sponsor's mark and Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for nine carat gold, the date letter again being the "d" of 1926 to 1927.

This is interesting because all other early Rolex Oyster cases that I have seen have PdM No.1, the hammer head, with the registration number 136 which is recorded in the 1934 lists as being C.R. Spillmann SA. One of these hammer head marks is also reproduced here, from a Rolex Oyster case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1927 to 1928.

I am sure that all the early Rolex Oyster cases were made by C.R. Spillmann SA, and it seems likely that Spillman also made the gold ROLCO case, so it appears that Spillman's registration number was the same 136 for both PdM 1, hammer head, and PdM 2, the hammer with handle.

This evidence seems to show a changeover from the hammer with handle mark, used by Spillman until 1926/27, to the hammer head mark in 1927/28. We know that by 1934 the use of the hammer with handle mark had virtually ceased, there are only two registrants listed on the 1934 hammer with handle list, and this must be a clue to what happened. It appears that the use of the hammer with handle was discontinued in favour of the hammer head, which was a smaller and more discreet mark that watch manufacturers would have preferred.

Read Across?

Does this mean that if you have a watch case with an unidentified hammer with handle mark you can simply look up the registrant in the hammer head list? Unfortunately not. Although Manufacture Favre & Perret SA appears in both lists with registration number 115, Joseph Erard SA, the second of the only two numbers listed in the 1934 hammer with handle list with registration number 160, is listed in the hammer head list with registration number 161, so it appears that there is not always a direct read across.

Other Companies

The hammer with handle mark with number 136 has also been seen in a watch case with Glasgow Assay Office import marks for nine carat gold and the date letter "d" for 1926 to 1927 and a sponsor's mark entered by Samuel Norman Burgess of London. The case was clearly made by C.R. Spillmann SA for a customer other than Rolex, so seeing Spillmann's PdM on a case does not necessarily mean that the watch has any connection to Rolex.

138

Seen in a lady's watch with 18 carat white gold case sold by Mersmann, who are still an upmarket jewellers in Lugano, Switzerland, founded in 1925. The face is Art Deco which suggests a 1920/30 date that fits in exactly with the Hammer with Handle mystery. The case also has a crown within a sun mark. This is a German mark but doesn't always mean that the watch was imported into Germany, see German Marks.

142

Seen in a gold pocket watch with London import hallmarks.

143

Seen in a chronograph wristwatch with an 18 carat gold case marked with the Swiss head of helvetia hallmark.

144

The smaller image shows the hammer with handle No. 144 mark seen in a ladies' gold wristwatch with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 9 carat gold, the date letter “f” for 1928 to 1929. The sponsors mark in the case is R&S for Rotherham & Sons, and the movement is marked “RANDS” [R AND S], a trademark of Rotherham & Sons.

The larger image shows the hammer with handle No. 144 mark in the 14 carat gold case of a watch Le Phare savonnette watch with chronograph and repetition. The fineness mark “14K / 56 / 0·585” has Swiss hallmarks for 14 carat gold for export either side of the mark; two squirrels, one large one small. The case also has the sun and imperial crown (sonne und reichskrone) mark that was struck by Swiss case makers onto gold cases that might be exported to Germany.

145

Seen in a lady's watch with Edinburgh import marks for 9 carat gold with date letter for 1927 to 1928. The sponsor's mark is AGR for Robert Pringle & Sons.

The trademark is the initials RV run together on the sloping face of a pyramid. This mark was registered by the Actua Watch Co. SA of Plainpalais, Switzerland, on 14 June 1927. Actua also used the name Nitramex SA and had addresses in Bienne (1918-1925) and Geneva from 1925 until at least 1947. It was most likely simply a trading company and not a manufacture. Unfortunately this gives us no clue to the maker of the watchcase.

158


Genex Case: Click image to enlarge.

Seen in the gold case of a lady's Genex wristwatch with the Swiss 9 carat hallmarks mandated by the Swiss 1924 Act.

The case has Glasgow Assay Office (two opposed and prone letters "F") import hallmarks for 9 carat gold, the date letter is the "f" of the hallmarking year from July 1928 to June 1929, remember that date letter punches were used over two calendar years. The sponsor's mark is the RWCLtd. of the Rolex Watch Company.

Genex is a name registered in 1920 by Hans Wilsdorf as one of many other brands that he created to sell at various price points below the top Rolex brand. The movement is engraved “Genex Prima”. This movement was made by Fontainemelon and was used in many of Rolex's cheaper brand watches, see Fontainemelon FHF30.

160

Joseph Erard SA; the second of the only two numbers in the 1934 list for this mark. The company has the hammer without handle number 161 in the 1934 list, although there is no number 160 in that list.

Noirmont

21.07.1934

01.01.1940

161

Seen in a lady's 9 carat gold watch case with Swiss Export Hallmark for gold of fineness lower than 14 carats introduced in 1924.

From 1 May 1924 an official fineness warranty character, the mark of the Swiss Federal Cross or “Eidgenössisches Kreuz”, just visible towards the top of the image, was allowed to be stamped on gold cases below 14 carat.

180

Seen in a Swiss wristwatch imported by Stauffer & Co., the nine carat gold case has Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1926 to 1927.

182

Seen in a 9 carat gold watch case with Glasgow Assay Office import hallmarks for 1928 to 1929.

The movement is marked Buren and the case has the sponsor's mark W.H.S of H Williamson Ltd. The date of 1928 or 1929 makes this one of the last Buren watches imported by Williamsons before their collapse and the takeover of the Buren agency by Rotherham & Sons.

Also seen in the 18 carat gold case of a Rolls wristwatch made by Blancpain, as shown in the second image. The case has a Swiss “Head of Helvetia" hallmark for 18 carat gold, and a French owl import mark. This shows that the case was separately tested when it was imported into France. Unfortunately neither the Swiss hallmark or the French import hallmark carry any date information.

The trademark below the serial number looks like “SWC”, but I have not been able to identify who registered this mark.

The Blancpain Rolls was a self winding (automatic) watch designed by Blancpain and the French watchmaker Léon Hatot. The movement was placed inside a carriage which could slide from end to end inside the rectangular case. A system of levers and gears used this movement to wind the mainspring. By using the whole mass of the movement, the mechanism could be used in watches that were too small to work with a pivoting mass that was separate from the movement such as the Harwood.

201

Seen in a lady's 18 carat gold watch case with Swiss head of Helvetia.

202

Seen in a lady's 18 carat art gold art-deco watch case with Swiss head of Helvetia.

203

Seen twice in ladies' 18 carat 0·750 gold watch cases with Swiss head of Helvetia hallmark. Thanks to Vanessa for the image here.

205

Seen in a lady's watch case with Swiss head of Helvetia hallmark and 18 carat mark, containing a movement by Tavannes. Thanks to Jay for the image.

311

Seen in a Borgel screw watch case with Glasgow Assay Office 18 carat hallmarks for 1931 to 1932, containing a movement by Tavannes.

This case was made after the Borgel company had been taken over in 1924 by the Taubert family, which makes the registration number 311 interesting compared to the registration numbers of Manufacture Taubert for PdM 1 and PdM 5, both of which were No. 11.

321

Seen in a lady's 18K 0,750 watch case with Swiss head of Helvetia hallmark. The case is in the “art deco” style. Thanks to Glenn for the image.

This is a remarkably high number, a long way from the main sequence. Since I started this exercise numbers between 100 and the low 200s have been reported so that there is now a reasonable sequence of these with no obvious bunching or very large gaps, but then this one jumps nearly 120 places. I don't know why.

The movement is marked "Dueber Hampden Watch Co, Swiss", with two adjustments and 15 jewels. The America Dueber Watch Case Company and the Hampden Watch Company moved to Canton, Ohio USA, in 1888. In 1923 they merged to become the Dueber-Hampden Watch Company. The watch here and its case were entirely made in Switzerland. It is believed to have been manufactured by the Venus Watch Co. of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in the 1920s.

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Poinçons de Maître No. 3 and 4: Marquee and Crossbow

The lists under poinçon de maître No. 3, the marquee of the Fédération des Fabricants de Boîtes Argent (FFBA), and poinçon de maître No. 4, the arbalète or crossbow are identical up to entry number 48. Numbers 49 and 50 appear to have been "recycled", I have noted this on the list below. Other than this the two lists are identical so I have made one combined version here. The crossbow list stops at 50 with the exception of number 67 Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds, which is the same in both lists.

Where the date of Enregistrement is 02.08.1934, which a lot of them are, this refers to the date when the cantonal records were centralised at the Central Bureau for the Control of Precious Metals in Bern. It is not the date at which the mark was first used. The system of Poinçons de Maître was introduced in the mid 1920s and a mark recorded as Enregistrement 21.07.1934 could have been used from the very start.

Where a number is missing from the table, the registrant of that number must have gone out of business some time after the system was first used at cantonal level and before the data was centralised in 1934. At the moment we have no way to know who that company was.

Where the date of "Radiation" or striking off is blank, the company was still in existence when this data was compiled in September 2007.

PdM 3: FFBA Marquee and PdM 4, Arbalète or Crossbow with Laurel Leaves.

Both marks used by Fédération de Fabricants de Boîtes Argent (FFBA) (federation of silver case makers), later Fédération Suisse des associations de Fabricants de boîtes de montre (FB) then Union Suisse des fabricants de boîtes de montre (USFB).

Only for silver watch cases made in the Swiss cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura.

No.Nom de l'utilisateurLieuEnregistrementRadiation
1S. Graber SA Renan BE 02.08.193426.06.1980
2Bielna SA Biel/Bienne 02.08.193409.09.1992
3A. Bréguet SA Biel/Bienne 02.08.193401.01.1945
4La Centrale Biel/Bienne 02.08.193415.02.1978
5Heng & Bühlmann Biel/Bienne 02.08.193409.12.1935
6Nobs & Hermann Biel/Bienne 02.08.193404.05.1973
7A. Maeder-Leschot Biel/Bienne 02.08.193410.03.1948
8Meyer &Wetzel Biel/Bienne 02.08.193421.07.1962
10Schmitz &Cie Nidau 02.08.193406.10.1972
12Averos SA Boécourt 02.08.193413.11.2001
13Fabrique de boîtes Tramelan SA Tramelan 02.08.193406.10.1972
14H. Finger AG Lengnau BE 02.08.1934
15Girard Frères Grenchen 02.08.193405.05.1961
16Heuri Frères Welschenrohr 02.08.193409.12.1935
18Schmitz frères & Cie. SA Grenchen 02.08.193401.01.1973
19Ducommun &Cie La Chaux-de-Fonds 02.08.193406.03.1936
20Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds 02.08.193430.04.1993
22Nobilia SA Porrentruy 02.08.193402.04.1969
23Pauli Frères Villeret 02.08.193419.10.1968
24BGM Miserez SA Saignelégier 02.08.1934
25Gerber Frères SA Delémont 02.08.193409.12.1935
26Louis Lang SA Porrentruy 02.08.1934
27Lüthy Frères Delémont 02.08.193402.12.1960
28Varrin &Cie Fontenais 02.08.193427.08.1959
30G. Hamel successeurs &Cie Noiraigue 02.08.193421.07.1962
31Fabrique de boîtes P. Etienne SA Les Bois 02.08.193401.01.1998
33Crevoisier &Cie Fornet-Dessus 02.08.193421.12.1935
34Donzé-Baume SA Les Breuleux 02.08.1934
36Joseph Erard SA Le Noirmont 02.08.193403.12.1936
37Léon Frossard Les Pommerats 02.08.193401.08.1944
38G &E Bouille SA Neuchâtel 02.08.193427.06.1975
39Jeangros Frères &Cie Montfaucon 02.08.193402.04.1969
40Albin Jobin Saignelégier 02.08.193401.01.1940
41BGM Miserez SA Saignelégier 02.08.193415.10.1970
42Manufacture Mirval SA Saignelégier 02.08.193415.10.1970
43Jean Paratte SARL Saignelégier 02.08.1934
44Prétat SA Cornol 02.08.1934
45Voisard SA Les Pommerats 02.08.193428.03.1983
46Boîtes de montres Huguenin SA Le Locle 02.08.193414.10.1977
47Eric Monnier La Chaux-de-Fonds 23.04.197010.03.1992
48Oréade, Manufacture de boîtes SA La Chaux-de-Fonds 23.04.1970
49(Marquee) Pfenniger &Cie. SA La Chaux-de-Fonds 02.08.193426.06.1980
49(Crossbow) Helbein Frères &Co. Genève 02.08.193421.12.1935
50(Marquee) Joseph Erard SA Le Noirmont 23.04.1970
50(Crossbow) Federation des fabricants de boites argent (FFBA) Le Noirmont 10.08.193729.04.1966
51Artisanor SA Carouge GE 01.01.197228.03.1983
52Orac SA, André Bräuchi Yvonand 31.10.1973
53Cédex, Charles Dubois SA Le Locle 14.02.197416.06.1982
54Revor, Walter Brusa La Chaux-de-Fonds 14.02.1974
55Classicor SA La Chaux-de-Fonds 14.02.197410.03.1992
56Stila SA La Chaux-de-Fonds 14.02.1974
57Edmor SA La Chaux-de-Fonds 14.02.197428.03.1983
58Gabus Frères, Oracier SA Le Locle 14.02.197426.06.1980
59A. & J.-L Glauser/Diamantor Montmollin 14.02.197428.03.1983
60Union Suisse pour l’Habillage de la Montre (USH) Biel / Bienne 21.03.1970
61Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds 14.02.197428.02.2000
62Max Fuchs SA Genève 05.05.197218.06.1981
63Henri Viatte Delémont 25.11.197729.10.1981
64Bernard Paratte La Chaux-de-Fonds 28.12.197803.03.1997
65Froidevaux frères Müntschemier 08.03.1991
66Habra SA Biel / Bienne 14.05.199115.10.1993
67Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds 22.07.199128.02.2000
68Paul Wyss SA Courtételle 23.04.199910.09.2004

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Poinçon de Maître No. 5: Key of Geneva

Where the date of Enregistrement is 12.09.1934, which a lot of them are, this refers to the date when the cantonal records were centralised at the Central Bureau for the Control of Precious Metals in Bern. It is not the date at which the mark was first used. The system of Poinçons de Maître was introduced in the mid 1920s and a mark recorded as Enregistrement 21.07.1934 could have been used from the very start.

Where a number is missing from the table, the registrant of that number must have gone out of business some time after the system was first used at cantonal level and before the data was centralised in 1934. At the moment we have no way to know who that company was.

Where the date of "Radiation" or striking off is blank, the company was still in existence when this data was compiled in September 2007.

PdM 5, key of Geneva.

For gold and platinum watch cases minimum thickness 0.3mm made in Geneva.

No.Nom de l'utilisateurLieuEnregistrementRadiation
1Ed. Wenger SA Genève12.09.193407.04.1992
2F. Baumgartner SA Genève12.09.193404.05.1973
3

This mark is not on the list that I got from the Swiss authorities, which is supposed to show all marks in use between 1934 and 2007, although the watch is thought to date circa 1950. The image shows an 18 carat gold case of a Jaeger-leCoultre wristwatch with a Cal. 480 movement. The horizontal rectangular mark with a slash through it and 4/10 numbers below refers to the case thickness 0.4mm, which is thicker than the minimum of 0.3mm allowed under this mark. Thanks to Conrad for the image.

4Antoine Gerlach SA Genève12.09.193429.08.1977
5Genevor SA Meyrin12.09.193415.04.1991
6François Tavernier SA Genève12.09.193421.07.1962
7Fabior, Olivier Judas Gimel05.09.1957
8C. Markowski Genève12.09.193417.06.1963
9Emile Vichet SA Genève12.09.193402.12.1960
10Union Suisse pour l’Habillage de la Montre (USH) Biel/Bienne12.09.1934
11Manufacture Taubert Genève12.09.193416.05.1974
12Genex SA Chêne-Bourg12.09.193419.12.1985
13Humbert-Droz &Fortner Genève12.09.193417.08.1937
14J. + E Bonard &Cie. Genève12.09.1934
15Uli Rotach Carouge GE12.09.193429.10.1975
17R. Schneider Genève12.09.193429.08.1977
18Chappuis Genève12.09.193401.01.1941
19Marc Houriet Genève12.09.193412.06.1937
20Artisanor SA Carouge GE12.09.193428.03.1983
21Ponti &Cie. SA Genève12.09.1934
22H. Maire SA Genève12.09.193410.06.1954
23Eggly &Cie Genève12.09.193422.03.1990
24Sogno SA Genève12.09.193425.07.1986
26Ponti, Gennari & Cie Genève12.09.193418.12.1969
27Adea Fontan Sàrl Les Acacias12.09.1934
28Patek, Philippe SA Genève 212.09.1934
29Weber &Cie. SA Genève12.09.1934
30Pellarin &Cie Genève12.09.193416.05.1974
31Albert Lassieur Genève12.09.193401.01.1940
32Gay Frères SA Genève12.09.193404.05.2000
33Jules Mégevand Genève12.09.193403.12.1936
34G. Meuwly & Fils, P. Meuwly succ. Genève12.09.193422.03.2005
35Claude + Francis Hertig Carouge GE24.06.196327.03.1996
36F. Kuhn SA Genève11.11.196327.06.1975
37R. Staffelbach Carouge GE01.01.196629.08.1977
38Max Fuchs SA Genève31.10.197324.08.1994
39Stylor SA Genève21.03.197425.07.1986
40Centre-Boîtes SA Biel/Bienne01.01.197015.05.1975
41René Chambaz Genève12.12.197429.10.1975
42F. de G. SA Chêne-Bourg31.05.1983
43Florian Favre SA Les Acacias28.02.1989
44Tournor, Charles Brandt &Fils Genève25.02.199124.08.1994
45Franck Muller Watch Land SA Genthod27.11.1991

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Poinçon de Maître No. 6: shield

Where a number is missing from the table the registrant of that number must have gone out of business before the data was centralised in 1934. At the moment we have no way to know who that company was.

Where the date of "Radiation" or striking off is blank, the company was still in existence when this data was compiled in September 2007.

PdM 6, shield.

For gold and platinum watch cases thickness less than 0.3mm made in Geneva.

No.Nom de l'utilisateurLieuEnregistrementRadiation
1Ed. Wenger SA Genève 01.11.1957 22.03.1990
2F. Baumgartner SA Genève 01.11.1957 04.05.1973
5Genevor SA Meyrin 01.11.1957 15.04.1991
6François Tavernier SA Genève 01.11.1957 21.07.1962
9Emile Vichet SA Genève 01.11.1957 02.12.1960
11Manufacture Taubert Genève 01.11.1957 16.05.1974
12Genex SA Chène-Bourg 01.11.1957 19.12.1985
20Artisanor SA Carouge GE 24.12.1958 28.03.1983
23Eggly & Cie Genève 17.07.1959 22.03.1990
24Sogno SA Genève 01.01.1960 25.07.1986
26Ponti, Gennari & Cie Genève 01.01.1960 18.12.1969
29Weber & Cie SA Genève 03.06.1958
36F. Kuhn SA Genève 01.09.1963 27.06.1975

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