Candace Couse

Monday, 2 September 2013

Unexpected Finds

While I was hiking the Niagara Gorge with my sister and her partner on Saturday, I pushed for us to take a off-the-path approach to the top that panned out in absolutely no way at all. Nonetheless, it was not a total loss as I managed to fall my way to a neat little discovery.

I was pretty sure I was not looking at the remains of a watch, as it was far too big. I thought maybe it could be a small clock face of some kind. Chris suggested a pocket watch, and while I was pretty excited by the writing on the back and the exposed mechanisms, I figured it was probably not as old as it seemed.

Lucky, I was wrong, and it is in fact a super fun find. From what I have found, were it in its original state it would indeed have been a pocket watch, and look like this:

Not only is this cool, but it's also pretty old. I found out that Tacy was a short form used for the Tavannes Watch Company.  In 1891 a master watchmaker, Henri-Frédéric Sandoz, founded the Tavannes Watch Company in a small Swiss village, Tavannes, in the Jura mountains. He and his partners soon opened markets around the world, notably in Canada.

From what I can gather, this pocket watch is one hundred and eleven years old, dating from 1902. I know this from the unusual scrolling font style of the numbers, which would change shortly after this time to a more thin and straight font for a number of decades with only slight variation.
It was during this time (1902) that watches were becoming popular. Industrialization and the expansion of the railroad system made a standardized time necessary. The United Kingdom, in 1884, set its time to Greenwich Mean Time, establishing the watch business as we know it today.

Anyway, it's a super cool find and the back notes that it is an Admiral that is Gold Filled, Non-Magnetic with 4 Jewels and 2 adjusts. It's lost its gold plating in the front and its arms, but it's still surprisingly heavy and the gold gears move freely as you turn it. 

Apparently it's not uncommon for hikers to find bayonets, guns barrels, muskets, tomahawks and other artifacts of the War of 1812 while hiking the gorge. My broken pocket watch is probably not all that interesting by comparison, but I think it's pretty neat.  

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