What Do These Inscriptions Inside My Pocket Watch Case Mean?

If you have discovered small inscriptions inside your pocket watch case, you may be wondering if they have any meaning. The short answer is yes – they certainly do have meaning, or at least they did at one time.

Watch Case Inscriptions

Hand-Inscribed Service Marks Inside a Pocket Watch Case

During the pocket watch era, it was typical for watches to be serviced on a regular basis, especially when used in railroad service. With so many watches coming in and out of the shop, most watchmakers devised a system to record service and repairs in a master ledger. The watchmaker would then inscribe a reference number on the inside of the watch case matching the ledger. Some watchmakers even derived coded references that could immediately convey service details.

Over time, many watches became marked with dozens of service inscriptions, often exhibiting multiple formats as different watchmakers serviced the watch. It was also common for a date to be inscribed alongside the service marking, providing interesting context into the history of the watch.

Unfortunately, since each watchmaker developed their own reference system, there was not a centralized standard. As a result, we may never gain insight into what each of these inscriptions meant or who marked them.

One comfort we can extract is that each service inscription is a permanent mark of pride, revealing the meticulous care that the treasured watch once received.

 

4 thoughts on “What Do These Inscriptions Inside My Pocket Watch Case Mean?

  1. INSIDE ON THE BACK OF THE WORKINGS IS “THE COMMODORE” AND THE WORD “ADJUSTED”.

    ALSO ON THE INSIDE OF THE BACK COVER IS INSCRIBED: GUARANTEED J BOGGS CO
    25 YEARS.

    CAN YOU PROVIDE ANY INSIGHT TO WHAT THESE MEAN?

    • Richard – Certainly. “The Commodore” is most likely a private label watch, manufactured by one of the large watch companies for a jeweler. “The Commodore” has been seen on Illinois 18-Size movements. IF you post an image of the movement to your account collection, I can confirm. Based on the “25 Years” stamp, your watch case is gold-filled, manufactured by the Keystone Watch Case Company.

  2. Hi, would like to speak to you but the contact form on the website is broken. How would I go about getting in touch?

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