Craig Duling, an antiquarian horologist, is a former engineer that currently serves as the CEO of Heritage Management Services. Craig Duling also owns and operates Heritagepocketwatch.com, where he applied his expertise in the evaluation of antique timepieces.
When evaluating pocket watches, it is important to assess the quality of the movement as well as the condition of the dial and case. Jewels are an important watch component that help to reduce friction at movement pressure points and ensure the watch operates correctly over a long period of time.
Pocket watch jewels come in several forms, including round shaped hole and cap jewels, angled pallet jewels, and pin style impulse jewels. Jewels can be set with friction, where they are pressed into a tight hole that keeps them secured. Watches with friction set jewels are typically less expensive and lower quality. Another method to set jewels includes the use of small screws which attach to the movement plate. Screw set jewels can be flush with the plate or a raised style where the setting’s rim is slightly elevated. Watches with screw set jewels are often higher quality pieces.
Craig Duling’s love for rare antique pocket watches inspired him to create a website to share his knowledge. At HeritagePocketWatch.com, fellow collectors and interested readers can find out the history of pocket watches and accessories of all types. Craig Duling provides extensive information on luxury brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and the less-well-known, but equally stunning Vacheron Constantin.
In 1755, Jean-Marc Vacheron signed-on his first apprentice in his Geneva, Switzerland, watchmaking workshop, and a legendary company was born. That year also marked the manufacture of the earliest known of Vacheron’s extant works, a silver pocket watch.
Jean-Marc’s son Abraham continued in his father’s trade. Abraham Vacheron married the daughter of another watchmaker, and eventually went into business with his father-in-law as A. Vacheron Girod.
Jean-Marc’s grandson Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron took over in 1810 and expanded the family business considerably. Under Jacques Barthélémi’s leadership, the company began to acquire clients from Europe’s royal houses and to produce even more complex mechanical marvels, including musical timepieces. It was Jacques Barthélémi who concluded the partnership with entrepreneur François Constantin.
Vacheron Constantin has produced masterpieces such as an 1824 watch whose case shows a map of Italy done in enamel of varying shades of light and dark blue, with yellow gold traceries. The company is additionally renowned for its production of pocket chronometers, such as a fine precision piece manufactured in 1869, during the time of major European explorations of the world. The brand remains an icon today.