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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The well intentioned Gift.

 What would he like.

He might like a Pocket Watch

A watch like this one; made in 1857 by a George R. Frodsham, Greys In Road, London, England.

It even has a golden chain, watch fob and 2 keys.
The watch is chain driven, not spring driven as most watches are.

A key winds the pocket watch from the back.
And then, one day, the watch stopped working

We took it to the best Jewelers.  None could fix it because it is chain driven.  On our trip to Switzerland the watchmaker said that he would try.  He placed it in his vault and we went off to Egypt.  Upon our return, we picked up our watch.  He was sorry but he couldn't fix it.  Why not take it to England, he suggested.

But wait, a qualified person was found in Boston, USA.

Yes, he would try.  After all, he was an Englishman and he was a certified member of the "Jewelers Board of Trade". 

An appraisal of said pocket watch followed by said person, hereafter unnamed.  Appraisal $20,000.00  Cost to repair, $3,500.00.   Return of our watch, NOT REPAIRED $300.00. 

What would you have done?

The person received $3,500.00 from us and we received our gold pocket watch, repaired.

A year later, while on a visit to London, we stopped in at Christie's Auction House, King Street, St. James, London. 

We were ushered into a private office.  An expert in solid gold pocket watches admired our watch.  We then showed him our certified appraisal.  The expert was speechless.  Excused himself to confer with one of his colleagues.  

We were left alone in the office.  Were we going to be wealthy?
Were we going to be arrested?  

The two charming gentlemen were shaking their heads.  Shaking their heads in disbelief at the $3,500.00 repair fee.  Christie's had recently repaired the "Tower of London" clock for 80 pounds,  about $120 US dollars at the time.  

They were incredulous that a reputable Jeweler,  and one of their own countrymen had taken advantage of us.

Christie's provided us with a Letter stating: 

 "We refer to our meeting yesterday and now confirm that your watch is a gold hunter lever pocket watch with Liverpool jewelling numbered to movement and case 11927 by George R. Frodsman, Greys In Road, London." 

"We would estimate this watch to fetch 300 to 500 English Pounds in auction and hope this has been of assistance."


repost from 2010


  1. Dear Gina - someone certainly did a scam, but it is a beautiful watch, which now works, so best just to put the bad experience on one side and just enjoy it.
    My husband has a Rolex wristwatch which he received for his 21st birthday. It costs a small fortune to be serviced, so much so that he will not let me take it to the jewellers to have it done, which I actually think is a shame, as it is malingering, unused in its box.

    1. Dear Rosemary, I can see why your husband is reticent in letting his Rolex out of his sight. It is known to be the finest watch in the world and wanting to keep it away from harm is a very smart idea.
      To think that an Englishman and belonging to a guild of "Jewelers Board of trade" would take such a chance of ruining his reputation. We were going to report him but decided to let it go.

  2. What an amazing story about such a beautiful time piece Gina. Sorry you were treated so badly regarding repairs and falsehoods! I like that you are keeping it displayed in such a lovely setting - wish I had seen it when visiting, I have a thing for pocket watches. . . . .and the handsome gentlemen who wore them!!!

    1. Dear Mary,
      Initially, I bought the watch from an antiques dealer Judging by the evaluation from Christies, I paid exactly what it was appraised for. So that was good to know. The rest of its history is maligned by a Jeweler from Boston. So look out for a person from England who now lives in Boston.

  3. Such a beautiful watch! What an unscrupulous watch repairman! I'm glad it's working again for you!

  4. Dear Lorrie,
    Yes he was unscrupulous. Unfortunately the story does not end here. Not so long ago a little girl decided that the watch, in its glass dome, was too much of a temptation. While she was left alone in the room, she wound the watch to a point which made it break again.
    I'm going to wait for the next generation to fix it. Maybe they have better luck.