Years ago, I purchased a watch movement. It had no case, only a mechanism complete with a dial, hands, a stem and a winding crown. This particular movement was produced by Jacques Alfred Jurgensen. J. Alfred was the youngest son of the famed Jules Jurgensen. His watches are highly regarded, sell for thousands, and in some instances -- a good deal north of $10,000. They are exquisite timepieces. I became aware of the family of watchmakers when I was in my late teens as my mentor, Adolph Amend Jr., was a fan of the watchmaking legacy of Jurgensen..
The movement I purchased was from the 1870’s, and it was a classic lady’s pendant style movement. It was built to be housed in a hunter case (covered) and likely made of 18K gold. What happened to the case is history. Likely, it was sadly scrapped for the gold content.
So for years, I pondered the idea of making a case for this movement. It was perfectly suited as it had a winding stem at the 3:00 position on the dial. The hand setting mechanism could be easily adapted to work in a wristwatch. The size was nearly perfect too! Where to find a case….. Nowhere. The case had to be made. I tried a machinist. I even tried a 3D printed case, but I was just not satisfied. Then a jeweler friend of mine wanted to give it a try. To my amazement, Richard was able to work his skills and produce a case that not only housed the movement but also offered a wonderful style and uniqueness to it in sterling silver. After some mild adjustments, the Jacques Alfred Jurgensen watch from the 1870’s, long before a watch ever was strapped to a gentleman’s wrist, is now on my wrist and keeping time while offering new life to a once stranded movement.
This may not have been one of the most fiscally responsible moves in my life, but then Richard was exceedingly fair with his price. The movement may have laid in a drawer for another 50-100 years as far as I can tell, but was something that needed to be done, despite the cost of labor. I just hope that some time down the road, this timepiece will be appreciated and cherished, not for what it is worth intrinsically, but for the fact that it was resurrected, found a beautiful sterling silver case to be housed in and was faithfully restored to a working historical timepiece once again. I trust that Jacques Alfred Jurgensen would approve.