28 April 2013

From Pocket to Wrist Watch

Maybe it's eBay slowing down or maybe it's because I'm getting choosier, but I'm finding less and less of interest for my ongoing series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price. Just like for my previous post in the series -- First Chess Postcards in the World? -- I had to go under my normal cutoff of $500 to find an interesting item. At least I found two related items to discuss.

The auction for the watch pictured on the left was titled 'Mens DOXA CHESS ANTIQUE MEDAILLE D’OR MILAN 1906 SWISS AMAZING HIGH-GRADE WATCH'. It sold for US $409.64 after 16 bids.

The auction for the watch on the right was titled 'Mens DOXA CHESS ANTIQUE 1900-1910's SWISS AMAZING HIGH-GRADE WATCH'. It sold a few days after the first watch for US $406.51 after 20 bids. Both watches were offered by the same seller and both carried the same long description of 'DOXA's History':-

DOXA was founded in 1889 in the heart of one of Switzerland's major and most inventive watch making areas, the canton (district) of Neuchatel's Jura Mountains. Today DOXA brings to the industry a perspective forged over a century of often pioneering watch design.

The founder Georges Ducommun (1868-1936), the founder of DOXA, was born in Le Locle among the Jura hills of canton Neuchatel in Switzerland. He was one of 13 children of a poor family. At the age of 12, he became an apprentice in a manufacture specialised in casing-up watch movements. He started his own watch repair business when he was 20.

He worked hard to set up his business, walking the 10 kilometers to La Chaux-de Fonds to deliver his products personally, even in the depth of winter. The success of his watches enabled him to live in Chateau des Monts, today home of the world-renowned Le Locle horological museum. [...]

The descriptions of the watches were substantially different, although both started with the same two sentences:-

For your appreciation, a rare antique Swiss collectables, mechanical (with manual winding) wristwatch DOXA CHESS. This watch was altered from pocket [to] wrist watch.

The description of the watch on the left also mentioned,

[The] surface of this lid fully engraved five medals with exquisite miniature detailing in the center and inscription: MEDAILLE D’OR. MILAN 1906 - DOXA - HORS CONCOURS LIEGE - 1905.

Watches with chess themes seem to have been popular at the beginning of the 1900s. See Time Is on My Side and White Christmas on Ebay for previous examples on this blog. By coincidence, a second auction featuring a watch like the one pictured on the right closed a few days after the first. It sold for US $400 after 11 bids. Although the seller had a different name, the long description was very similar to those for the first two watches.

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