What’s It Worth? The Height Of American Timepiece Craftsmanship

The Western Case Company was a short-lived business for a few years before it was bought by a large American watch company. They employed artisans from all walks of life including Swiss immigrants, enamelists and case makers.

This large 18K gold case features many Victorian niceties of the day, including finely enameled black laurel leaves, feeding birds in flight, genuine diamond hands, a colorful floral bouquet and a feline or lupine demonic half-human face. Keep in mind that devilish images were very commonplace during the Victorian era, and the devil was seen as whimsical and even humorous at the time by many parts of society.

We bought this piece from a Cape May, New Jersey dealer who bought it from a New Jersey retiree. The condition is extraordinary, and it weighs 83 grams — which is very heavy for a ladies’ watch. Gold value is only about $1,100, but we paid $1,350; it is for sale in our store for $1,900.

Destined to occupy a prominent spot in a private collection somewhere, it is one of the few pieces I would feel comfortable recommending as an investment (which I typically shy away from).

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser

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