Watch winder fob chain

xcopperstax

Silver Member
Sep 3, 2018
2,508
4,868
Massachusetts
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Garrett AT Max
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Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Well I found something that is really exciting for me and worth sharing. So I found this in an area where I’ve found some colonial era stuff. It wasn’t a great signal but in areas like that I dig almost everything. I thought it was a keychain at first but quickly realized that it was a chain of watch winders! I’ve only found one thing that I’m not even sure if it’s actually a watch winder but these I was sure of! I cleaned them up by soaking them in some lemon juice for a short time to expose the gilt that I could see through the dirt. These were found in Massachusetts. I believe the middle winder to be a wafer seal due to the “hobnail” pattern that looks exactly like some of those used for wafers. The other side has a cut stone or glass paste stone. The little item that’s separate is some kind of clasp that was attached to it somewhere and I’m not sure what it is. This item represents three different pocket watches being rendered useless so it was probably a big loss for somebody. I believe these could date to the 1700’s but any and all thoughts on these are welcome. I’ve also attached some pictures of some wafer seals that have that same pattern of you look at them. Thanks for looking!
 

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Upvote 20

Florida Finder

Bronze Member
Dec 17, 2020
1,520
4,327
Southern States of America
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Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Well I found something that is really exciting for me and worth sharing. So I found this in an area where I’ve found some colonial era stuff. It wasn’t a great signal but in areas like that I dig almost everything. I thought it was a keychain at first but quickly realized that it was a chain of watch winders! I’ve only found one thing that I’m not even sure if it’s actually a watch winder but these I was sure of! I cleaned them up by soaking them in some lemon juice for a short time to expose the gilt that I could see through the dirt. These were found in Massachusetts. I believe the middle winder to be a wafer seal due to the “hobnail” pattern that looks exactly like some of those used for wafers. The other side has a cut stone or glass paste stone. The little item that’s separate is some kind of clasp that was attached to it somewhere and I’m not sure what it is. This item represents three different pocket watches being rendered useless so it was probably a big loss for somebody. I believe these could date to the 1700’s but any and all thoughts on these are welcome. I’ve also attached some pictures of some wafer seals that have that same pattern of you look at them. Thanks for looking!
Now that’s a great find! Congratulations
 

Digger RJ

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Aug 24, 2017
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Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Well I found something that is really exciting for me and worth sharing. So I found this in an area where I’ve found some colonial era stuff. It wasn’t a great signal but in areas like that I dig almost everything. I thought it was a keychain at first but quickly realized that it was a chain of watch winders! I’ve only found one thing that I’m not even sure if it’s actually a watch winder but these I was sure of! I cleaned them up by soaking them in some lemon juice for a short time to expose the gilt that I could see through the dirt. These were found in Massachusetts. I believe the middle winder to be a wafer seal due to the “hobnail” pattern that looks exactly like some of those used for wafers. The other side has a cut stone or glass paste stone. The little item that’s separate is some kind of clasp that was attached to it somewhere and I’m not sure what it is. This item represents three different pocket watches being rendered useless so it was probably a big loss for somebody. I believe these could date to the 1700’s but any and all thoughts on these are welcome. I’ve also attached some pictures of some wafer seals that have that same pattern of you look at them. Thanks for looking!
Very Cool!!!! Congrats!!!!
 

CRUSADER

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May 25, 2007
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Very cool find.
Not heard of a watch winder doubling up as a seal before, not impossible, but not convinced either, as I've seen this hatched pattern on other jewelry etc..
I think it unlikely that in that period he had 3 working fob watches. Probably came from his old replacements - maybe?? Good and interesting discussion piece!
 

pepperj

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Feb 3, 2009
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Now that is a real nice recovery.
Not seeing the seal connection though, as it resembles the period pattern only.
3 different winders together is very unique.
Many years ago I was familiar with pocket watches from an in-law collecting them.
We went to meetings etc...
Can't ever recall seeing, or hearing about a pocket watch requiring multi keys to wind.
My feeling is that the person repaired watches, and it was an easy to have the 3 main standard keys available.
That or a status symbol of sorts, look at me I have 3 different time pieces.
 

jewelerguy

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Jun 28, 2011
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Oklahoma
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Of course I'm just looking at pictures, but in my opinion the chain is much more modern. Perhaps even 1960's to 1980's. Also from the pic it looks to be sized as a bracelet (?). Looks to me as if they were worn as charms, perhaps a watch collector, antique collector, or someone who frequented flea markets
 
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xcopperstax

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Sep 3, 2018
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Very cool find.
Not heard of a watch winder doubling up as a seal before, not impossible, but not convinced either, as I've seen this hatched pattern on other jewelry etc..
I think it unlikely that in that period he had 3 working fob watches. Probably came from his old replacements - maybe?? Good and interesting discussion piece!
Thanks for your thoughts Crusader! I have seen one other seal fob piece with the pattern it was definitely a seal and winder. As far as the pattern on mine I made the connection due to the similarity and it may be wishful thinking on my part. As far as someone having three working watches I guess it’s speculation. I have seen an article that it was once fashionable to wear two watches. Maybe they accumulated some watches through inheriting one or two while already owning one? Anything is possible maybe it’s three generations of watches? I’ve attached a find by a fellow Detectorist that was my inspiration for the id. And thanks again for the thoughts I definitely hold your opinions in high regard from all your posts I’ve read!
 

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xcopperstax

Silver Member
Sep 3, 2018
2,508
4,868
Massachusetts
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Now that is a real nice recovery.
Not seeing the seal connection though, as it resembles the period pattern only.
3 different winders together is very unique.
Many years ago I was familiar with pocket watches from an in-law collecting them.
We went to meetings etc...
Can't ever recall seeing, or hearing about a pocket watch requiring multi keys to wind.
My feeling is that the person repaired watches, and it was an easy to have the 3 main standard keys available.
That or a status symbol of sorts, look at me I have 3 different time pieces.
Hi Pepperj,

Thank you for the thoughts! I have attached a seal / winder /fob from a fellow Detectorist which is where I came to the conclusion that the middle piece is a seal as well. I could certainly be wrong. They owner could have been a watch maker, jeweler, or maybe this represents the family heirlooms? We’ll probably never know. And I agree I doubt it was all for one watch. That would be a complicated watch! Thanks again I really appreciate talking with people about this find!
 

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xcopperstax

Silver Member
Sep 3, 2018
2,508
4,868
Massachusetts
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Garrett AT Max
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All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
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Of course I'm just looking at pictures, but in my opinion the chain is much more modern. Perhaps even 1960's to 1980's. Also from the pic it looks to be sized as a bracelet (?). Looks to me as if they were worn as charms, perhaps a watch collector, antique collector, or someone who frequented flea markets
Greetings Jewelerguy,

Thanks for the thoughts! You could be right the chain itself is puzzling. One key to the chain part is that it has key ring type loops on it. I’m not sure when those were invented. It certainly seems like a possibility that it’s a modern chain. The chain itself was gilt or plated there’s traces of that on there. One of my speculations is that it could be something like the keys to the family heirlooms, maybe the kids took grandpas chain out into the woods and lost it… also could be a collector like you mentioned. It’s way too big to be worn as a bracelet and prob wouldn’t be comfortable as a necklace. if the chain is modern do you have any thoughts on the age of the winders themselves? And do you think the middle one with the paste / or stone set in it could double as a seal? I’ve attached a fob seal winder found by another Detectorist to show how I came up with that idea. Thanks again for looking!
 

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xcopperstax

Silver Member
Sep 3, 2018
2,508
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Massachusetts
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Of course I'm just looking at pictures, but in my opinion the chain is much more modern. Perhaps even 1960's to 1980's. Also from the pic it looks to be sized as a bracelet (?). Looks to me as if they were worn as charms, perhaps a watch collector, antique collector, or someone who frequented flea markets
Hell again Jewelerguy,

I just did some quick searching and those split rings started to be used in Georgian times but I’m not clear on how one would or could tell the difference between an old one and a newer one.
 

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