• Master
    7 Sep 2014, 9:57 p.m.

    Amongst collectors of IWC pocket watches and those in the know, there is a
    general consensus that one of the most appealing vintage movements
    manufactured by IWC, are the legendary Cal. 77.

    Some years ago and as a complete novice in the wonderful world of IWC vintage
    collecting - I embarked on a mission to secure for myself a nice example of a
    Cal. 77 pocket watch, to add to my collection. This was easier said than done.
    Soon I found myself becoming very frustrated as whilst I was able to find
    sporadically some very nice and elaborate pocket watches, somehow they all
    appeared to be located in the USA, meaning I would have high import taxes to
    Europe and for some reason were all marriages - meaning someone, somewhere had
    re-cased those genuine IWC movements in a non IWC cases. At the time this then
    meant to me that the specific watch then, effectively had little collector's
    value - after all it was no longer a "genuine IWC".

    The First Twin
    One day an uncased Cal. 77 movement in relatively good condition turned up -
    albeit with what I then thought to be a real botch job of a dial replacement
    (and missing one hand).

    The movement side was more pleasing to the eye and I secured this uncased
    movement. I figured since it was in the USA, that I might as well leave it in
    the USA at my watchmaker in Pennsylvania so that he could service it. So I had
    it shipped to him.

    Here 's the movement, with serial # 726380 which would date it to about 1919

    And there it stayed in the USA, awaiting my instructions.

    In the interim I continued my search for a complete and genuine IWC Cal. 77
    based pocket watch. However, these were simply not popping up in the market!

    What gives here? Clearly, more research and understanding was needed on my
    part. Soon, thanks to this forum and knowledge share by the "Group of Wise
    Men" (our own vintage experts) I learnt much.

    I learnt why they were all in the USA, as I found that MF wrote: " ….almost
    all Cal. 77 watches have Cresarrow cases, and were cased in the U.S. rather
    than the factory as in this example, Back then, IWC didn 't make cases --the
    watch industry was a cottage one, with many suppliers.
    " However, I also
    learnt that there were a few Cal. 77's cased in genuine IWC cases.

    So I changed the mission. Let's try and find an IWC case for the movement I
    have. I had already noted on MF's site, that the IWC was cased in a 19 ligne
    size case where, the Cal. 77 is 17 ligne movement. It took a long time - but
    this hobby is all about time, and Bingo !!!!! finaly I managed to secure a
    suitable IWC case which hopefully would meet with MF and other collectors
    approval, as it met the criteria of having a fanciful case decoration. In
    fact, it's handsomely engraved, and similar to MF's own sample of an IWC cased
    Cal. 77.
    I knew it was right, as MF had written, quote; " ...if you see an IWC pocket
    watch with intricate case engravings you might be able to make a bet as to its
    decade and its movement. Sometimes the dials, too, use fanciful Art Deco style
    numerals -another clue
    ". Also most important of all this case would fit for
    sure, as it had the setting ring to mount the 17 ligne movement in the 19
    ligne case.

    (serial number removed for obvious reasons).

    Thanks to the one of our esteemed forum members who was stopping by in
    Amsterdam for a GTG recently, I was able to get my movement safely here and so
    a few weeks ago with the movement in hand I went off to the watchmaker to ask
    him to service the movement and to see if one of my spare IWC enamel dials
    would fit the movement/large case (I was confident I had a dial that fitted).
    Standing at my jeweler's workbench, I hand him the movement and ask him to
    remove the hand and non IWC dial. He looks up to me and says " you sure this
    is a Cal. 77

    I respond yes. After all, I've used the Date Your IWC utility, and it listed
    the movement as follows: The movement is a Lepine calibre 77, dating from
    year 1919.

    He says " … … so how come all the Cal. 77 's I know as well as all the
    you brought along here have a seconds sub dial at 6…. and this movement does
    not have a seconds hand?

    What the heck? Good question - I'm perplexed! OK, so someone had removed the
    seconds pinion and mounted this rather poor redial plate (no legs) over the
    movement - right? But then my watchmaker and I stand there and look at the now
    removed dial, and it's silver, and it's pressed - meaning it snaps on over the
    movement and has no dial legs, as is typical with most IWC pocket watch dials.
    We also look for the mounting holes where the dial legs (3x) would be in the
    base plate. The holes are there - however all the holes miss the dial leg
    clamp spring! Part #7399 (see below).

    Clearly, this movement was modified specifically to allow for this specific

    Luckily, the movement, fits perfectly in the IWC case using the existing
    mounting ring, and so all I need to do according to my watchmaker is find a
    replacement winding stem, as he says the one on the movement is broken off.
    When he shows me where it's broken off, I say I had not noticed it before and
    he says that's because the dial was turned 180 degrees on the movement, and
    that the crown was at the 6 position!

    Took a week or two, but I managed to find a replacement winding stem via eBay.
    That was the "easy" part - but now I still needed to find a dial. Come to
    think of it, I don't really recall seeing any vintage IWC Cal. 77 enamel dials
    without a sub seconds dial.

    Let me look at the original dial again. I'm thinking I might need to have one
    made up from scratch.

    Here's the original silver snap on non IWC dial .

    So I start looking to see what an original 19 ligne IWC dial with no seconds
    sub dial might look like and do so at the best place on the web to look for
    IWC information. This very forum. Unbelievable but true - look what I found -
    this 11 year old post from Ralph Ehrismann - Nice Case....and an other
    up-side-down pendant

    And guess what? Here (now no longer visible) was this picture of a Pendant

    A perfect match to my dial and single hand. The movement I have was most
    definitely originally cased as a pendant watch, as in the example depicted in
    Ralph's post.

    I am / was not aware of these IWC Pendant watches, and wrote off to the
    Heritage Club in Schaffhausen, to inquire as to this movement of mine. The
    reply that I received, read: " The movement was shipped to American
    wholesaler Henry Blank in New Jersey (14. May. 1920). It was the movement
    only, without the dial and case. The engravings "International Watch Co.
    Swiss - 19 Jewels, 6 Adjustments" was made in Schaffhausen

    Now, I simply needed to know more! Who was Henry Blank...that name sounds so

    The Titanic
    Indeed Mr. Henry Blank was a very well know person - in fact he was one of a
    very few that survived the sinking of the titanic. You can read all about that

    [Titanic Survivor - One of only 7 male passengers to Survive

    Here we read that Mr. Blank was a Jeweler, and that in the Spring of 1912, he
    traveled to Europe to conduct the customary dealings with watch movement
    manufacturers in Switzerland and stone dealers in Paris, Belgium and
    Amsterdam. No doubt he also visited Schaffhausen, and set up the initial
    ground work to later import IWC movements into the USA.

    Why is this important - because, thanks to work by Greg Steer we today know
    that Mr. Blanks Jewellery Business shared the same address as the later
    Cresarrow Case Company.

    The book American Jewelry Manufacturers lists the company as follows:

    • Whiteside & Blank. Newark, New Jersey JC (indicates Jeweler's circular listing) 1896 N.E. Whiteside & Co. JC 1904 & 1915 Whiteside and Blank
    • Succeeded by Henry Blank & Company (q.v.) in 1917
    • Products: jewelry Mark: C with arrow through it

    But where does the dizygotice twin come into this tale? Please see part # 2 of
    A tale of dizygotic twins, the Titanic and a brotherhood of friends for
    the answer to that.

    I will post part # 2 tomorrow...

    [Part # 2](/t/a-tale-of-dizygotic-twins-the-titanic-and-a -brotherhood-of-


  • Master
    7 Sep 2014, 11:29 p.m.

    Fantastic story. Can't wait for part 2. I was happy to have a very part, as a distribution mule, in your journey. At least I think I was the movement mule. Congratulations.

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 12:02 a.m.

    A fine story as only Mark can tell it. Can't wait for part two even though I know precisely how it all turns out!

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 12:15 a.m.

    investigative forum reporting at its finest. just love these "hunting tales". i too know how it ends and was privileged to have been there. hurry up with part 2!


  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 12:35 a.m.

    A saga only you, Mark, could come up with. And the wonderful part is, it's all true! Great read- thanks for the enjoyment.

    Until part 2,

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 9:50 a.m.

    Thank you Mark,

    for the effort, the details and the confirmation that it was worth the patience.

    Too often I let items go, due to missing patience.

    Now I am curios about part 2.



  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 9:55 a.m.

    So far I'm not impressed. :-) Perhaps when I see part # 2.

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 11:19 a.m.

    Mark, great story, looking forward to part two and learning "the rest of the story" as another great story teller used to say.


  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 11:49 a.m.

    Fantastic Mark - I'm reading this story and find myself waiting for the moment when Gandalf shows up.

    Waiting in suspense until tomorrow...

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 1:06 p.m.

    I'm excited to read Part 2...interesting account!!!

  • Master
    8 Sep 2014, 5:19 p.m.

    what a story. You did a great research. I´m impressed. Looking forward to read part II

  • Connoisseur
    8 Sep 2014, 5:51 p.m.

    Fascinating, Mark. I'll be up early tomorrow for the rest of this tale.

  • Master
    9 Sep 2014, 12:59 a.m.

    I love this story and I was privileged to have heard it from the horse's mouth last week.

  • Master
    9 Sep 2014, 7 a.m.

    Mark as we all love him! Great story and great research achievement

  • 9 Sep 2014, 7:01 a.m.

    Great find, great story. You see that every watch is a timecapsule on its own.
    Well done Mark. Love to see part 2.

  • Master
    9 Sep 2014, 11:18 a.m.

    Great reading Mark. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Time to go to part 2....

  • Master
    9 Sep 2014, 1:46 p.m.

    I like this kind of detective work, great. Go on !

  • Master
    13 Sep 2014, 6:11 p.m.

    A M A Z I N G!!!!
    Waiting for part No2.
    Thank you Mark!!!

  • Master
    15 Sep 2014, 11:54 p.m.

    Was pleasantly surprised to see IWC put my post forward as "Sunday morning read" on the IWC Facebook pages.

    Thank you IWC for the honor.

  • Master
    16 Sep 2014, 8:56 a.m.

    Well deserved. It should be Post of The Year!

  • Master
    9 Jul 2015, 9:41 p.m.

    Just bumping this because it is a great story and there maybe people who missed it that would like to read....

  • Master
    9 Jul 2015, 9:42 p.m.


  • Master
    22 May 2024, 1:57 a.m.

    What a fantastic story buried in the archives almost impossible to find. We need a search function!