M. I. Tobias was a well known watchmaker who made mid to high grade watches (mostly fusees) in the early to mid 1800's. At some point around the mid 1800's, however, watches such as this one started showing up with Swiss movements, Swiss cases, and with the name "M. J. Tobias" on the dust covers instead of "M. I. Tobias". Many, if not all, of these were made for export, and the general consensus among experts is that these are basically "Swiss fakes" that used the name "Tobias" as a marketing ploy. There is such a wide variety of quality and workmanship of watches so marked that it is clear that many different companies were involved. Although all the M.J. Tobias watches I have seen used standard Swiss ebauches, a number of them at least came with solid (albeit thin) gold cases, gold dials, lever escapements, and a fair amount of jewels. Others, however, were really bottom of the barrel and had silver or base metal cases, plain enamel dials, cylinder escapements, and as little as 6 jewels. The engravings found on the cases and dials of these watches also vary widely from the very crude to the wonderfully ornate.

This particular watch dates to the mid to late 1800's, as evidenced by the straight barrel bridge on the Swiss ebauche movement, and is pretty middle of the road as far as M.J. Tobias watches go. It is key wind and key set, and has a cylinder escapement. The dust cover is marked "4 holes jewelled," which means the movement might have as many as 8 jewels in total. The case measures approximately 45mm in diameter and, although not hallmarked, is solid 18-karat gold. The gilt dial has a wonderful engraving of a village scene, as does the back of the case.

Note: This watch is in need of a cleaning and perhaps more, and is currently "in the shop".

Dust Cover

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