DescriptionRoskopf "Bicyclists" Engraved Large Open Face Pocket Watch Circa 1900. The 1890s were called the "Golden Age of Bicycles" and the joys of that popular sport are featured on the back of this large and handsome watch, approximately 2.75" in diameter. A well-dressed young couple are riding their bicycles side by side; she is holding his arm and he has one hand on his handlebars and one hand on hers (pretty romantic, but maybe not the safest way to ride). This idyllic scene is surrounded by a rectangular border with various flowers and decorative devices against a black enameled background. The watch is marked "Gre Roskopf Patent" on the Roman-numeraled dial above a steam locomotive graphic. The two hands are very decorative as is the bezel which is black enamel with gold and silver-colored stars surrounding the crystal. A glass-covered movement is revealed when the back is opened. The condition is generally very nice with some light wear on the case. This crown-wound watch is running and features a push-button setting mechanism.
Georges-Frederic Roskopf was born in Germany in 1813 and learned watchmaking as a trade. After marrying a wealthy widow, he went into the watchmaking business setting up his own company in 1835. He sold that company in 1850 and set up another firm five years later with the dream of making a quality watch that the "working man" could actually afford. The first fruits of his labors came in 1867 with a watch that would sell for 20 Swiss francs. He presented that watch at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1868 and, surprisingly, won the Bronze Medal. His design was simple with fewer moving parts but still kept good time and would stand up to a lot of wear and tear. In France it was called Montre de proletaire or the "laborer's watch."
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