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  1. #1

    Default Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day

    My neighborhood was given a Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer as a donation for a raffle to raise money for beautification. The donor has no information about the chronometer and I was hoping someone can help me.

    What kind of information should I include with this item and in your opinion what kind of value should we list. I understand any value give will be an estimate and the opinion of the person responding.
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  2. #2
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Qfitz)

    You have uploaded the thumbnails of your pictures rather than the full size images. You will need to upload the full size.

    You or someone also needs to unscrew the bezel over the dial and tip the movement out of the tub so you can photograph the mechanism.

    You can and should discuss the details of the chronometer here.

    What beautification project is the donation for? I would be happy to donate the $5 you need for a value subscription for any worthwhile charitable project.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Tom McIntyre)

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    Thank you for getting back to me so fast. I've uploaded new pics and 2 of the mechanism.

    Also, thank you for your offer to pay for a value subscription, but our raffle isn't for a registered charity. We are raising funds to buy plants and make repairs to the common areas in our neighborhood.

    Let me know if you need different or better pictures.

    Thank you again for any help.

  4. #4
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Qfitz)

    This is a really nice and interesting chronometer, This from the early 19th century in the early days of the detent chronometer. Morris Tobias of London was the uncle to the large group of Tobias makers in Liverpool and there is quite a bit of interest among our English members especially in their work.

    Early chronometers with engraving on the top plate are nicer to me than the later plain finished ones (spotted or scraped). This example is also unusual for the balance with the "extra" pair of weights out at the end of the expansion arms.

    The only jarring note is the appearance of the back of the dial that looks way too new to my eye. I am not sure what is going on there.

    If you look at the bottom of this thread you will find links to earlier discussions of Tobias chronometers.

    I think that several of our Tobias collectors do not regularly read this forum, so I will post a note there that this piece is available for comment and discussion.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Tom McIntyre)

    super interested in this and hope the discussion continues about the rarity and such. valuation is a sticky wicket around here but someone will help you for sure, likely via pm.

    Noodling around (I am no expert, just a fan) I find a couple of things. 1) in an nawcc discussion on this very board a fellow says "Dating chronometers can be difficult, especially if you rely on the serial number alone. If you don't have a sales record, and you don't have a means of safely taking the chronometer apart to look for a finisher's date, it's much safer to date by stylistic features. Things like the shape of the glass, the presence or absence of a sight ring on the bezel, detent style, presence or absence of a return spring on the barrel set up ratchet can all be combined to get a general feeling of when a chronometer was made."

    2) I find a similar one but without gimbals , with a slightly earlier serial number selling at public auction for $3400 in 1998 described as being from the early 1800's. MORRIS TOBIAS NO. 235; CIRCA 1820 125 mm. diam.

    3) I find one in public auction, complete, with an estimate of 12k to 15k that failed to sell.

    4) yours "looks" like it has giant diamond cap jewel. This was common in pocket chronometers but I am not an expert enough to know if this is unusual for gimbaled versions.

    At one time it was "ok" to list dollar figures if a "matter of public record". Mr. Moderator, please feel free to edit my post in any manner deemed necessary.

    Jeff Hess

    3)
    Jeffrey P. Hess, collector, historian, writer, CEO Ball WATCH USA

  6. #6

    Default Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Qfitz)

    Gentleman, thank you so much for your timely replies, but most of all thank you for your knowledge of this time piece.

    I started my inquiries simply wanted to give this item a simple but more detailed description but now that I've read your replies, I'm wanting to dig deeper and find out more. Can you recommend more sites for reference and information?

    Do you think it is worth taking it to an expert in my area for evaluation and if so, how do I go about finding a reputable person?

    Thank you again for all your help.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Qfitz)

    I have merged the two threads on this chronometer. When replying, use Reply to Thread and not Post New Thread.
    “If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.” - Oscar Wilde

  8. #8
    Registered User burt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day

    Whitney in his book "The Ships Chronometer" has very little to say about Morris Tobias only that the Navy and Merchant Marine Services during the early 1830's purchased most of their chronometers from abroad and Tobias was one of those suppliers of chronometer instruments. I believe the United States Naval Observatory purchased only about a handful from Tobias.

    Tony Mercer in his book "Chronometer Makers of the World" lists Tobias as working at the address on your dial of 31 Minories between 1816-1845. I think a very good guess would be 1825-1830 taking into consideration this information and the construction of the chronometer and box.

    These two sources of information are the major contributors of dating marine chronometers. It's usually a educated guess but sometimes as stated here before the best one can expect. That is unless you were lucky enough your chronometer was purchased from the USNO and you have access to that information. Chronometers required nearly at least a year to build and test during their "golden age".
    Last edited by burt; 08-29-2017 at 02:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: burt)

    You may also supply the name and number to the Royal Greenwich Maritime Museum and you will get a report of the naval service record (if any). If the piece was purchased off the market, the record may not include manufacturing data. I do not think Commander Peter Linstead-Smith is still doing that, but I am sure that someone is.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Tom McIntyre)

    The two-part article by Michael Edidin published in the NAWCC Bulletin in October and November 1992 is the accepted authority on the Tobias and related families. Part I contains some extensive information on Morris Tobias's chronometer making, especially between pages 524 and 530. It seems that Lewis Levitt (Morris Tobias's partner from 1814 to 1824) was himself a skilled chronometer maker, and the firm of Tobias & Levitt produced large numbers of chronometers. Some of these were signed by Lewis Levitt and some by Morris Tobias.

    On page 526 Edidin refers to a pocket chronometer serial #389 dated (by case hallmark) 1827, and #403 dated (on the mainspring) 1829. He also refers to 4 marine chronometers between #403 and 473 which were shipped to a firm called Bond in Boston in 1834 (dated from shipping documentation). That is consistent with a date of 1827 for your #383.
    Martin Rosen

  11. #11

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: Qfitz)

    Hi Qfitz,

    If the larger of the two holes on the barrel bridge is threaded, then it is missing the pawl spring.

    Regards, PL

  12. #12
    Registered User burt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: MartyR)

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyR View Post
    The two-part article by Michael Edidin published in the NAWCC Bulletin in October and November 1992 is the accepted authority on the Tobias and related families. Part I contains some extensive information on Morris Tobias's chronometer making, especially between pages 524 and 530. It seems that Lewis Levitt (Morris Tobias's partner from 1814 to 1824) was himself a skilled chronometer maker, and the firm of Tobias & Levitt produced large numbers of chronometers. Some of these were signed by Lewis Levitt and some by Morris Tobias.

    On page 526 Edidin refers to a pocket chronometer serial #389 dated (by case hallmark) 1827, and #403 dated (on the mainspring) 1829. He also refers to 4 marine chronometers between #403 and 473 which were shipped to a firm called Bond in Boston in 1834 (dated from shipping documentation). That is consistent with a date of 1827 for your #383.
    Hi Marty,

    Nice piece of research and it appears my guess was pretty close to date of manufacture. Here is a great photo I found while researching the Bond chronometer story.Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: burt)

    What a wonderfully apposite photo, Burt

    The reason I mentioned Bond was that it demonstrates a trade link between Morris Tobias and America, and of course the Tobias chronometer which is the subject of this thread obviously found its way there! I guess that trade link was probably what spurred Morris's stepson, Meyer Isaacs Tobias, to become interested in export to America.
    Martin Rosen

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: MartyR)

    Marty,

    Thank you!

    I would think you probably correct in your assumption. During this early period some of the best chronometers available must have been made in England as many were purchased here in America. That includes the United States Naval Observatory for the American Navy. William Bond was also born there in 1754. He is credited as being the first in America to finish a marine chronometer so he certainly would have been very capable to judge the quality of the English instruments and no doubt would have not selected them to retail if they didn't meet very high standards in timekeeping.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Morris Tobias - Marine Chronometer Two Day (By: burt)

    I've shared all your information with the person who donated the chronometer. It was her late father in laws, he collected them and watches, among other things. She does not have any info on purchase because, evidently there was some family issues at the time of his death and the son who was in charge of the will, simply sold the whole warehouse with everything in it, without telling anyone.

    Now, I understand there are strict rules about what can be discussed on this site. Can I email someone outside this forum to discuss the things that can not be discussed here?

    Is it ok to give all of you my email?

    Thank you,
    Suzie

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