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    Silver Cabrier Pocket watch

    There seems to be a maker's name on the back of the outer case, beneath the feet of the bearded figure on the right; it appears to read COCHIN, although the first letter is uncertain. Might this yield a further clue to the date and place or origin? Oliver Mundy.
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    Another M.I. Tobias pocket watch with questions

    British and European watchmaking involved a host of specialised workshops, each concentrating on one part or one aspect of manufacture; probably watch-cocks were machined in one workshop and, later, decorated in another, and each of the craftsmen concerned would in turn have been employed by a...
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    Eardley Norton pocket watch: Fake or Real?

    This thread began with what appears to be an authentic Norton watch (not a repeater). Peter's latest example, still more than his earlier one, looks decidedly un-English but is full of interest in its own right: a style of cock which is without parallel in my experience, an unusually early...
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    Another M.I. Tobias pocket watch with questions

    Is there a suggestion that this movement could actually have been newly-made in 1888? I cannot profess to be a Tobias expert, but all my experience, such as it is, urges me to place it between twenty and thirty-five years earlier. Among my Johnson records I have two examples of cock designs...
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    Jos. Johnson watch, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History.

    Perhaps I was unjust in vilifying the museum staff; they are probably encumbered with a mass of regulations which forbid them to handle any exhibit without specific written authorisation from the State legislature, or something of the sort. However, if John Matthews (whose views always deserve...
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    Jos. Johnson watch, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History.

    I did wonder about this possibility. However, the evidence I have for Johnson dates, however meagre, does include earlier dates for higher numbers: 1822 for No. 5780 and 1825 for No. 7746. Of course it is not incredible that a movement remained uncased for five or six years, so that Graham's...
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    Jos. Johnson watch, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History.

    Infuriating! – This is not directed at Frank, who has clearly done all he can (thank you again, Frank); I am alluding to the fact that what we have here seems to be a genuine English gold case by the Helsby brothers, and therefore potentially an addition to the pitifully meagre list of twelve...
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    Bargain Burdess

    Adam Burdess of Coventry, who worked from about 1868 until at least 1895, has appeared in several of our discussions over the years. He was a reputable maker who patented a keyless winding system for fusee movements, consisting of a kind of pump-action lever acting on the fusee arbor; he also...
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    20th c For the dust bin or not?

    Well done, Allan, for rescuing this collection for your club! Further details will be welcome. Oliver Mundy.
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    For those interested in Jos. Johnson watches

    A genuine Johnson movement (17 jewels, bimetallic but uncut balance-wheel with compensation-curb), in – as so often – an American case with fake Chester hallmarks. (The clue is in the crown on the leopard's face; this feature is not found in authentic British hallmarks after 1822, and this...
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    Robert Roskell Numbers File.

    I have just seen this message from January. One of my Joseph Johnsons, No. 3272, has gold marks identical to those of Roskell 35485 apart from belonging to the succeeding year of the cycle (date letter D). The sponsorial mark is the same (incuse E J), and this was assigned to Edward Jones in a...
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    Ebenezer Taylor & Son English fusee

    This kind of seconds dial, with the figures placed outside the recessed area, is typical of the 1850s and 1860s. I cannot make the jewel count more than 17 (1 impulse-pin, 2 pallets, 2 pierced jewels and 2 caps on the balance-staff and 2 jewels each for the lever, escape-wheel, fourth wheel...
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    George Lewis verge, 1756

    This has proved to be a rather extraordinary verge. It is never out by more than four and a half minutes in a day. After winding I set it, if necessary, by my chronometer. In the next eight hours it gains about four minutes; it then stays at that level for a further twelve or thirteen hours, and...
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    18th Century American Fusee Question

    I understand that Thomas Harland of Norwich CT is usually considered the earliest actual maker of watches in America. He crossed the Atlantic in 1773, a year before Birnie, and by the end of the same year he was issuing newspaper advertisements in which he asserted that he could [at least] make...
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    Date from hallmarks (English Sterling, Frodsham)?

    Marks very similar to these, with the same date-letter (Roman upper-case F), the same bogus monarch's head and the same initials, are sometimes found on the cases of English watches, usually from the 1820s, which have been exported to the United States and, almost certainly, cased there. This is...
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    George Lewis verge, 1756

    I can at least account for the slot which John has mentioned: it was cut to accommodate the new horizontal case-bolt catch. This is made of brass rather than the usual steel; it can be seen on the right-hand edge of my image of the front plate. Evidently the old upright finger was cut off the...
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    George Lewis verge, 1756

    I woke up this morning at half-past one with a stomach-ache, found that the watch had stopped and would not run for more than a minute, and decided to exorcise the one problem by attending to the other. On removing the dial to check whether the motion-wheels were binding, I found a curious...
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    Gold Pocket Watch Identification

    It would be interesting to know if the escape-wheel teeth are pointed or blunt-tipped; the former would be a British feature, the latter Swiss. The lettering on the back-plate looks very British, as do the blued screws, but the case-marks must be European. The date should be about 1890, when...
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    George Lewis verge, 1756

    Allan has given me the correct name for the ornamentation around the cock-table; I did mention it, but for want of a better term I described it as a 'frill'. I remember seeing this discussed here some years ago as a short-lived fashion of around 1760. I read the motif on the cock as a dragon's...
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    George Lewis verge, 1756

    For many years I have been without a complete and functional verge watch. A recent eBay sale has allowed me to fill this gap at, for once, rather less cost than I expected. The watch has nothing distinguished about it, although the 'frill' around the cock-table is an agreeable touch, and it...

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Hard Life for Wristwatches by Roy Gardner