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    Cannon pinion loose on centre-wheel arbor

    Is there any way of dealing with the situation where a cannon pinion is no longer a tight fit on the centre-wheel arbor, so that (for example) the minute-hand can be moved by one's finger? The problem with this, of course, is that the reduced frictional adherence between the pinion and the arbor...
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    William French 3/4-plate, circa 1850

    Sometimes nearly everything works out right. Last week I bought a three-quarter-plate movement by 'French, Royal Exchange, London' with compensated balance and jewelled escape-wheel and fourth wheel and an unusual dust-cap; there were no hands and the balance would sleepily swing half a dozen...
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    Unusually accurate verge, c. 1760

    Having been without a working verge watch or movement for some years, I recently fell for the example shown here. The signature is that of Robert Thorne who was apprenticed in 1738 and, according to Baillie, was in business on his own account by 1754. I would date this movement to the early...
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    Identifying Massey escapements without dismantling

    In discussing English fusee lever movements made between about 1812 and 1850, we often come up against the question whether the escapement is a standard English single-roller pattern or one of the five styles developed by Edward Massey from 1812 onwards. One can usually recognise the Massey...
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    Identifying Massey escapements without dismantling

    In discussing English fusee lever movements made between about 1812 and 1850, we often come up against the question whether the escapement is a standard English single-roller pattern or one of the five styles developed by Edward Massey from 1812 onwards. One can usually recognise the Massey...
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    My latest Joseph Johnson

    Here is Joseph Johnson No. 30309, a 19-jewel English-lever fusee with compensated balance in a silver case with Chester hallmarks for 1861. John Matthews brought it to my notice as a candidate for the Johnson database, as he has often done recently (thank you, John!), and I determined to bag it...
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    Short cut to dial restoration (sometimes)

    The art of hand-painting enamel watch dials seems to be utterly lost. George Daniels, that otherwise universal genius of practical horology, apparently did not practise it, and modern attempts to restore the details even on clock dials (to say nothing of watches) generally look as if they were...
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    English levers with unjewelled pallets

    I have just dismantled a Joseph Johnson movement (No. 1263) with Massey V escapement, dating from 1815 or 1816, and have noticed something which I have never observed before: the pallets on the lever are plain steel, without any jewels. As the train-wheels are not jewelled either, this means...
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    Joseph Johnson: first attempt at a dating graph

    I do not usually mention updates to the Johnson database here, but I thought it might be of interest to say that for the first time I have attempted a graph correlating serial numbers with hallmark dates. The evidence for this is still extremely scanty – I have seven credible dates between Nos...
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    Early pocket chronometer movement (Pennington?)

    Here is my latest treasure from David Penney: a watch movement with a true chronometer escapement, signed by (or rather for) James Hatton who practised alone between 1805 and 1816. The balance is of the form developed by Robert Pennington, and I understand that the detent of the escapement is...
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    Marine: 19th-century marine chronometer (sort of)

    To be more precise, what I have just bought is part of a chronometer: the dial and brass edge, the bezel with its glass, and the brass shell or bowl (I do not know the correct name for this and shall be glad if somebody can tell me) which held the movement but now (alas) holds nothing but air...
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    Substitutes for fusee-chains: a new thought

    In the past we have discussed the possibility of making a substitute for the traditional steel fusee-chain, and several practical suggestions have been put forward by Ray and others. The principal difficulty seems to lie in forming the hooks at each end. What I should like to do here is to offer...
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    The watch that ran without power

    Some weeks ago my James McCabe gold watch with Savage escapement (formerly Martin's) suffered a broken fusee-chain. This was fairly easy to rectify (only 'fairly' because the movement is very slim by English standards and was therefore awkward for even my child-sized fingers to manipulate), but...
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    James McCabe 3440 (cylinder)

    Just arrived from David Penney is a cylinder (steel) movement by the original James McCabe, datable I understand to about 1800. Mr. Penney's listing commented on the unusual quality of the finish, and rightly so; my pictures cannot do justice to such details as the regulator disc, which is...
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    'Perkinson' & Frodsham

    A couple of Sundays ago I was idly glancing over the watches on British eBay, as often, and I saw what appeared to be an early Parkinson & Frodsham lever movement which seemed to have largely escaped the notice of bidders. I immediately set a bid on it – only to realise a moment too late that...
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    New home for the Johnson database

    I have at last set up a new website for my horological and other personal interests, namely www.horologia.me.uk . This at present is little more than a skeleton, but it does include the latest version (revised yesterday) of the Joseph Johnson database; for this, click on Pocket Watches at the...
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    Using the 'What's [it] worth?' forums

    I am peeping out of my usual niche in the 'European pocket watches' forum in order to ask what may be a very silly question. I have a correspondent in Canada who is looking for information, including information about values, on what appears likely to be a respectable collection of...
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    Why are English case-makers called 'sponsors'?

    I have noticed that our most knowledgeable members often refer to the person whose initials appear in the case of an English watch as the 'sponsor' rather than the 'maker' of the case. I should like to understand why this term is used. I am aware that there are instances where a case is signed...
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    Removing wheels from arbors

    My question relates to a 19th-century English pocket-watch; however, the problem I have to describe could equally occur in an American or Swiss item, and so I felt it best to post my question here rather than in the 'European and other' forum which is my usual haunt. I have a rack-lever...
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    William Broad rack-lever

    Herewith are some pictures of a rack-lever watch signed by William Broad of London. I have had two rack-lever movements in the past, but this is my first complete watch with this escapement. The plain silver case has London hallmarks for 1830, but although it seems at first glance to fit the...
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