1826 Pocket Watch Help

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by 1826watch, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. It's Coming
    Just Two More Days
  1. 1826watch

    1826watch New Member

    Apr 7, 2020
    4
    2
    3
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Howdy Experts!

    Ignorant watch guy here. I have inherited an old pocket watch. It came down through my father's family, which were in Ireland and Scotland. Would greatly appreciate any and all info that you can provide. The "works" are engraved "Elizabeth Gibbs" and "Cockburn fecit 1826". The back of the case (silver?) has "AM" stamped in it.

    Would love to know the age, country of origin, value, and anything else that you can tell me about it.

    Photos attached ... hopefully.

    MANY thanks.

    watch1.jpg watch2.jpg watch3.jpg watch5.jpg watch6.jpg watch inside 1.jpg watch inside 1.jpg
     
    Keith R... and viclip like this.
  2. 1826watch

    1826watch New Member

    Apr 7, 2020
    4
    2
    3
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Oops ... posted the same photo twice. Here's the other one ...

    watch inside 2.jpg
     
  3. 1826watch

    1826watch New Member

    Apr 7, 2020
    4
    2
    3
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Oops again ... here's the back of the case ...

    watch4.jpg
     
  4. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    11,039
    303
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    Welcome to the board, 1826watch :)

    You have a verge escapement watch with an unusual (in my limited experience) balance cock. I'll leave it to the verge experts here to speak about the movement. The watch is a pair-case, which means that it has a protective outer case.

    Fecit is Latin for "made", so the watchmaker was Cockburn. It does seem likely that the 1826 indicates the date of manufacture of the watch, although it is unusually deep for that date; by 1826 verges were somewhat old-fashioned, and those still being made were generally slimmer than yours.

    There was an Adam Cockburn working in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland as a clock and watch maker from 1804-1843, and also William Cockburn working in 1814 (who might be the brother or son of Adam). There were other Cockburns in Brighton, Sussex and Richmond, Surrey whose dates could match your watch, but Adam seems a good candidate since you mentioned Scotland ;)

    The case is not silver, since there are no hallmarks present. I assume that "AM" are the initials of the casemaker. The back outside of the outer case looks like leather with brass studs - very unusual!
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    11,058
    1,465
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi 1826watch,

    The watch is, as Martin has explained, an English verge in pair cases. Although the top plate is engraved with a possible date of 1826, the movement has characteristics of a rather earlier watch, somewhere around the 1770s I believe, judging by the movement design and the square pillars. The balance cock, with the name Elizabeth Gibbs, is clearly a later replacement, and I suspect that the watch suffered some damage or may even have been purposely modified by Cockburn as a gift or tribute to Elizabeth in 1826. The original cock would have been circular with piercings and engraved decoration. The 'Cockburn Fecit 1826' is not the usual type of expression to find on a 19th century watch and dated signatures like this are uncommon and most often when they are found they relate to an owner rather than a maker.

    The cases are most probably gilt brass and 'AM' would be the case maker and nothing to do with the original source of the movement, which would in any event have been the product of many specialised craftspeople.

    As for value, we can't discuss that in this forum, but you can request opinions on value if you go to the bottom of the main page and follow the instructions under 'What is this watch worth?'

    You have an interesting and unusual, possibly unique, watch.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  6. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,482
    123
    63
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    As others here will testify I am not an authority on verge watches, but I notice on your photograph at #2 a couple of things that seem to me to be rather discouraging. Firstly, there appears to be damage to the teeth (or at least one tooth) on the great wheel of the fusee. Additionally, the fusee chain looks to have got itself into a bit of a mess and skipped a couple of turns of the fusee spiral. I would suggest that you make no attempt to have the watch running until those potential problems have been verified and, if necessary, resolved. An intriguing watch that looks to have had an interesting life.
     
  7. 1826watch

    1826watch New Member

    Apr 7, 2020
    4
    2
    3
    Male
    Country Flag:
    OP here. MANY thanks for all the information. As they say here in Boston, you guys are "wicked smaht".

    Being a newbie, I don't have sufficient privilege to post on the "what's it worth" forum. Generic question about its value ... is it worth getting appraised and adding it to my insurance? It is priceless, family-history-wise, but if it's only worth a few hundred to a collector, not worth adding it to insurance. So please let me know, without mentioning $, if you would insure it or not.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    11,058
    1,465
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi 1826watch,

    Dave's comment is important, because apart from the dislodged/broken chain preventing the watch from running, any attempt to wind it would potentially result in more damage to the great wheel. The broken teeth are possibly the result of someone trying to wind it the wrong way; these fusee watches are wound anti-clockwise if, as is usual, they're wound from the back.

    watch inside 2_edit.jpg

    In any event, even if it was intact, if the watch hasn't been cleaned and lubricated for some considerable time, as this apparently hasn't, it shouldn't be run.

    Forgot to mention that the cases are probably original 18th century.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  9. eri231

    eri231 Registered User

    Jan 13, 2012
    1,304
    149
    63
    Male
    torino italy
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have experienced that in the absence of a tooth the verge works, a click is heard when it passes on the pinion. but here the damage is significant.
    regards enrico
     
  10. MicheleM

    MicheleM New Member

    May 18, 2020
    1
    0
    1
    Female
    Country Flag:
    Hi 1826watch
    I am not an expert nor do I know anything of watches.
    Your question came up as a result of a family history search.
    Adam and Elizabeth are on my husband's father's family tree (albeit a little while ago!)
    We were wondering which ancestor took it to the US?
    We are in Australia where my father-in-law emigrated in the 1950's. H eleft the past behind.....now we ar etrying to unravel it!!
    Michele
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    11,058
    1,465
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi 1826watch,

    Sorry for the delay in answering this question, but now the rules on discussing values here have been revised, so that we can offer pinions in this forum. Your comment on it not having any great commercial value is correct I believe.

    However, the latest post (#10) from Michele in Australia, (welcome, Michele), appears to confirm that the modification to the watch was indeed a dedication from Adam Cockburn to Elizabeth Gibbs, and as such, who can possibly put a financial value on that?

    Perhaps Michele could share what she knows of these two ancestors, in particular any known dates?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Allan C. Purcell likes this.
  12. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 14, 2001
    5,629
    413
    83
    Aerospace Engineer
    New Hampshire
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    as others have stated value is is multi level. You can get as good an estimate as any by looking at completed sales in the archive section of several auction houses many of which can be found at invaluable.com. An advanced search on previous sales looking at pair case verge fusee watches will get you an idea of what they sell for in various levels of condition. Bear in mind that to get it into safe running condition will require good watchmaking. If you have it done it will likely cost more than you could realize from a sale.

    If you are looking for a new hobby, there is a book written on learning to do such repairs yourself. These watches were made by people with few tools and much skill.

    Insurance is another matter. My view is that insuring a unique item is usually a waste of time and money. If you lose it, in addition to your loss you will have the unpleasantness of fighting an insurance company. Insuring a high value item has the benefit that some very determined and skillful people become incentivized to try to find your lost item. If this is not a satisfactory result from insurance don't bother.

    Your best option to protect it is place it on safety deposit box at a bank. Make certain the bank box meets these criteria:

    1) It is situated such that you can get access to it even after heavy rain
    2) The vault is high enough above local streams that it will not get wet in floods
    3) The bank is well run sometimes banks get into trouble get sold and they take away safety deposit box contents
    4) You can get access to your box open it and deal with its contents without going through a crowd of people
    5) You have a safe place to keep your keys

    Deposit box contents are not insured but that is the best place to keep an item such as this if you can find a suitable bank.
     
  13. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    2,256
    763
    113
    Male
    retired
    Germany
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Dr Jon, That's a terrible picture you paint, one I would not, :cool:like to buy.
     

Share This Page