1860's Fusee in 18KT CONVERTIBLE case , runs fine, would like input!

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by docbooks, Jul 12, 2017.

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  1. docbooks

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    #1 docbooks, Jul 12, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2017
    OK,let me start off by saying that I know I probably paid too much but when I saw this 18KT CASE,I just had to have it! I don't think the movement is anything too special, except that it seems to be n excellent/near mint condition and runs very well. But that case!To convert between OF and HC ---- what engineering and craftsmanship! Fiendishly complicated, since I had NO prior experience with this case type, it took me an hour of careful, thoughtful manipulations to access all the covers without damaging anything. Photo 1 is the OF configuration, photos 2 & 3 the HC configuration. It measures 56mm and weighs 156 grams. So,I would like to ask a few things: 1) do any of you have a watch with a convertible case and if so would you mind posting a photo or two?,and 2) any general info on the movement or case would be appreciated(from some of the info I have read, the 25 Church St address would date this movement to an earlier time (pre 1830)than the case (1868)and yet the serial numbers match on both??) I have also posted this in "What's my watch worth forum for anyone interested. Thanks for any input in advance!
     
  2. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi docbooks, an absolutely Superb Pocket Watch Cased in America I think; lots of Josh Johnson movements were sent to America and Cased there. About the only thing that I can see that is wrong is the very small bit of the Hour Hand broken off. There are a few people who really know a lot about Josh Johnson movements on this forum. Regards Ray
     
  3. docbooks

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    Thanks Ray!
     
  4. MrRoundel

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    Outstanding watch all around. Congratulations. Thanks for sharing the images. Cheers.
     
  5. DaveyG

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    That is just gorgeous - and worth more than a king's ransom whatever cash value anyone would put on it. I would have to disagree with your view that the movement is nothing too special as it is, for me, the pinnacle of English & Liverpool watchmaking of the period; the only way that it could be better is if it had a compensated balance. The 25 Church Street address appeared on Johnson watches well after 1830 so I wouldn't set too much store by that piece of evidence as a dating cue but I do agree that the movement is probably earlier than 1868. The matching serial numbers, case to movement, are only an indication that the case was made specifically for the movement and not necessarily at the same time.

    You will find that Oliver Mundy has collated and shared a database 'here' of Johnson watches which you may find useful and I feel sure that he will be along to comment once word gets around that your watch is on view; or you may wish to PM him and alert him to this thread as I am sure that he will be able to add to your story.
     
  6. docbooks

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    Wow....thanks so much for the info and input!
     
  7. docbooks

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    :thumb::thumb:
     
  8. docbooks

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    #8 docbooks, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2017
    Here is a better photo of the inside of the rear cover
     
  9. MrRoundel

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    I'm glad to be able to read the engraving now...

    As was mentioned, this is an American-made case. And what a case it is! Here are excerpts from page 85 of Daniel Crossman's "A Complete History of Watch and Clock Making in America":

    "The firm subsequently became Durand, Carter, and Co., from 1850 to 1855..."

    "It may be said of his production in the case line that they have always been of the highest class of workmanship, and of a new and original design. Probably no case manufacturer in this country has done so much in the matter of producing really artistic work in gold cases as Mr. Durand (James)."

    I.E., You stepped up and scored a real gem! You'd best get yourself a copy of Crossman. Cheers.

    BTW: There was a member of the family named Silas Durand. He had been a bank-note engraver. It sure looks like he might have had a "hand" in engraving this one.
     
  10. docbooks

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    Thanks much for your input! I'll go on ABE books and see if I can find a copy of Crossman! At the risk of sounding repetitive, the construction and craftsmanship of this watch just blows me away! I keep putting it away, but 10 minutes later I get the urge to inspect again.... I guess that will get old after awhile:chuckling:
     
  11. docbooks

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    That's a scarce book---- I could only find ONE copy after searching ABE, Amazon and Ebay. It's on its way. Thanks!
     
  12. MrRoundel

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    Excellent. I'm glad that you're getting the book. I got my copy when NAWCC Chapter 149 was selling a reprint that was "Prepared from microfilm, and edited by Donald L. Dawes: 2002".

    BTW: I guess you saw that it was written by Charles Crossman, not Daniel. Doh! I'm sure that didn't make your search any easier. Sorry about that.

    BTW II: Page 81 has more information on Durand. In a section on C. Jacot, and Bro. watch cases, Crossman states that a convertible watch case design patent (almost certainly for your type) was assigned to them by Charles Durand in 1852. I'd take this to mean that your case was probably made between 1850 and 1852, making it before 1868, as was mentioned above. I wonder how that fits in with the movement date?
     
  13. DaveyG

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    I'd say that isn't too far adrift - but how can that be reconciled with the 1868 Patent date in the case?
     
  14. docbooks

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    I think that the most likely explanation was from another poster (on another thread?), that the movement may be of a little earlier date and then shipped to the USA and at some point (1868ish?) the case was made for that specific movement. But, I'm learning quite a bit from ya'll, so I'll keep watching!
     
  15. docbooks

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    See the post below - and thanks for the input!
     
  16. Tom McIntyre

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    For those who thought I might be slighting the Johnson movement by saying the value was insignificant compared to the case, I would have said the same thing if it were a E. Howard & Co. movement. I was just expressing the relative value of almost any movement in this case. The movement is indeed a very fine Liverpool movement. However, it is not the best London movement and unlikely to be as valuable as the scarce American Watch Co. grade KW 18 that I have also seen in this style and quality of case.
     
  17. Jerry Treiman

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    I hope you are not disappointed and hope it is the Dawes edition that you bought. Most of the older versions of Crossman's book do not include the casemakers. As far as I know, Donald Dawes' 2002 re-compilation of the original Crossman articles is the only complete compilation. There is still good information in the other editions, though.
     
  18. docbooks

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    I don't think I will know until it shows up since there was not a lot of detail in the description :screwball:
     
  19. Lychnobius

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    This is indeed a fine specimen. The movement is a good, though conventional, 17-jewel fusee, and I have no doubt that (unlike many movements bearing this name) it is a genuine Johnson product. Johnson watches are difficult to date, largely because (as has been said) most of them were cased in the United States where the marking system did not include a date-letter, but I would place it in about 1840.

    The case is exceptional, both in its survival (very many Johnsons, including both of mine, have lost their cases) and in its quality. I have never seen such an elaborate case-signature, but who could blame Messrs. Durand Carter for blowing their own trumpet a little? Even the key looks as if it belongs with the case.

    The only thing which is slightly unusual is the dial with its recessed seconds panel. This treatment of the seconds dial is rarely found in Britain before the middle 1850s; however, Johnsons seem to have been among the first to adopt it, and I know of two very similar examples with serial numbers in the 18000s, so that there is no real reason to doubt its originality.

    It will be a pleasure to add this handsome piece to the database.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  20. musicguy

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    Nothing new to add to the discussion but,
    I also like that this watch was used. The bow is worn at the top
    showing that this watch wasn't left in the draw for it's entire life.






    Rob
     
  21. docbooks

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    Thank you for the detailed information - MUCH appreciated! I will be responding to your PM in a few moments.
     
  22. MrRoundel

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    I hope I didn't get you, docbooks, to spend a bunch of money on a book that doesn't contain the desired information. The Crossman/Dawes edition was published in a very limited number of 200. So yes, there aren't a lot out there. It has a brown hard-cover with gold print. I apologize if your purchase, at my recommendation, doesn't end up having the case info.:confused:
     
  23. docbooks

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    No worries...I saw your PM and responded. Cheers!
     
  24. docbooks

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    Let me preface this by reiterating that I still have not become completely familiar with manipulating this watch! So, I included a video to show the conversion process as well as accessing the movement for anyone who is interested[video]https://youtu.be/-sZs3AbB6xE[/video]. But, be kind ---- "No watches were harmed in the making of this video":)
     
  25. DaveyG

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    RE: Post 16. Tom, I can't see a post, on this thread, in which you commented on the relative values of case and movement so I'm in the dark on that point but I would say that it is a no brainer that the case alone would be significantly more valuable than any associated uncased movement. Your assumptions re the desirability as a whole are yours to make; personally, were I to be presented with four watches, each in one of these cases, with an E Howard, American Watch Co KW, 'best London' or Liverpool movement of this quality, and I had to select one to purchase then I would opt for the latter every time - and then go rob a bank. Beauty is in the eye of etc etc :chuckling:
     
  26. gmorse

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    Hi Dave,

    I should add that many "best London" movements originated in the Liverpool area anyway. The differences in the case designs mentioned earlier are presumably to accommodate the English style of mounting the movement on a joint so that it swings out.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  27. DaveyG

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    Precisely one of the reasons why I would make my choice Graham, plus the fact that I have more interest in the SW Lancashire trade than that of the London end. For me this Joseph Johnson movement has panache, it is flamboyant whilst at the same time being elegant and just as well made as anything from London during the 2nd quarter of the 19thC. I don't know if the 'Liverpool windows' were intended to have a function other than to secure a pivot but these movements are certainly easier to examine internally because of the additional light that they introduce between the plates; must have been very useful when there was only natural light to illuminate your bench.
     
  28. DaveyG

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    Now that I have the full story - from all three threads about this watch - I understand Tom's comment a #16. I also understand the reason for all three threads :)
     
  29. docbooks

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    To All who contributed to helping me to learn a lot more about this watch than I knew a week ago ---- A BIG thank you! :thumb::thumb::thumb: I still have a bit of a puzzle to work on, but that's a good thing --- keeps the brain limber!
     
  30. Allan C. Purcell

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    Just a quick note-there is at the moment om "Pieces of Time" a case by the same firm-also a convertible, but with a Robert Roskell movement inside. I would question the Roskell movement-but that is another story.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  31. PJQL

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    Hi docbooks,

    Just outstanding...a real pleasure to see this one! Thanks for posting :)

    Regards

    Piers

    Moderators.....just curious, but how did my signature end up on post#29? Very odd......
     
  32. Tom McIntyre

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    Doc Books has it as his signature also. He may have thought it was a quote from some famous source named Piers Lawrence. I can see how it could be misread that way. I would wager that if you asked him to change it and told him why, he would be happy to do so.
     
  33. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Alan, that case is a cabriolet which is a much simpler device than the "Magic Case." Note that when it is in its hunting configuration, the pendant is still at 12:00. The low grade Swiss movement does not look much like Roskell to me either.
     
  34. PJQL

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    Tom,

    I didn't think of that! So...the price of fame.....maybe I should copyright it....:)

    Regards

    Piers
     
  35. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hi Piers,
    I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations- could not find it-so maybe you could get copyright.

    While I was at it, I came accross this by WALDEN (1854) "Economy"- As if you could kill time, without injuring eternity.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  36. PJQL

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    Hi Allan...well that's food for thought.

    Today Google Images, tomorrow the world!

    Book signings later.......:excited:

    Piers.
     
  37. Tom McIntyre

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    Docbooks has stopped using your signature line, so your fame is gone. :(
     
  38. MartyR

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    Good question, Piers. Indeed, excellent question. Of course I have no idea, but I'm asking someone who might ... I'll let you know :whistle:
     
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