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

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by docbooks, Jul 12, 2017.

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  1. docbooks

    docbooks Registered User
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  2. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    #22 Tom McIntyre, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    OK, I see the operation now. It has been a long time since I handled one of these. I cannot remember if the American ones have two pivots or one as yours does. The other thing that has me struggling to remember is how you open the back for winding . I seem to recall that when it is in the HC configuration you can just open both back covers (outer gold and inner glass and then the winding hole is exposed. Possibly, one cannot open both back covers to get to the winding when it is in the other configuration.

    Of course, I could have that backward or be out in left field on all of it. It has been about 15 years now since I have handled one.

    It is a very neat watch and I think you got a mid-Summer bargain.

    OK, I took a second look and, of course, saw that you wound it in the OF configuration by opening both back covers. (I would recommend pushing in on the latch button in the pendant whenever opening the outer cover.) Can you do the same thing when it is in the closed HC configuration and open the back for winding?
     
  3. docbooks

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    When in the HC configuration, first the outer bezel (ring) is released with the case opener, then the rear cover is released with the case opener. The cover with the winding hole is now exposed, and it is fixed, that is, it is attached to, and part of, the inner frame and forms the bottom of a bowl which holds the movement. Also, I always push the release button on the pendant when opening the signature cover, which of course can be either the front or rear cover depending on which configuration the watch is in. When in the OF setting, the signature cover becomes the rear, rear cover, then there is the next cover and finally the fixed winding hole cover. Hope that is all clearer than mud!
     
  4. docbooks

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    I still haven't figured out the 1858 Patent dates. Here is the link to the watch with the supposedly later, improved version of the convertible mechanism, but it is marked 1858 just like mine and yet is a totally different design. Maybe they got 2 patents in the same year for 2 different designs?? https://web.archive.org/web/20160305104753/http://www.awco.org/Seminar2002/HowardTheme/h13.htm Maybe I am missing something??
     
  5. Clint Geller

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    #25 Clint Geller, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    Tom is indeed correct that the two Howard watches I showed have reversible cases with the differences between them that he described. The Howard Catalog of the 2002 NAWCC Seminar exhibit, linked here earlier, comments on these same differences.

    In 1858, open face cases were slowly gaining in popularity, so it is not unreasonable to think that enterprising persons in both the US and England saw the same marketing opportunity nearly simultaneously. However, as both I and Tom had mentioned, the swing-out style of case, in which the movement ring is hinged to the watch case, would have required different specific arrangements. Several watchmaking innovations emerged at roughly the same time on both sides of the pond, driven by the same technical issues and marketing opportunities. For example, the first American watches with Reed's patent mainspring barrel reached the market in 1859, and a very similar mechanism was patented in England (Powell's patent) in 1862. Powell may have been aware of Reed's invention, or the ongoing shift in England towards going barrel watches without fusees may simply have motivated a similar solution to the common problem of watch movements without fusees being damaged by too-frequent mainspring breakages. Other instances of parallel development could be cited.
     
  6. docbooks

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    Clint, so if I understand your post correctly, you opine that both designs could have been developed more or less at the same time, hence both having the same same 1858 patent date.
     
  7. Clint Geller

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    Yes, that is possible. It may also be that the two designers knew each other somehow. In my opinion, the idea that one stranger simply copied the other is actually made somewhat less likely by the fact that both patents seem to have been granted in 1858. It normally takes a little time for a cross-Atlantic copycat to catch wind of a new idea from across the pond and then modify it to fit local conditions (i.e., the differences in the way watch movements were attached to cases in America and in Europe).
     
  8. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    In looking further into the patent information, I found this reissue of the Watson patent that was licensed to Baldwin. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=...1=RE00586.PN.%26OS=PN/RE00586%26RS=PN/RE00586

    The further one digs the more confusing it gets. Watson was an Englishman who licensed the patent exclusively to Baldwin and Bliss of New Jersey. The Watson patent also incorporates two pivot points.

    Watson references prior work, so the term Magic Case was older than this invention. The more common Cabriolet case is certainly older and may date from before 1830.

    I also have a recollection of a case where both of the back covers opened if in the open face configuration but that may be my imagination running away with me.
     
  9. 4thdimension

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    Not your imagination Tom if you are talking about the watch I used to have. That case had more hinges than I'd ever seen before.-Cort
     
  10. Clint Geller

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    Interesting. American and English watchmaking were certainly very intertwined.
     
  11. docbooks

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    #31 docbooks, Jul 16, 2017
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    I know I'm confused... my case should be of an older design if I read the patent description in the link you posted correctly....but then the date on the signature plate should be earlier than 1858...oh well ???
     
  12. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Cort, the OP's watch also opens both back covers, but I think he needs to use an opener. The one I may misremember opened "both" back covers when the pendant button was depressed.
     
  13. 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!
     
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