1876 John Bennett pocket watch 64-65 cheapside london

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Psyche524, Apr 21, 2018.

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  1. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    I have just bought an1876 John Bennett. The photos below are not taken by me, so when it arrives I shall take better ones.

    Perhaps more interesting, is an article I found about him. You need to bear with it as it starts off about family etc, but part way through it gives an insight to the genuine legitimate correlation between English watchmakers and the Swiss in that period:

    John Bennett, clock and watchmaker

    2A13018D-D54F-445F-B427-008905629266.jpeg 46482762-00E7-4503-B719-898D2713B977.jpeg 4D53C47A-05F0-4864-A4AF-1350635E09C5.jpeg 6883281D-9932-46E4-BF26-ACD140983EEF.jpeg 465D1ED3-58EA-4AA0-AE53-4E669FB79364.jpeg 169E94E4-AE36-4851-BF27-76E8383BE545.jpeg
     
  2. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Maybe English watches made in the 19th century found with Swiss movements, shouldn’t be immediately classed as fakes?
     
  3. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, I am not sure where you got this idea from:???: Only Swiss Watches with an English Name on it and intended to deceive are Fakes. Regards Ray
     
  4. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Hi Ray, did you read the article? I posted a link.
     
  5. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Yeah I have read it before. Regards Ray
     
  6. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    So what’s the confusion with my comment?

    Sir John Bennett, watchmaker to the Royal Obsrvatory went on record to say “even when watches are called ‘English’, they frequently contain Swiss movements.”
     
  7. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    I'm confused, Psyche. Where in that quote is Bennett referring to "fakes"? And what do you think Bennett meant by "when watches are called English"?
     
  8. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    MartyR, that’s exactly my point. He’s not referring to ‘fakes’. He was asked about Swiss watch making dominance, and in that context he made that statement. They’re not fakes, they’re imported movements.
     
  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Of course there are watches with imported swiss movements that carry the names of British firms on the dials. Nobody is calling them Swiss fakes.

    Swiss fakes are watches made to suggest they are English made, carrying signatures of people who had nothing whatsoever to do with them.
     
  10. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Ok great, so how are we differentiating between the two?
     
  11. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Fraud
     
  12. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Haha ok, this is a genuine question and one that will assist me when adding to my collection. How do we differentiate between a genuine English watchmaker brand watch containing a Swiss movement and a fraudulent piece?
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Psyche524,

    Many established English companies found it commercially expedient towards the end of the 19th century to import Swiss movements, components and complications and case them with their own names on them. The Swiss were undercutting the English trade, mostly because they could produce their goods at much lower prices than the traditionally organised English could compete with. This was not fakery, it was commercial pragmatism; fakery was signing products with names which the creators had no legal right to use, either of real English companies such as TF Cooper or completely fictitious ones such as Tart.

    Bennett was vociferous in his defence of the English trade, but seemed not averse to taking advantage of the Swiss industry to produce parts and components in the watches he marketed.

    If I import 100 Seagull movements from China and market them as 'Morse' watches, I'm breaking no laws or contravening any ethical considerations, but if I call them 'Rolex', what am I then? Nothing but a fraudulent trader.

    Knowing when the name on a watch is legitimate and being honestly used requires knowledge and experience, neither of which come quickly or without effort and study.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Thanks Graham, so what tell tale signs am I to look out for? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the mere fact that there were Swiss components in them was a deal breaker.

    Psyche
     
  15. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    From memory, has a watch ever been deemed legitimate on here, that had a Swiss movement in and signed by an English watchmaker?
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Psyche524,

    This was covered fairly extensively here. And while you're re-reading it could you let us know what you found when you looked again at items I suggested in the Pocket Watch Museum please?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Hi Graham, I’ve had another read through and the reason given is that it’s a Swiss movement or parts there of. Which we all seem to agree, can’t discount the authenticity.

    I have to say, I don’t own that watch. So this discussion isn’t to prove its authenticity. It is a general, broader question as I am interested. The wife would confirm this with the the amount of Omegas and other bits and bobs I’ve acquired over the last 2 months.

    With regards to the watch museum, I did have a look through their itinerary and found loads of mistakes in the item descriptions. Lack of knowledge from the author doesn’t prove they’re fake either.

    I get the impression that a watch with a Swiss movement signed by a British watchmaker has never been authenticated as a legitimately branded piece. This intrigues me and think it should be looked into further.

    After all, this is a recognised and respected organisation with evidently vast experience. To have never nailed one as authentic when we know it was so widely done in the UK seems odd.

    Chris
     
  18. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Chris,

    Did you notice the copyright notices at the end of some item descriptions in the British watch section? The owners of the museum were aware that their descriptions were in most instances incomplete and in many cases completely inaccurate, so they engaged Martin and me to revise and correct the descriptions for those watches which we considered to be genuine and significant. What was left, including the Coopers and several others of a dubious nature, we left alone. This is a good example of the perils of taking internet references at face value. Lack of knowledge on the part of the author doesn't prove anything at all; to suggest otherwise is a specious argument.

    If you ask how we know what it is we're looking at, the answer is in the final paragraph of post #13 above. I don't know how long Martin has been collecting fine watches, I know it's a good few years, but I can confirm that I've been repairing and restoring pocket watches for more than 20 years, and we've seen hundreds of watches between us. The knowledge gained from this intimate examination and research into the subject isn't easily distilled into a few bullet points; the subject is far too complex to treat in such a superficial way.

    Developing a discriminating 'eye' and understanding what you see is a gradual process.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  19. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Hi Graham, I get the fact that there is a plethora of experienced members on here, to whom I will never be able to compete nor want to. The simple fact is, is that everybody seems to know what looks wrong, but nobody knows or has seen one that’s right.

    Either what has been deemed wrong in the past could actually be right. Or as you said, the amount of collectively accumulated man hours repairing watches. None have ever been found.

    I’ll leave it there, as I do enjoy reading the informative posts on here and I don’t want to sound as if I’m banging on. Plus the fact it’s 0300hrs here.

    Thanks for the posts Graham,

    Nite
     
  20. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Oh, you didn’t say if you liked my new watch?
     
  21. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Chris,

    Sometimes it's a matter of knowing where to look. When you have the chance, do a Google search on 'Gutkaes & Lange for Bennett'.

    Your new watch is hard to assess from the pictures, but it looks to be a solid mid-range hunter. As for liking it or otherwise, that's in the eye of the beholder . . .

    Sleep well!

    Graham
     
  22. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    #22 Psyche524, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    Thanks Graham, very interesting. So this Swiss movement legitimately supplied to Bennett for use in Bennett watches, only has Bennett’s name on with a Ser no. No address:

    GUTKAES & LANGE, No 5510, for BENNETT, London - David Penney's Antique Watch Store

    I thought the addressing of movements was brought in to prevent fraudulent pieces in the mid 1800’s?

    Surely it’s just as easy to inscribe a movement with somebody else’s name, as it is to do so on a movement case cover.

    It’s a shame that it’s not the complete watch. It’s just a movement with Bennett’s name on it. Having a typical English lever watch alongside a Swiss movement supplied watch by the same company could be very telling.

    Chris
     
  23. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    From the link...

    "the pillar-plate bearing the Gutkaes & Lange stamp"
     
  24. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    But what if suppliers of other Swiss movements didn’t stamp theirs? Reading further in to Beckett, he seems to have been quite a character. He had no issue with telling people the truth about 18th century watchmaking, so the link between one particular watch movement supplier and Beckett is clear to see.

    On the other hand, other watch makers were somewhat more ‘protectionist’ about their brand. Not necessarily wanting their customers to know their watches were made in China/Switzerland. As stated, the English watchmaker brand was a coveted and valued asset. To the point where hundreds of thousands of fakes were produced unscrupulously in their name. How better to ruine all that, than to openly stamp/tell customers that the guts of the watch were made in Switzerland, where you could buy the same watch without the name on the case for a fraction of the price?

    We know English watchmakers imported Swiss movements and we know that the English brand was extremely valuable.
     
  25. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    The discussion in this thread makes me wonder and worry about the source of the movement in my circa 1896 18k Sir John Bennett. I am a not very knowledgeable about English watches, but the movement has always looked English to me and I'd thought it might have been made by Usher & Cole.

    IMG_5800_edited (944x1280).jpg IMG_5803_edited (883x1280).jpg IMG_5807_edited (1280x1085).jpg IMG_5804_edited (1280x851).jpg IMG_5806_edited-copy (980x848).jpg IMG_0892_edited (1280x1237).jpg IMG_5808 (1279x868).jpg IMG_0633.JPG IMG_0632.JPG IMG_0630.JPG
     
  26. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Hi Ethan Lipsig, others with more knowledge than me will I'm sure add some meat to the bones. But to set your mind at ease; to me, your watch looks like a typical English Lever escapement. To my knowledge this type of movement has not been systematically faked, due to the labour intensive nature of its construction. So it is highly unlikely to be a fake (in my novice opinion).

    Hope this helps

    Chris
     
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ethan,

    The date letter is indeed for 1896/7 and the sponsor's mark in your case appears to be for Arthur Baume, for Baume & Co., listed as Swiss watch importers at 21 Hatton Garden London, this mark registered 14th September 1888, but the company also registered an incuse mark on the same day. This, together with the Geneva stopwork on the barrel suggests that the movement may include some Swiss parts, even though the majority of it visible from the top plate appears quite English.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  28. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ethan,

    Looking again at the picture of your hallmarks, the date letter and the '18' both appear to have been overstamped; is this the case or is it just an effect of the lighting?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  29. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Graham, the watch is in my bank's vault. I won't be able to retrieve it to take a closer look at the stamps until mid-May.
     
  30. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I was able to retrieve the watch sooner than I had expected I could. I don't think the "hallmarks" are overstamped.

    DSC03148.JPG
     
  31. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for going to the trouble of taking this picture. I think you're right and the original picture had some reflections which gave that impression.

    Looking again at those original pictures I notice that the barrel lid has two cutouts, which is often an indication of Swiss origin. As discussed at great length in the transcripts of the trial under the Merchandise Marks Act, 'Regina vs Williamson' in 1900, concerning the practice of including some Swiss made parts in watches marked as being English, the importing and inclusion of certain parts was going on at the time. The question of how much of an English movement could legitimately be of foreign origin was a key issue. Williamson was in the end found guilty and fined £20 with £10 costs.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  32. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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  33. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    The watch has arrived but the key wind will only turn counterclockwise. Is this normal or is it faulty? I haven’t wound it counterclockwise yet, in case I do more damage.
     
  34. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Chris,

    You have a fusee watch that's wound from the back; they all wind counterclockwise, but you're very prudent to ask.

    Just look at the relationship between the fusee, the barrel and the chain, and then notice where the first wheel in the train is, the one which transmits the power to the centre wheel. When it's fully wound, all the chain is on the fusee and as it runs, the barrel pulls the chain off the fusee. In your fifth picture you can see the spring which holds the maintaining power click in contact with its ratchet wheel, (sandwiched between the great wheel under the fusee and the fusee cone itself). The maintaining power mechanism, (invented by John Harrison), is inside that steel ratchet wheel and uses the power of the mainspring to keep a small spring under tension, so that when the fusee is wound the watch is kept going by that internal spring. If it weren't there, the watch would stop during winding.

    The case hallmarks are for London, 1876/7 and the case maker's mark, (now known as the sponsor's because it doesn't always refer to the actual maker), of 'JW' is for Joseph Walton at 7 Upper Charles Street, Clerkenwell.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  35. Psyche524

    Psyche524 Registered User

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    Great thanks Graham,

    I’m guessing this is an entry level watch cost wise, but I’m really happy with it. Especially now that you have confirmed that it winds counterclockwise.

    Thanks again,

    Chris
     
  36. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    On the general subject of Swiss-English cooperation, I am convinced that the Swiss could and did make some watch movements that were essentially indistinguishable from those made in England. Since English retail "watchmakers" always bought in their work anyway, it must have been very tempting to place some orders in Buren or other Swiss centers. I actually have one example that I would swear was English if it were not signed by a Swiss maker.

    Much more commonly, most English watches with complications, seem to have had the complications added in Switzerland. I have a nice Barraud minute repeater that is listed in the Usher & Cole workbooks as having been made for Barraud & Lunds but in the workbook it is a rather simple timepiece 3/1600. As it exists, it is a rather large minute repeater with the seconds bit in a slightly offset position.

    B-L1600.jpg Cuvette.jpg Front.jpg Movement2.jpg Back.jpg
     
  37. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

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    I found this thread and I think it fits here nicely. My Bennett watch. A simple full plate 9j lever. Nicely done, diamond cap, but a simple English watch, no more, no less. Bought for $65 in working condition, so I think it was worth it...

    FF888E26-5759-485D-8395-4449E9514590.jpeg

    3F0A2416-2CBF-4081-9F1F-C10DBF373496.jpeg

    68CA9C08-6E76-404D-9E0F-4A91F221349B.jpeg

    C04EFA5C-1B30-4083-BBE1-3A368E0325EF.jpeg
     
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  38. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Paul,

    A very workmanlike watch, from some time in the 1860s or 70s I would guess, (the hallmarks would give a more certain date), and probably originating in a Coventry workshop in the English Midlands.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  39. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

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    Ah, yes, the hallmarks...

    image.jpg
     
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  40. John Matthews

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    London 1884/85

    John
     
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  41. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    In both Paul's watch and the one shown at the beginning of this thread, the engraving on the dome – especially the style of lettering used for the name SIR JOHN BENNETT – strikes me as much more Swiss than English in style. Yet the cases themselves appear thoroughly English in both fabric and marking. Would anyone have gone so far as to send a complete watch, entirely or almost entirely English, to Switzerland purely to have the dome engraved, and then have it sent back to England to be retailed? Or did the firm of Bennett employ engravers who were of Swiss origin and were allowed, unusually, to work in their vernacular style?

    In regard to the interaction between the British and the Swiss watchmaking industries I am not one of those who can claim any special knowledge, but something which I once saw in the Royal Scottish Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, always gives me pause if I am tempted to try to draw lines of demarcation between the two. This was an exhibit prepared for the Great Exhibition of 1851 by Japy Frères of Schaffhausen and consisted of two large showcases full of ébauches, many of which were wholly English in style. They included some with full-width cock-tables (obviously not yet pierced or engraved) such as one would expect to see only on late English verges, and others where the cock-table was of a bell-shaped pattern; if I had not seen these items I would have sworn that this style of cock was exclusively British and was not used later than about 1830! Unfortunately the Museum has been largely remodelled in recent years and I suspect that this exhibit, given its limited interest for most visitors, has long since been consigned to storage.

    Oliver Mundy.
     

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