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Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Tom McIntyre, Jul 25, 2017.
Really nice example of the work of the "prince of adjusters."
Hi Tom, fantastic; is it in the mail to me? Regards Ray
It is part of my best friend's estate. I was practicing uploading pictures from my iPhone.
Maybe I will try to upload the rest of the pictures of the box. Both he and I were great fans of A. P. Walsh and Sam Hammond of New York who had really great taste in watches. I still am, of course, but Brad is gone.
Here is a tear down of another example.
Hi Tom, I know what it is like I just lost my best friend; Heart Attack. Regards Ray
Both beautiful watches. I like the hairspring stud arrangement on that second one.
And that's a wonderful 'duo in uno' hairspring.
Here is another one.
This watch is very interesting to me for several reasons.
Garret Nijseen's superb article states that Walsh made his first keyless fusee movement in the late 1860's of a type which required the owner to move a lever to wind it. Nijssen called this a transitional system. His article states that Walsh did not adopt the more typical keyless fusee system until 1878. In this system the winding lever is activated by lifting the back cover .
My watch dates at 1871 and uses a very similar system to the later one, It is a cut hunter. To wind it, the crown is pressed which lifts the bezel and allowing the small lever to move and engage the winding train. It is another transitional system Nijssen had not seen. This exampel shows tht having the engaging device in the front leads to an awkward design for an open face watch,
It also has a very unusual lever and roller.
This is a double roller with a massive roller and an radial impulse pin. It is also inverted
Nijssen noted that the first keyless fusee he had seen #311 had a plain balance cock as does this one. #311 was detent chronometer. This makes mine possibly his first Keyless fusee lever.
in fairness to Garrett, he had passed away before this watch came to me and I wish I had gotten to show it to him.
It also has Walshe' s duo in Uno balance spring.
Here are a few more shots
I wrote about how I bought this watch in the fabulous finds column.
Hi, some really fantastic Pocket Watches. Regards Ray
Jon, I don't really want to pull the dial on my keyless fusee but I may have to. Here is the text that accompanies it on my collection web site (that I have not yet got on-line).
You may not need to pull the dial. Here are few more shots that show the lock out on Walsh/Hammond 370
The pointer is on a pin that pops up when the bezel is released. This releases a hold on the carriage to engage the winding gears. . The lever to the left of the pointer swings the carriage to engage setting.
It is a very different set up from #311. #370 is in a London AS marked case.
I realize it is a different mechanism. I think of the one you show as Kullberg's adaptation of Fitch's patent and have long admired it. C. E. Jacot actually used it a few times also.
As I said the 311 mechanism provides the same capability in a very similar way but without the release pin. It must be actively moved to winding or setting and the knockout action is from the bezel pushing inward on the lever. At one time the 311 movement was jointed into the case (either the current one or another like it) so I am reasonably sure the keyless works was added later than when the movement was made.
Tom, with reference to T P Hewitt, to whom you refer in Post #10: to the best of my knowledge there never was a 'Lancashire Watch Case Company' and Thomas P Hewitt was the Managing Director of the Lancashire Watch Company. He was the sponsor for cases made by (and possibly for) the Lancashire Watch Company and I have never before seen a TPH marked case that didn't house a LWC movement. That does not mean, of course, that cases were not supplied to other watchmakers, just that I haven't seen one.
Beautiful, beautiful watches!
That watch was one that showed up at J&H and I was remarking on it in passing, so I got a little sloppy. Thanks for the clarification.
I find sponsor marks are confusing to most of my American collector friends. I might have said Lancashire Watch Co. case to be more accurate. I have not studied Lancashire Watch Co. very much although I have had an interest the the English Watch Co. that used a similar "manager sponsor mark" plus in that case an occasional logo. Those cases do seem to be limited to the company's products so their appearance with other contents would be presumed to be a recase.
From what I understand from reading here some of the A P Walsh watches were later conversions to keyless winding, so would it be correct to assume that the cases were probably changed and modified to accommodate the mechanism for winding/hand setting of the watch at the point of conversion?
It is clear that such conversions happened. The question is When and who did it. In Jon's watch, the workmanship and the Stram signature indicates that it was likely done by Walsh or perhaps some other Clerkenwell maker. My example perhaps indicates that someone in Coventry or thereabouts may have done it. Or maybe Walsh did it while on his Summer holiday.
Interesting thoughts Tom and certainly Alfred Stram was a case maker used by the best London tradesmen. Can I ask why it is that you suppose that the work on your watch may have been carried out in Coventry?
Thank you for the question. I just spent a couple of hours studying maps and local commentary on Prescott, Liverpool and Chester to try to figure out what I was thinking when I wrote the original piece.
After that exercise, I have concluded it was likely a fantasy induced by the trip I had made to Coventry shortly before that conflated with what I was learning about the English Watch Co. at the time. I was really impressed by the Rotherhams factory and the small watchmaker shops that comprise the Coventry Watchmakers Museum that was just getting going. I had also just recently bought a couple of Bonniksen signed karrusels and I suppose I had a bit of infatuation with Coventry. I was imagining someone with the idea of making the keyless works but no particular need to impress anyone and the Coventry environment fit that fantasy reasonably well.
I still need to fetch the watch from the bank and take a closer look at the keyless work but, this evening, I would probably guess that the work was done in a similar setting in Liverpool or possibly Prescott. The fact that the other similar example I saw was in a TPH Chester marked case lends some weight to that.
I will get some more concrete data to share.
Thank you for that explanation Tom. The thing that prompted me to ask was that the maker's mark on the case (WR in an oval cameo) I interpret as being most likely that of William Leeming Roskell (the grandson of Robert Snr) and he was a watchmaker and watch case maker in Liverpool. Although Priestley indicates that that mark was first registered in 1874 I know, from my research into the Roskell family that he described himself as a watchmaker and jeweller in the 1861 census and of course, the Chester Assay Office is renowned for its poor record keeping.
The Thomas Peter Hewitt case still puzzles me.
I have always been impressed by Rotherham's factory produced watches; every one that I have handled I have deemed to be very well made and finished.
My theory is that these conversions were done by direction of the maker at order of the customer. These were expensive watches and sold on special order. This Frodsham is in a case dated 1863 which is a keyless fusee but it was clearly converted.
The keyless work was cut into the area where Frodsham has engraved his signature.
It is also possible that this work was done later. The inner cover of the watch which lists its three generations of owners has a later date but I think it more likely that the conversion was made for the original owner.
I suspect that these watches were started on speculation and finished ot order. If the customer wanted a keyless watch they added this when they had the movement cased.
Patek Philippe patented stem wind stem setting in 1845 and it was a huge hit at the 1851 Great London exposition.
In some ways that makes a measure of sense Dr Jon, certainly for the A P Walsh watches as, otherwise there would have been several different designs of conversion. The Chester hallmarked cases intrigue me however.
Adolphe Nicole took out a UK patent (10348) for keyless work in 1844.
Stem winding was patented by Prest. The stem winding and nail or push setting by Nicole. The stem winding and stem setting by Phillipe.
There were a few others with odd mechanisms along the way.
Now that's me getting sloppy! I was focused on the date and instead of checking properly, a quick look in Charles Aked's book and I put mouth in gear before mind in motion.
The important point I was trying to make is that by the time of the sale of these watches stem winding had been available for over twenty years. Most English preferred key wind so if a major seller got an order for a high end keyless, they were likely to have only key wind movements around in these grade and converted them to order.
Keyless fusse by this time ahd been around long enough that all th surivirors I have seen had knockout devices
I resurrected this excellent old thread to share pictures of my latest acquisition. While the American watch that fetched $300,000 garnered most of the attention in last June's auction at Jones & Horan, I acquired this beauty: A. P. Walsh pocket chronometer, SN 263 with original 18K case, mahogany box and 14K chain. The dial is signed "S. Hammond & Co., New York 263" and the case by Frederick Samuel Matthews carries London hallmarks for 1858. The movement, case and dial all carry SN 263. This watch, only my second pocket chronometer purchase, checked all the boxes for me. I always wanted an A. P. Walsh pocket chronometer, and this one was retailed in the US circa 1858, so it would have been available for service during the entire American Civil War - my greatest collecting interest. (I wore my A P Walsh at the opening day seminar of the Civil War timepiece exhibit in Columbia last July 6, as all of my provenance watches were in the exhibit.) At least one Union army major general was known to have carried a Walsh pocket chronometer during the war, but I would rather fancy the possibility that mine might have been carried by a ship's captain in either the Atlantic blockading squadron or the merchant fleet, or it perhaps even might have been used by a blockade runner or a Confederate privateer. (The chances are that none of these things are true, but it is a pleasant daydream, nevertheless.)
Gerrit Nijssen's well-researched 1996 NAWCC Bulletin article includes a table listing 34 Walsh pocket chronometers by serial number, including SN 263. Only 25 of the 34 pocket chronometer entries therein specify the manner of winding and setting, but 13 of those 25 entries are listed as key wind and key set, and at least another 4 entries for which no type of winding and setting is specified can be inferred to have been key wound and set based on the attributes of watches with surrounding serial numbers. Only four pocket chronometer movements in the list, including SN 263, are specified as being set from the front, rather than from the rear. All four of these were retailed by Hammond in New York, and all four are open face watches. SN 263 is the only Walsh pocket chronometer in Gerrit's table for which an original accompanying box is mentioned.
SN 263 is also the lowest numbered movement in Gerrit's table to be listed as having a duo-in-uno hairspring, but that may be an error. It may just have a helical hairspring. The attached pictures are from Jones and Horan, used with their permission.
Congrats Clint, a spectacular acquisition..
I like that winding indicator feature!
Clint - a beautiful watch - envy!
Do you have a photograph of the hallmarks that you could post?
Thank you, John. This isn't the greatest picture of the hallmarks, but it's the one I have. By the way, this was my second pocket chronometer acquisition, so I guess that makes me a "pocket chronometer collector" now.
Unfortunately it's impossible to tell from the picture of the movement whether it has a duo-in-uno balance spring, but when it arrives with you perhaps you'll let us know whether it does have one. Walsh and Hammersley were two of the main specialists in these.
I know, Graham. I've had the watch for some time and as far as I can tell, with my lousy eyesight and not being willing to disassemble the watch, it appears to have only a helical hairspring. That's the way the J&H lot description has it too, so I think Gerrit's table was simply mistaken. I think 1858 was a year or two too early for a duo-in-uno hairspring, anyway. Wasn't it?
Clint, I think you are mistaken, my understanding is that it takes 3 to be recognized as a collector.. 2 is just a pair, 3 is a collection... . Very nice A.P. Walsh example ...
Ok, then I'm safe. Phew!
Clint - much better than many that are posted - the maker's mark is near perfect. I wanted to check that mark against Culme - it is the mark referenced #5128 by him, as in Priestley It was first registered on 11 July 1843.
Here's the entry in Culme - apology if you already have it ...
FSM is first recorded at his 'manufactory' at 14 Rosoman Street, Clerkenwell [11.7.1843], before removing to 8 Yardley Street, Clerkenwell [13.1.1846], where he is listed from 1848 until 1860 as a gold watch case maker. He then moved to 3 Upper Charles Street, Northampton Square, Clerkenwell [19.12.1859 - 2.12.1879], where, listed as a goldsmith from 1862 until 1879, he became bankrupt in 1869 and 1872.
Private addresses: Devonshire Cottage, Ultra grove, Chalk Road [26.6.1845], 3 Mulbury Place, Upper Charles Street Clerkenwell [12.12.1879]
You are probably familiar with the Matthews video - "Four Generations of Watchcase Making - A Profile of Martin Matthews" - tracing the line down to FSM's great grandson Martin, who died in 2013, I believe. Unfortunately, no relation, as far as I know .
Possibly a little early, but Hammersley wrote a letter to the HJ in 1860 regarding this, by which time he'd done his research and was presumably sure of the results.
John, thank you. This was all new information to me. I don’t know if you know this, but the mark “F.M.” turns up fairly frequently on American watchcases from the 1860’s, and to my knowledge, no known attribution has ever been found for that mark. Was Matthews known to have made any cases for the US market? It’s a long shot, I know.
So a watch finished in 1858 might have been right on the edge of possibility, I suppose.
Clint - while I cannot answer your question from my own knowledge, I would expect that any cases made by Matthews in the UK, finding their way to America, would carry a full set of English hallmarks.
I suspect you are referring to cases that are not so marked.
I did a quick search of American holloware [hollow ware] silversmiths and found this here ...
with faux hallmarks - attributed to
I have no evidence that Marquand made watch cases, although I have no doubt his firm would have had the necessary skills. However, even if he did, from the information in the link, I infer that these marks are more likely to be seen in the first half of the C19th. I suspect they are illustrative of what you have in mind.
Thank you for that, John, but I have never seen an American FM case with fake hallmarks, and most were gold, not silver. So somehow it seems unlikely that the FM mark seen on watchcases was Marquand’s.
This subject was discussed in some detail in this previous thread.
Yes indeed. My question started that thread, which is why I concluded that 1858 was probably just a tad too early for a Walsh duo-in-uno hairspring. I can now divulge that I was already eying what is now my Walsh pocket chronometer in what was then the upcoming J&H sale when I started that thread. It would have been a pleasant surprise had my watch had a duo-in-uno hairspring, but I bought the watch assuming it didn’t. A friend of mine had also examined it and called me just before the auction, but he only had had time for a quick look.
Tom or Clint, were all original AP Walsh chronometers cased in gold?
I would love to stumble on one in Sterling.
PS...Ray is in good health, as we all get older.
I would not expect them to be only in gold. It would be unusual for Hammond of Wall Street to sell one in a silver case and it is likely most would have been in gold given the cost of the chronometer itself. It is difficult now to think of when gold was $32/oz but it was in my lifetime.
Of course, it was by definition $20 when double eagles were minted.
Dimock who wrote this interesting anecdote about Sam Hammond also talked about the "good old days" when all currency exchanges were done with bags of gold.
What Tom said.