Another M.I. Tobias pocket watch with questions

Rodney Leon

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Jun 29, 2020
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M.I. Tobias. 17 jewel? Movement. in a 1889 Hallmarked case. Can not find the maker it is stamped HG. Dust cover marked For Bailey and Co. Philadelphia. M. I. Tobias. Movement Number, 42992, The cockfoot is also stamped with the number but also has a C shape with a circle and a T stamped in it I think, not real sharp. It has a single sunk dial with tulip hands, Marked M.I. Tobias, Liverpool, For Bailey and CO. I found in the Tobias articles in the 1992 Bulletin, By: Michael Edidin He said "Few M. I. Tobias watches are found in original English cases after 1828. There do exist some recased watches in purpose-made English cases of the late nineteenth century. These could be movements that found their way back to England from America." I think this must be a later case for this watch. Is there anyway of telling the date of the movement? Also any information on Bailey and Co. Philadelphia in the U.S. were they dealers for Tobias and engrave the dust cases on the watches when they got them? I bought the watch from a dealer in England so somehow it made it back. The last question is this a real one or a faked one, I would not know how to tell after reading many articles on them. Thanks Rodney

case movement.jpg dial.jpg DSC_3188.jpg DSC_3196.jpg dust cover.jpg movement cf.jpg movement.jpg
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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The case carries the London hallmarks for 1889/90 and the maker's mark is that of Henry Green trading as Jenkins and Green 15 President Street East, Clerkenwell.

The serial number is the highest I have recorded, but the date is compatible with #42716 that is in an London case dated 1888/89. I have no reason to doubt that the movement is original. The #4000 series all appear to have been for the American market. I have seen the 'Co' stamp with the 'o' inside the 'C' on the underside of the cock foot on other Liverpool movements from ~1870 - I have no record of it on another Tobias movement but it is rare to have a photograph of the underside of the cock. This 'straight cock' is found on Tobias movements from ~#27500.

Bailey & Co is listed in Spittlers between 1846-1878 and then as Bailey, Banks & Biddle Co - Google search will be productive.

John
 

Lychnobius

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Aug 5, 2015
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Is there a suggestion that this movement could actually have been newly-made in 1888? I cannot profess to be a Tobias expert, but all my experience, such as it is, urges me to place it between twenty and thirty-five years earlier. Among my Johnson records I have two examples of cock designs virtually identical to that of Rodney's watch, namely Nos. 16394 and 17438 (see below); interestingly, both have American connections. The case of 17438, by the U.S. firm of Durand Carter & Co., actually bears a patent date of June 1858, while for 16394 I have a note that the retailers, W. H. Talbott, were active in the 1850s. Moreover, for whatever it may be worth, I have similar hallmark dates for two Johnsons with much higher serial numbers: 1861 for 30309 and 1857 for 32487. 30309 is one of my own watches and I can vouch for the genuineness of the case and its having been made specifically for this movement.

Oliver Mundy.

johnson_16394_back.jpg johnson_16394_cap.jpg johnson_17438_case_sign_durand_carter.jpg johnson_17438_movt.jpg
 

Rodney Leon

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I have two examples of cock designs virtually identical to that of Rodney's watch, namely Nos. 16394 and 17438
They do look the same other than the diamond end stone, 3 screws on the Tobias, 2 on the Johnsons. Amazing they copy each other, or do they buy those from a dealer that makes them for watchmakers? (If you know) They look like really nice movements you have. Is the dial marked with Durand Carter & Co on it? I will have to keep an eye out for one some day. Thanks
 

Lychnobius

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British and European watchmaking involved a host of specialised workshops, each concentrating on one part or one aspect of manufacture; probably watch-cocks were machined in one workshop and, later, decorated in another, and each of the craftsmen concerned would in turn have been employed by a number of different 'watchmakers'. Thus the same engraved motifs turn up on watches signed by several different Liverpool manufacturers.

The dial of No. 17438 is signed 'Jos'h Johnson / 25 / Church Street / Liverpool'. I believe Durand Carter were purely casemakers, not watch-retailers like Bailey & Co. or W. H. Talbott, and so there was no occasion to put their name on the dial as has been done in the instance of Rodney's watch.

Oliver Mundy.
 
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John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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Is there a suggestion that this movement could actually have been newly-made in 1888? I cannot profess to be a Tobias expert, but all my experience, such as it is, urges me to place it between twenty and thirty-five years earlier.
No, that is not the inference that I make. The inference I make is that the watch was finished at the later date, but the frame was made earlier. I have come to realise, partly because of the acquisition of a large collection of unfinished movements, that the 'entrepreneurial activities' of those responsible for taking finished watches to market continued long after the original frames were made. I suspect that this particular frame, minus the escapement, was made earlier and the finishing (which is when the Co stamp was added by the escapement maker) was done and cased in the 1880s. I have no difficulty in inferring that at times, following falling sales, watches were being finished based on Lancashire frames that had been made many years earlier.

John
 

Rodney Leon

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Jun 29, 2020
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I have no record of it on another Tobias movement but it is rare to have a photograph of the underside of the cock. This 'straight cock' is found on Tobias movements from ~#27500.
I have a better photo of the Cock Foot, I put the front and back in one photo. a little sharper.

42992.jpg
 
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