Barrauds chronometer question

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Toptime, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. Toptime

    Toptime Registered User

    Mar 8, 2019
    5
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Hi,

    I have recently acquired a Barrauds pocket chronometer 2/579 and I have a few questions.

    I am a wristwatch collector and acquired this piece by default so forgive my complete ignorance.

    Firstly the seconds subdial is beneath the 12 rather than above the 6. Does anyone know the reason for this ?

    More importantly the watch winds counter clockwise, but it does not start ticking until I tap the balance wheel with my finger or a screwdriver. Then it starts running until the power expires. I've just had it running for 12 hours and it keeps good time. However, I can't work out why it only does so once I interfere with the wheel .

    Any pointers as to what might be wrong would be hugely appreciated.

    I have attached pictures in case that helps

    20190305_101127.jpg 20190305_085357.jpg 20190305_085357.jpg
     
  2. River rat

    River rat Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    549
    100
    43
    Nice watch. What size is the movement ?. Most full size chronometers in gimble boxes you have to push start the balance wheel after you wind it from a dead stop. Wonder if that watch started out in a gimble box due to the second bit being at the twelve. And all full size chronometers wind that way even the key only lets you wind it that way you try to wind it the other way the top part of the key just turns with out moving the bottom part to prevent damage on my Hamilton model 21 chronometer. Never had a early pocket watch version like yours some one her I bet can help you with more info on yours.
     
  3. Toptime

    Toptime Registered User

    Mar 8, 2019
    5
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Thanks :)

    Outer case is 59mm in diameter which is why I assumed it to be a pocket chrono rather than a deck watch, but as I said before I'm a complete novice in this area
     
  4. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,710
    1,280
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Your watch is called a "hanging detent" pocket chronometer. Pennington made a series of thes for Barraud in the 1800 to 1820 time frame. The idea behind the odd configuration was that the detent spring would be supported at the top by the pendant and gravity would have less of an effect on it. All that was done was that the joint for the movement in the case was moved to the opposite side of the movement. when viewed from the back.

    It is not really a good idea to poke at a chronometer balance. It is recommended to give the piece a sharp twist to get the balance going. That is true both for pocket and marine chronometers. If you really feel the need to move the balance, an artists brush is pretty safe.

    Here is a link to a similar chronometer in my collection AWCo Web
     
    124Spider and Toptime like this.
  5. Toptime

    Toptime Registered User

    Mar 8, 2019
    5
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Wow.Thank you Tom. So if I understand
    Wow .Thank you for that Tom. So, if I understand correctly there is nothing " wrong " with the watch? Initially I expected it to start ticking after winding with the key.

    There is one weird thing though. The case is silver and hallmarked for 1827 which is 10-20 years after your estimated date of manufacture.

    The casemaker Joseph Dewin was based in Farringdon which is just a few minutes walk from Cornhill.

    Is it plausible that the 10 or 20 year old watch was returned to Barrauds in 1827 for the 19th century equivalent of a service, and that a replacement case was issued?

    Thank you again.
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,241
    1,031
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Toptime, and welcome to the forum,

    This is certainly a pocket chronometer, signed for a very eminent maker, and although the case hallmarks aren't terribly clear, I think they're for London, 1827/8, and the maker is probably Joseph Dewin at 35 Charlotte Street, City Road, first registered on 1st December 1824.

    The 'hanging detent' design was intended, as Tom says, to reduce the effects of gravity on the escapement when in the pocket in the pendant up position. There's another chronometer by Barraud with this feature in David Penney's archive here. Yours also has a Pennington 'double L' type balance with the two affixes which are designed to secure the free ends of the rim when adjustments are being made to the screws; it has nothing to do with compensating for middle temperature error.

    Although detent escapements aren't necessarily self-starting in the same way as detached levers, it should only need a swing to get it going; as Tom wisely points out, it's a very bad idea to touch the balance wheel with anything. The balance is relatively heavy, with very fine pivots, and there are other delicate parts, such as the locking stone. If it does show reluctance to start, but will run once started, it could well be that it's simply in need of a clean and overhaul, but if you aren't familiar with detent escapements it's best left to someone who is. You can do a lot of expensive damage before you realise what's happened!

    This is a fine instrument, treat it with care!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,241
    1,031
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Toptime,

    Barrauds did upgrade their own watches on occasion, and a re-case after only 10 years or so could have been done as part of other work on the watch. Another possible factor is that pocket chronometers were always expensive items and only affordable by the very well-off, so it could have sat in stock for some time before being cased.

    By the way, I don't believe the hands are original, but that's not a big issue.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. Toptime

    Toptime Registered User

    Mar 8, 2019
    5
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    I feel like the guy who phones IT support because his computer isn't working and gets asked whether it's plugged in.

    Just gave it a firm tilt and it's ticking away sweetly .

    Thanks
     
  9. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 14, 2001
    5,376
    178
    63
    Aerospace Engineer
    New Hampshire
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Just to clarify. This is a detent chronometer. These are not self starting, as in NEVER self starting. During their heyday this "feature" was usually regarded as beneficial because it would stop if jarred or upset or allowed to run down, indicating a problem. Navies liked this because letting a chronometer run down was a very serious offense and if a quartermaster wound and it started navigation would be wrong potentially lethally. Better to know you had a problem and flog the quartermaster.

    This feature was more debatable for pocket use and English and Swiss makers tried for over a century to make a self starting detent chronometer. A German independent has made one which does this by sensing a low power condition and trapping the balance off center. Winding releases it and it starts.

    I am a bit less reluctant to touch a chronometer balance. I use a fine paint brush to to start it (bristle end), although a quick twist also works. Still, breaking a balance pivot is potentially a lot worse on a detent chronometer because you may also trip the detent is such a way the escape wheel breaks the locking jewel.

    Your chronometer winds counter clockwise as do most English detent chronometers because it has a fusee. Wrist watches all wind the mainspring barrel. On wrist watches the mainspring is wound from its center, With a fusee yo wind the watch by winding the chain off the mainspring barrel on the fusee and the timepiece runs as the mainspring pulls the chain back around the barrel. The mainspring get would from the outside and the opposite direction from when it runs the watch. This method of wind requires yet another clever bit, called maintaining power. The fusee has a small spring in its hub to provide power when in winding the mainspring barrel to opposite way from from its power direction. There is lot going on your masterpiece of 19 century horology.

    Nice item
     
    tick talk and gmorse like this.
  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,241
    1,031
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Toptime,

    I do know what you mean, but sometimes, when we don't necessarily have a good idea of a new poster's level of knowledge or expertise, we start with the basics and work up from there. It's not intended to offend, and it can save misunderstandings later.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. Toptime

    Toptime Registered User

    Mar 8, 2019
    5
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Hi Graham,

    I was mocking myself . You guys are a font of knowledge . I'm into 1960s chronographs. I often wonder whether their popularity will wane soon.

    Then I see you guys keeping alive knowledge and passion for masterpieces from the early 1800s and it makes me feel good.

    Thanks to everyone in this thread. Amazing community
     
  12. TJ Cornish

    TJ Cornish Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 12, 2013
    288
    32
    28
    St. Paul, MN
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I just wanted to comment that this is a really cool piece. Congrats!
     

Share This Page