Barwise Pocket Chronometer Movement

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by SKennedy, Nov 26, 2018.

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  1. SKennedy

    SKennedy Registered User

    Jan 5, 2017
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    A personal project that I recently made some good progress on so I thought I'd share.

    I picked up this movement about 18 months ago. It was in a sorry looking state but I was told the detent was good - as it would prove to be as I didn't really want to have to make one for it - but that the passing spring was gone.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-1.jpg

    The other thing going for it was the mint dial, meaning it could be made into a really good looking watch at some point in the future.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-2.jpg

    On stripping it down I found a nice pair of signatures on the back of the dial.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-3.jpg

    I started off some while back with cleaning up the balance components, not to make them look as new but at least presentable while still showing their age.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-4.jpg

    The larger tasks required were to make a new passing spring and also a new balance staff as the top pivot of the original was gone. I finally got around to doing those a couple of weeks ago. I didn't take any pictures of the spring (or the detent) while it was out of the watch but you can just see it poking out here. It is strange that the original was still partially there but had been bent broken away. It would have been quite a challenge to do this without damaging the detent itself!

    Barwise1472NAWCC-8.jpg

    And then the balance staff, copying the original which lacked oil sinks by either pivot.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-6.jpg

    Barwise1472NAWCC-7.jpg

    Clearly there are still some 'cosmetically challenged' parts but it was great to have it finally ticking last weekend.

    Barwise1472NAWCC-5.jpg

    Primarily I need to decide what to do about the balance spring which has a couple of badly rusted areas and may well be causing it to run quite slow. I think I am going to challenge myself to make a new spring, either using a donor flat spiral steel spring which I will re-temper on a cylindrical former, or perhaps make one from gold wire which would also be period appropriate. Some experimentation will be needed but at least that way I could keep the original intact.

    Talking of which, I'd be interested to hear anyone's views on the date of this. The Barwise serial number would fall in the mid-late 1790s for their watches according to references I've found but this is clearly not that early. 'Early' features to my mind are the screwed on comma shaped winding tube, the relatively thin top plate (which I realise you can't see), the style of the spring on the set up ratchet and the minutes indication on the dial. The detent is a Pennington dovetail but these existed from around 1800. A later feature is the screws rather than pins for the pillars, though movements did exist with these back into the 18th Century. My feeling is 1805-1810 but welcome any comments.

    Seth.
     
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  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hi Seth,

    These are lovely things and quite fascinating to watch running. I wonder if the apparent discrepancy between the serial number and the various escapement components could be accounted for by it being upgraded at some point, as I know many chronometers were. I think screwed plates were introduced by chronometer makers some time before the wider trade adopted them.

    I notice that the wedge-shaped weights have batch numbers marked as tiny punch marks in them, something that @John Matthews is looking at just now.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. SKennedy

    SKennedy Registered User

    Jan 5, 2017
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    Hello Graham,
    I think it was an article in an old AH that had a graph of serial numbers. Some of the watches fall out of place/date and there were not very many dateable (hallmarked cases) early on so it might be that the early numbering was a little random. There's no obvious sign of alteration on the plates, and for it to be pre 1800 it would probably have had to have had a different detent. When I looked I couldn't see a definitive date for when the dovetail ones started but Pennington to whom they are attributed was busy with the Mudge copy project until 1799. Looking at Jonathan Betts' book, even marine chrons were normally pinned plates until later. Maybe the frame was put aside in Barwise's shop in 1796 or whenever and then completed later. Or perhaps there is some significance in the '7' being slightly larger than the other numbers? Perhaps it is no. 147 of 'series 2' and so is altogether later. Perhaps I'll never know!
    Regards,
    Seth
     
  4. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    #4 Allan C. Purcell, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    Hi Seth,-I hace just gone through Alexander Stewart´s article in the AHS March Vol thirty five page 621. From the numbers dated for chronometers, it starts with No.4249 of 1807 No.5254 of 1811 then ends 8280 which he says about 1821. Though Barwise died in 1820-the son could have sold it.So I think the number on your watch would indicate a date before 1800. I also think the address on your watch could tell you more. Best Allan.

    PS; That long seven is quite normal-See below a Verge by Barwise second series.

    IMG_6568.JPG
     
  5. SKennedy

    SKennedy Registered User

    Jan 5, 2017
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    Hello Alan,
    I just came back here as I'd also just been to look again and found that article in AH! St Martins Lane seems to have been the Barwise business address since 1790 so I am not sure that is so much help in dating. Several features are similar to those of the chronometer 5445 pictured in the article eg. the plain balance cock, the winding pipe but note that it has a cut out in the plate to help see the escapement which mine doesn't. I find this a little odd too, as its not easy to see whats happening without it and most (?) chronometers benefit from it. The layout of the train I think makes it possible it was converted from a frame intended to be a duplex so that might explain the early number. The article also references an earlier piece and suggests Pennington supplied Barwise with chronometers from 1804 when he (Pennington) moved to Camberwell. However my reading of that is simply that with the two living closer to one another (Barwise lived there from 1800) the trade between them may have been made simpler. Pennington could well have been supplying him earlier than that.
    Regards,
    Seth
     
  6. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Looked at that St. Martins Lane again,I had remembered in David Thopsons piece on Barwise numbers he only had one watch with St. Martins Lane on it. Then later today I found the watch I was looking for "Barwise St. Martins Lane" but the watch has no number, plus it is an early STR. What this now meens to me is he prefered Barwise London. Lets face it London is far better than the St. Martins address-if yu dont know London.What you can say the St. Martins Address ment something for the Barwise family, my STR, I think was made after John Barwise died in 1820 Your watch though remains a very nice find. .Best wishes Allan
     

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