Eardley Norton pocket watch: Fake or Real?

Ian Crouch

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May 10, 2011
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Several years ago whilst travelling through Chile I bought this Eardley Norton pocket watch with the aim of having it repaired and restored. However, having spent some time reading through the many threads on this maker, I am no longer sure if this timepiece is original or a fake! Before going to any great expense on repairing this pocket watch, I would like to get the opinion of the group whether it could be a genuine Eardley Norton and if it is worth fixing. There are some obvious flaws with the watch, including the incorrect glass, broken fusee chain and several other issues, but I do have the services of a skilled watchmaker who is familiar with these watches and should be able to make any damaged or missing part. Unfortunately, I no longer have the dust cover!

Looking forward to your comments and advice. Please feel free to request a picture at a particular angle if I have missed anything.

Regards
Ian

EN 5.jpg EN 7.jpg EN 9.jpg EN 8a.jpg EN11.jpg EN 4.jpg EN 1.jpg EN 2.jpg EN 13.jpg EN 17.jpg EN 22.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Ian,

Well, the case hallmarks look genuine enough, London 1774/5, case maker possibly David Pullin, but this maker was using 'D•P' from 1758, (note the pellet between the letters), although since the mark is pretty rubbed it may have been there originally. (Information from Priestley). Although the hands are later replacements, the dial and the cases look right for this date and are in very good condition. The bow looks like a later replacement as well, but hands and bows were often damaged or worn out and could be restored. The hands were originally 'beetle & poker', probably in blue steel.

The movement matches the date, with square pillars, which were beginning to fall out of fashion by this time. The engraving on the balance cock and slide plate are decent quality work, and again right for the date. I can see no reason to doubt that this is by Eardley Norton, who's recorded as working between 1760 and 1794.

The solder on the barrel is worrying, the balance endstone setting is modern, the case bolt is missing and the follower is possibly a replacement, but apart from a few later screws, everything else looks quite respectable. Nothing that can't be sorted out by your watchmaker. I'd say it's well worth restoring.

It's good to see such clear pictures by the way.

Regards,

Graham
 

Ian Crouch

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May 10, 2011
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Hi Graham

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post with such detailed and relevant information. It is most appreciated and I am pleased that you believe it to be genuine. While not without several faults, it is still a beautiful time piece and I will see if I can get it restored and working again. I will certainly keep you updated on any progress.

Regards
Ian
 

Rich Newman

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Wonderful to see that the original dial has survived all these years in very good condition. They were often damaged when setting the time or opening the movement to regulate timekeeping. Wondering if you have any history on the watch and how it ended up in Chile?
 

Ian Crouch

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May 10, 2011
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Wonderful to see that the original dial has survived all these years in very good condition. They were often damaged when setting the time or opening the movement to regulate timekeeping. Wondering if you have any history on the watch and how it ended up in Chile?
Hi Rich

I bought the watch about ten years ago while on a business trip to Santiago. While having a walk I ended up in a small antiques arcade and found the watch in a small shop. As the owner only spoke Spanish I was not able to get any info but have often wondered how an 18th century English pocket watch ended up so for from London. It’s a pity that there is no way of knowing!
 

gmorse

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Hi Rich,

They were often damaged when setting the time or opening the movement to regulate timekeeping.
This one has abandoned the feature from the older champlevé style, in which the case bolt fitted through a slot in the dial just under the VI. This was fine on metal dials but not such a good idea on enamel ones; it's rare to find an enamel dial with this slot where there isn't any flaking or cracking round it. Putting the bolt in a cut-out in the case saved the dial but didn't do the same for the hands, which were still vulnerable to a slipped finger.

Regards,

Graham
 
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DeanT

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I know very little (aka nothing!) about pocket watches (as Graham would know!) but I do have a lot of information about Eardley Norton who was one of the best clock/watchmakers of the 2nd half of the 18thC and have documented about 50 of his bracket clocks. I can't tell you anything about the pocketwatch other than to say Eardley's name was the most faked name in the 18thC by the Swiss so definitely worth getting the experts opinion. He produced a lot clocks for the export market (particularly Russia) and I've seen his name on musical bracket clocks found in South America before so can't say I'm surprised to see a pocketwatch from there.

It looks nice!

Cheers
Dean
 

novicetimekeeper

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What I find so fascinating about the watch is the name on the dial. You see this style on the fakes, and at a time when I believe signed enamel dials were unusual. It is interesting, to me, to see that those fakes were copying what Norton actually did.

I think Norton was ahead of his competitors on marketing and the fakers clearly picked up on that.

While on the subject of forgeries some are very well made and it seems a shame now because we would appreciate them more if they were honest watches.
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear Horological friends,

I have since many years this Eardley Norton quarter repeater in my collection. It´s a rather nice watch but I guess It´s a fake but in my opinion a rather good one....

Verge escapement and a silver case with hallmarks that are difficult to read...

Looking forward to read comments regarding the difference between a genuine Norton pocket watch and this watch .......

Best regards
Peter B.:)

Eardly Norton 001.jpg Eardly Norton 003.jpg P1430872.JPG P1430872 - kopia.JPG Eardly Norton 021.jpg Eardly Norton 021 - kopia.jpg View attachment 616796 P1430867.JPG P1430865.JPG P1430869.JPG Eardly Norton 005.jpg Eardly Norton 010.jpg
 
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gmorse

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Hi Peter,

I can't identify the case hallmarks as English, and if that steel setting on the cock table is original, as it appears to be, then along with other more subtle elements, I doubt if the movement is English either. Can you take a picture into the edge of the movement where the contrate wheel is, please?

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi Peter,

Thanks, your first picture answers my unspoken question, which was the type of escape wheel outer pivot mounting, (the 'follower'); I believe I can see a screw just over the contrate wheel, which is for adjusting the engagement of the escape wheel with the verge flags and suggests a continental origin for this movement. It's practically unknown for this to be used in an English movement.

Regards,

Graham
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear Graham,

I have to find this watch in my deposit box to check this. Perhaps next week...

I wonder regarding the regulation of speed and "V" + "I" ?

Rgds
Peter B.

Eardly Norton 021 - kopia.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Dan,

That would be French Vite/Lent fast/slow
Thanks for spotting that, it further confirms that this movement wasn't made in the UK. However, as I think has been pointed out before, it's not a bad piece of work in its own right.

Regards,

Graham
 

Lychnobius

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It would seem, then, that this watch has two separate means of regulation! If Peter can find the watch, it would be most interesting to have another side view showing what is between the plates directly under the 'V/L' pointer. The only parallel to this feature I have seen is in a very exotic month-going watch by Ferdinand Berthoud illustrated in David Thompson's book on watches in the British Museum; in this the pointer is missing or was never fitted, but the scale is very like the one shown here.

Oliver Mundy.
 

gmorse

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Hi Oliver,

The regulator in question governs the speed of striking for the repeater mechanism and is unconnected with the timekeeping function. The indicator is attached to an eccentric plug carrying the upper pivot of the final 'blind' pinion of the repeating train, and alters the engagement of that with the previous wheel, thus modifying the friction and hence the speed of striking.

DSCF3629.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 
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Halda Sweden

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Dear Horological friends!

Thank you for valuable comments from all of you.

Is there any photos out there on a genuine quarter repeating Eardley Norton pocket watch to compare with?

Best regards
Peter B.:)
 

gmorse

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Hi Peter,

Is there any photos out there on a genuine quarter repeating Eardley Norton pocket watch to compare with?
I'm afraid I can't supply pictures of an Eardley Norton, but this is a typical English quarter repeater from the 1770s; the design of these changed very little over time, so I'd expect the repeating work in a 'real' Norton to look very similar.

DSCF3423.JPG DSCF3425.JPG DSCF3426.JPG DSCF3427.JPG DSCF3431.JPG DSCF3432.JPG DSCF3433.JPG DSCF3434.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 
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gmorse

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Hi Peter,

In the section of the patent on repeating watches, John Robey states:

"All three watches are operated manually by depressing the pendant and then turning a knurled knob on either the pendant or at the lower end of the watch to sound the bells."

By the date of this patent, 1771, this type of repeating was largely abandoned. Indeed, of the two competing repeating watches presented to James II around 1687 by Tompion and Quare, the king chose the Quare because it only required a single push to sound both hours and quarters, whereas the Tompion required two separate actions. There were alternative systems, notably that by Stogden, but they all operated on a single push, so I'm not surprised that none of these Norton complications appear to have been made, or if they were, failed to survive.

I don't know how many of the numerous horological patents taken out over the years were actually realised in working watches, but I suspect that there were a good many that were never made.

Regards,

Graham
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear Graham,

Interesting info as usual!

Original Eardley Norton repeaters seems rare. I searched a lot but it´s very hard to find pictures on movements made by EN.
I would love to see pictures or a link to original Norton pocket watch movements..

Best regards
Peter B.:)
 

Lychnobius

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Hi Oliver,

The regulator in question governs the speed of striking for the repeater mechanism and is unconnected with the timekeeping function. The indicator is attached to an eccentric plug carrying the upper pivot of the final 'blind' pinion of the repeating train, and alters the engagement of that with the previous wheel, thus modifying the friction and hence the speed of striking.

View attachment 617031

Regards,

Graham
Thank you, Graham; I should have thought of that! I have of course seen the corresponding adjuster on English repeaters, where there is usually no scale or pointer and the plug is slotted for a screwdriver instead of being squared for a key. Incidentally, you have solved a puzzle for me in the Berthoud watch I mentioned, where for some reason the letter L is engraved back to front; I had been reading the V and L upside-down and interpreting them as the Greek letters Gamma and Lambda!

Oliver Mundy.
 

gmorse

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Hi Oliver,

...where there is usually no scale or pointer and the plug is slotted for a screwdriver instead of being squared for a key...
And perhaps less temptation for the owner to tinker with it!

Regards,

Graham
 

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