Edward East watch - London, end 17th century

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by rstl99, Apr 23, 2018.

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  1. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Robert, I came across these today, they are from "Catalouge of Watches" J.pierpont Morgan Collection.A huge tomb of very early European watches, mostly though French and English, Thought you would like to see what they had to say about East in 1912. Allan.

    IMG_5070.JPG IMG_5062.JPG IMG_5063.JPG IMG_5065.JPG IMG_5064 (2).JPG IMG_5064 (3).JPG IMG_5066 (2).JPG IMG_5066 (3).JPG
     
  2. rstl99

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    Thanks for sharing a page of your notebook Graham. Indeed, that kind of information is invaluable and I need to be more disciplined about documenting the watches I work on, even though they are only mine.
    Making a replacement cylinder, pretty impressive!
    Cheers
    --Robert
     
  3. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Allan,
    Thank you for taking the time to include fascimiles of those pages from that Morgan catalogue, which looks like a most impressive tome.
    Interesting indeed to read what the thinking was on Edward East at that time, in particular that he had died "in 1701 at the age of 84". Of course, that poses a serious problem given, as Alan Lloyd wrote in 1950, "that would make him only 14 at the time East was appointed assistant to the clockmakers, which is of course impossible".
    Putting that minor biographical anomaly aside, it's always interesting for me to read what horological "experts" and commentators said about certain watch-clockmakers in the past.
    Best regards
    --Robert
     
  4. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    ...a little aside...
    (My last response raises a bit of a little issue I have with naming horological practitioners in the past.

    The French refer to practitioners who made both clocks and/or watches as "Horloger". I find this simple and elegant.

    The English have two words, whether you made clocks (clockmaker) or watches (watchmaker).
    But when you want to refer to someone who made BOTH clocks and watches, how do you refer to him? I usually tend to say "clock-watchmaker" (not wanting to single out one over the other) but was wondering if other people defer to "clockmaker" or "watchmaker"?

    Most of the great names in the English "golden age" (East, Tompion, Quare, etc etc.) made both types of timepieces, so what do we call them, and why?

    Wondering...
    --Robert)
     
  5. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Last Chritmas, I wrote up my thoughts on that very point.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    I will drop you a PM later-I have some new info on Ho Ho Birds. Best Allan.

    PS; A. Lloyd said East died 1696/7
     
  7. novicetimekeeper

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    it probably reflects your interests, I think of them as clockmakers who made watches. Obviously Charles II thought of him as a watchmaker.
     
  8. rstl99

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    "artful aficionado of horology", has a nice ring to it! Thanks for sharing. I must have missed that last Christmas...

    Yes, I probably mentioned Lloyd's 1950 article ("The one and only Edward East") in the early part of this thread, and indeed he states more realistic dates for East's birth and death. His life spanned almost the entire century, which is remarkable considering the average lifespan in that era, and also given those minor little troubles like the Plague and the Great Fire that he somehow just breezed through...
     
  9. rstl99

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    You probably have a point. I suppose it was more common through the centuries to have clockmakers eventually start making watches (part of the evolution to make timepieces smaller and more portable), then the other way around. Eventually, as decades passed, some of them made a lot more watches than clocks, and eventually made only watches. There are probably some well-researched statistics out there about what proportion of famous clock-watchmakers's outputs were clocks, and what proportion were watches. And to what degree did each segment contribute to the bottom line of the clock-watchmaker's livelihood, or to the quantity of work given out to his apprentices, journeymen, and to the various specialists who made individual components to go into those timepieces. My general impression is that watches probably rather quickly became the primary source of revenue for the various facets and professions in the overall horology trade. It's been said (rather simply if not bluntly) that the first part of East's life and output was largely devoted to making clocks, and the last part to making watches.
    --Robert
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    yes, and they would have signed far more watches than clocks. However of the late 17th century output perhaps there are as many clocks as watches remaining.
     
  11. rstl99

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    Indeed, clocks tended to have a much higher survivability rate (unless the house went up in flames!). There were just so many ways a watch could get lost, stolen, destroyed, discarded, pawned, etc., not to mention sacrificed for metal value in gold or silver in lean years. In Chapiro's book on French watches, he estimates that perhaps only 2-3% of watches produced by most watchmakers in the 18th century have survived the ravages of time. Prized makers like Breguet probably have higher survival rates than the average, and at the other extreme there is probably next to nothing left of the works of marginal, now completely forgotten makers. I own a few of the latter, and they are very valuable to me, because they may be one of the only surviving works of honest men who toiled at watchmaking all their lives.
    --Robert
     
  12. rstl99

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    Not much to add, been busy on other things, it being springtime here.
    A few pictures of the plates with the cleaned cock installed.
    The last photo is a zoomed portion to the right of the signature, where I'm sure I'm seeing something in the random marks around the post that isn't really there, but it does look like the numbers "691", which tantalizingly suggests a tiny inscription of a possible manufacturing date (1691).
    --Robert

    IMG_0085.jpg IMG_0092.jpg IMG_0094.jpg 1691date?.jpg
     
  13. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    That was a joke about "691" - I doubt those random marks represent numbers at all, still it was funny for my eyes to make that interpretation from random marks. o_O
     
  14. Omexa

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    #164 Omexa, May 20, 2018
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    Hi, I have a pretty good imagination; look at photo? Squint your eyes. It is in the right place for a Serial Number. Regards Ray

    2691date_.jpg
     
  15. rstl99

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    Hi Ray,
    Well, maybe there is something there after all, or you and I have overactive imaginations!! ;-)
    I remember reading somewhere that another watchmaker of that period (Tompion?) was the first to engrave serial numbers on his watch (or was it clock?) movements. That's why _my_ imagination went to the date instead, as this watch does appear to be very late in East's life/career (late 80's early 90's).
    But those marks DO look like numbers don't they? Then again I could have swore I saw Lady Gaga's profile in my latté this afternoon... :D
    Cheers,
    --Robert
     
  16. rstl99

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    On a more serious note, I recently corresponded with a horology curator of a major museum about this East watch, and his advice, which I will heed, was to conserve/preserve it, and not attempt to restore it into a working timepiece. To clean it well, not oil the movement it since it won't need to run (and because that oil would be something else to clean down the road), store it in a clean place with stable temperature and humidity, and maybe add a bit of oil to parts that had some surface rust on them, to prevent recurrence. That advice makes a lot of sense to me, for this incomplete watch of nevertheless important historical significance: to preserve it for future horology enthusiasts and historians.
    --Robert
     
  17. rstl99

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    For reference/historical purposes, I tried to measure the (balance) hairspring on this watch.
    Thickness (measured): 0.002" (0.051mm)
    Width (estimated): 0.009" (0.229mm)
    Length: cannot measure
    The hairspring goes around 1 and 1/2 or 3/4 around the central axis, which denotes that it is quite an early type of hairspring used in watches in the late 17th century.

    IMG_0082.jpg
     
  18. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi, most horology curators (like counter jumpers in hardware shops nowadays) of major museums would not know their A-hole from their Elbow. It is a waste of time and effort if you do not get it going. Museums mostly have static exhibits. Regards Ray
     
  19. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I'm with Ray in post # 168! I've never seen a rare paper weight.


    Keith R...
     
  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    This is certainly an early hairspring but it's impossible to say whether it's the original one. Even with microscopic examination it would be very hard to say one way or the other.

    On the conservation/restoration question, I think it would indeed be wonderful to see this watch running again, but with the absolute minimum of intervention and certainly no alteration of the fabric. If that doesn't prive feasible without breaking one of these principles then stabilisation is a reasonable compromise. Most of us will never see a watch of this age or importance and our normal reflexes to "get it running again" don't necessarily apply in this context.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  21. rstl99

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    Hi Graham,
    I agree it's likely impossible to know whether the hairspring on this watch is original or not, but if it was replaced, it was certainly done in a manner which respects the original configuration that would have allowed the watch to run with as much precision as could be allowed with the practices of the day. I'm not very knowledgeable about what preceded the use of the hairspring, but looking at its small dimensions, is it fair to say that the hairspring, when introduced after Huygens/Hooke's "invention", was pushing the limit of miniature metal spring manufacturing available at the time?

    I think you've put it very well about the conservation/restoration issue. I will make an effort to get the watch ticking again, after replacing the mainspring and repairing the fusee chain end, but will be perfectly content to stabilize/preserve it should I be unable to achieve success, given my current knowledge and skills limitations, without compromising "the fabric".

    Best regards,
    --Robert
     
  22. novicetimekeeper

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    I thought nothing preceded the hairspring, as in before that there was no spring just the balance wheel, which came from clocks. Before that the verge and foliot.

    Chamber clocks, the original domestic weight driven clocks were balance wheel and later verge pendulum.

    The renaissance tower clocks Dean collects were spring driven and balance wheel with a hog's bristle regulator. (I believe in the US a tower clock is what we call a turret clock, but these tower clocks are small spring driven table clocks)
     
  23. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    Nick's comment about the hog's bristle also applies to early watches. There's a thread here which refers to Peter Melanchthon's watch and you can see in some of the images that there's a bristle mounted on the top plate which acts as a sort of banking to the bar balance, its springiness giving the balance some 'bounce' at the end of its travel.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  24. rstl99

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    #174 rstl99, Jun 29, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    Brief return to the East movement, the springtime lawn and garden tasks having abated. I'm re-looking at the disassembled parts, refamiliarizing myself with them before proper cleaning and re-assembly.

    First, a couple of closeup photos of the center wheel arbor pinion, showing a repair to the pinion, which consisted of attaching a small piece through the wheel and shaping it to replace the functionality of the missing tooth on the pinion. There is that other hole nearby which makes me wonder if the repairer did not firstly make the hole at the wrong place, to insert the repair piece?

    Secondly, some closeups of the worm regulator system. The main piece, the long shaft with the worm thread in the center, makes me marvel at the skills of the watchmaker, to be able to turn such an intricate piece (only 2 cm long) on a small lathe of that era (likely a set of turns with hand graver and bow). And the piece that the shaft fits into at the winding end, and serves to attach to the plate, is also an intricate piece of metalwork for the period, including the sharp-edged lip at the top which must be there for a reason that escapes me at this time.

    IMG_0068.jpg IMG_0069.jpg IMG_0070.jpg IMG_0071.jpg IMG_0072.jpg
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    The repair to the centre pinion is similar to something I've come across before, but on a contrate pinion which is under much less pressure.

    DSCF3012.JPG DSCF3015.JPG DSCF3017.JPG

    I think that nib on the tangent screw bridge seems to be merely decorative, in common with several other little touches on the screws and the tangent screw itself.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  26. rstl99

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    Hi Graham,
    Interesting that you've come across a similar repair before. There certainly were some creative watch-repairmen out there in the past. I suppose that kind of repair may be looked upon as not the "proper" way to address the issue (which I expect would be to make and fit a new pinion and maybe arbor. But what the heck, the repair job has probably lasted for longer than two or three of my lifetimes so that's not too bad. ;-)

    Oh, interesting to think that nib may be just decorative, I thought there would have had to be a reason for it. Funny, as I was looking at the tangent screw and the bridge, I was telling myself that these old watch components were a pure example of "form follows function", and then the watchmaker spoils my theory with this little flourish of a nib...

    Cheers
    --Robert
     
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    One part which was often quite decorative was the case bolt spring, at this time usually made in one piece with the bolt itself, with some ornamental flourishes on the tail of the spring, (and on the screw itself), where it was screwed to the plate. I'm not sure whether this part is still present on your East.

    DSCF1734.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  28. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Graham, no the case bolt spring is no longer present on my watch, but that example you showed is quite impressive in its detailed design and execution. I do have a screw similar to the one above the spring in your photo, holding the rather basic spring for the fusee stop. Those screws are pretty impressive little decoratively turned objects too. I admire that kind of attention to details that eventually diminished if not disappeared in later eras.
     
  29. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Very interesting thread. Thanks for posting.
     
  30. novicetimekeeper

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    I picked up again where the thread appeared on my screen and re read some older posts. I've read a lot more books since then and now know that ehat we call clocks were originally called watches too so there is less of a distinction than I thought if you go back to the early days.
     
  31. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    I noticed you posted here, and thought whats he up to? You are quite right as well-Over here in Germany the say UHREN its a machine that tells time-Uhrmaker is someone who makes clocks or watches or both. Example if I buy a wrist watch, I have bought an Arnbanduhr, if I buy an old church clock I have bought a Turmuhr. and so on.
     
  32. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Interesting. I had noticed the term uhren was used inter changeably for clocks and watches. What does Turmchenuhr translate to? It's a term often used for renaissance table clocks.
     
  33. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    It's the diminutive of turret
     
  34. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Though Nick is correct-I thought a photogeph -"is worth a thousand words"
    IMG_1237.JPG
     
  35. novicetimekeeper

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    That's a bit of a stretch applying chen to that, it must be ten times the height of some of Dean's.
     
  36. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    ISAAC HABRECHT FABER AVTOMATA RIVS ET CIVIS ARGENTORATENSIS 1589
     
  37. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    #187 Allan C. Purcell, Feb 11, 2019 at 8:01 AM
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 8:08 AM
    Correct British Museum London - its a towerchen- quick guess 74 CM high. Nick next time you are in there give my very best wishes to Laura and Oliver-and tell them I said you can be trusted in cellar-its full ofTowerchen´s (Maybe half a dozen)
    When you have walked up the stairs to Big Ben-you will know what a Turmchen is gentleman- Especially when you are 75 years old.

    IMG_1241.JPG


    IMG_1206 (3).JPG

    IMG_1204 (4).JPG
     
  38. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Its 140cm high! Massive.....

    They have a cellar full of these clocks that you can visit?

    Cheers
    Dean
     
  39. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Half a dozen? They nearly have as many as you Dean!
     
  40. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hmmm, seems the "Edward East" thread has gone off into a new dimension ;)
    I was recently looking at some of its components again, pondering eventual re-assembly.
    Attached are 4 photos of the crown/escape wheel (to bring things back to East).
    The fine pivot on the counter-potence side is admirably done, and I compare it to a European sewing needle for size.
    Cheers,
    --Robert

    crownwheel1.JPG crownwheel2.JPG crownwheel3.JPG crownwheel4.JPG
     
  41. novicetimekeeper

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    Is it my imagination, or is that a different proportion to later verge watch crownwheels? I always think of them as being deeper
     
  42. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    The proportions do look different, but I think it's probably due to this one having a larger diameter than the later ones.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  43. novicetimekeeper

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    If it weren't for the pinion being up by the crownwheel I could have thought it from a clock!
     
  44. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Have you a photograph of the paddles Robert-are the rounded or flat?
     
  45. rstl99

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    Glad to see there's still interest in the old East.
    I aim to please, so to answer questions:
    1. outside diameter of crown wheel: 9.6 mm
    2. length of crown wheel arbor (pivot end to pivot end): 12.2 mm
    Photos attached of one of the verge escape pallets (front and back).
    Photo of balance, crown and contrate wheels.
    Not much about this watch I haven't shown you all, on this thread.

    If I lived in or near London, I'd volunteer some time at the BM to disassemble, measure, photograph components of similar era watches (East, Tompion, Quare), and do a bit of a comparative analysis. But I'm on the wrong side of the Atlantic...

    I'm visiting London in mid-April and hope to at least drop in and say hi to the horology curators...

    Nice to spend a bit of time again with the old watch.
    --Robert

    east_pallet1.jpg east_pallet2.jpg east_wheels.jpg
     
  46. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    I have a 1777 verge on the bench at the moment, and the escape wheel on that is only 6.4 mm in diameter, so just 2/3 the size.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  47. rstl99

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    Interesting Graham, so early balance-spring watches such as this East (ca. 1685 or so) had considerably larger diameter crown wheels than one finds several decades later. Obviously, there must be a reason for that, other than the pallets on the verge arbor being further apart (chicken or the egg?).

    Could it have been simply a manufacturing limitation at that time, workers not being able to file the distinctive crown teeth on a smaller diameter wheel? Again, the kind of insight that could only be obtained by comparing and measuring components in contemporary watches from other makers (such as Tompion and Quare as I noted earlier). But who gets a chance to do that?

    I quickly consulted the few English watch history books I own and see if anything is written about that kind of specific detail: no mention in Cuss's The English Watch 1585-1970. Ditto in Clutton/Daniels, Chapiro, Meis.
    Cheers.
    --Robert
     
  48. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #198 John Matthews, Feb 15, 2019 at 1:29 AM
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 1:36 AM
    Am I missing something? - is the reduction in diameter not just in line with the reduction in the distance between the plates? I have no doubt this could open a 'chicken & egg' discussion, but I assume there were a number of drivers causing a demand for watches to be thinner and as a result the techniques/skills to reduce component size were developed as a consequence.

    John
     
  49. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    This is clearly the limiting factor in deciding escape wheel diameter, and I doubt if it's at all related to the expertise of the wheel cutters. Consider that the teeth on, for instance, contrate wheels are far smaller than those on escapes, so it's unlikely to be a factor. Watches just became thinner over time, with the escape wheels on some late French verges being only about 2 mm in diameter.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  50. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    #200 rstl99, Feb 15, 2019 at 7:23 AM
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 7:51 AM
    After giving this some more thought, I respectfully beg to differ, and please let me explain my rationale, which rests largely on the able shoulders of GH Baillie (Watches - their history, decoration and mechanism).
    First, a couple of diagrams from Baillie's book (between pages 192-193), showing (1) "the early fusee movement with gut band", and (2) "the early 18th century watch with balance spring and two hands"

    Attached is a pĥoto of the drive train of my East watch, preceded by the two diagrams from Baillie.

    My rationale follows in the next post.

    baillie_earlier_fusee.jpg baillie_later_fusee.jpg east_train1.jpg
     

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