Emery 661.

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Allan C. Purcell, Jan 11, 2018.

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  1. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    201.jpg 201 - Kopie.jpg
    The above watch was sold at Antiquorum. Lot 201 In the Hong Kong Ritz Hotel 25th. November 2006. Is there anyone able to say how the lever ecscapement worked, or its layout? On thing is sure its not like the ones in most text books.
    This is what Antiquorum had to say.
    M. 38.25 mm, gilt full plate, cylindrical pillers fixed by blued steel screws, fusee with chain. Harrison´s maintaining power, centre seconds wheel, experimental lever escapement with polished steel escape wheel, one toothed jeweled, the lever with independently fixed long slender arms for the pallets and the fork, the fork made on two planes, two D section pieces on the staff for impulse and safty action, gilt brass three arm balance with two small steel poising screws eccentrically mounted and inset into the rim, jeweled pivot holes, high frequency of 36,000 beats per hour, Harrison-type blued steel balance spring with long straight tail, curb pins for temperature compensation, two-footed pierced and chased filiate balance cock, diamond endstone, spiral Chelsea bun bimetalic temperature compensation curb mounted on a sliding steel frame with rack adjustment and silver segmental scale, stop lever protruding from the edge of the dial plate. Movement signed. Diam. 54 mm.
    I have read it a few times, and find it hard to imagine how the arms fuction?

    Regards,

    Allan
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Allan,

    This appears to be similar to the original lever design by Thomas Mudge, which was also constructed on two planes, the fork being carried on the upper arm and the pallets on the lower pair. This one by Josiah Emery is stated to have a single impulse jewel, (at least that's what I take the Antiquorum description to mean), which I think agrees with what Clutton & Daniels describe on page 112 of 'Watches'. Emery was one of the early experimenters with Mudge's invention, along with Leroux, Perigal and Pendleton.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Graham,-Thank you, I agree with you, but I only have the one photograph so far. My questions come about, after reading (I am reading it again) those articles in AHA 1976-77 by Jonathan Betts.
    He puts forward (He could not have known about 661 then) that Mudge could have used his lever watch to make the model for Von Bruhl to give to Emery. The lever in the Mudge clock is in a straight
    line.ie Emery´s watches. So Jonathan could not have seen 661 then. My feeling is Emery after 661 found it to complicated, and changed his whole idea about the watch. I wonder what Jonathan now thinks. Do you know if he has put words to paper
    on 661.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  4. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    201 - Kopie.jpg
    I think member can see it better on this blow up.Allan.
     
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Allan,

    I'm not aware that Jonathan has written anything further on this subject.

    I find some of the features of this watch rather confusing; it has screwed pillars, an early form of temperature compensation and a claimed beat rate of 36,000 bph. I think this combination is hard to reconcile with Josiah's dates of 1770-1797, especially that beat rate. Incidentally I've been unable to find any examples of Emery's work with screwed pillars, has anyone seen such a thing?

    Reading the Antiquorum description again, I see that it also mentions "two D section pieces on the staff for impulse and safty action", which contradicts my previous assumption that "one toothed jeweled" means a single impulse jewel. This increases its similarity to Mudge's escapement.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    IMG_1226.JPG 449px-Josiah_Emery,_Charing_Cross,_London,_Werk_Nr._908,_circa_1782_(6).jpg AN00234596_001_l.jpg
    Just to show what we are talking about-no screwed plates. I don´t think there is much chance of getting a good look at 661, but it would have been nice if Jonathan had seen it and
    made some comments. Note in Antiquorum they claim Emery took out a patent for the double "S" balance-which we know he did not. Again it is Jonathan who sujests Emery must have had
    some kind of agreement with John Arnold, who did hold the patent. Very strange watch? They also claim c1774-75 for this watch. Does not make sence, Emery himself said it took him two years
    to make the first copy, so if 661 is the first we are talking 1772 at least. Just does not fit the facts.
    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  7. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    It is infuriatingly difficult to formulate a mental picture (to say nothing of finding an actual one) of Emery's lever. I have stared for hours at the image of his No. 1089 in David Thompson's Watches, trying to judge from the position of the visible pivots whether it is of the 'anchor' pattern or not, but I cannot work it out. Old editions of 'Britten' (e.g. the seventh, c. 1955) illustrate an early lever which is a true anchor, differing from the familiar 19th-century straight-line type only in that it has a fully circular loop where the fork should be, and the caption suggests that this is similar to Emery's pattern; that, so far, is the only information I have.

    John Leroux, whom Graham has mentioned, apparently used both straight-line and side levers. One of the latter is illustrated (drawing by David Penney) in one of George Daniels's books, and this shows that the impulse was delivered in a very modern way, with a fork on the inner end of the lever engaging with a pin on the balance-staff; I wonder if Leroux was the first to devise this arrangement? The main difference between this Leroux side-lever and the standard English pattern is that Leroux uses flat-ended escape-wheel teeth and sharp-pointed pallets whereas almost all subsequent levers have exactly the opposite system. As for Leroux's straight-line levers, these are as elusive as Emery's.

    The three Emery watches illustrated by Allan above seem remarkably consistent in layout; given that they must all have still been more or less experimental. As Graham has suggested, No. 661 (with its much more archaic cock-table) does both look and sound much closer to Mudge's original concept.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Oliver,

    Do you have copy of Clutton & Daniels 'Watches'? The illustration figure 41 shows what I take to be one of Emery's later straight line levers on a single plane, although it isn't clear in that photo whether it retains the double cam system on the balance staff, as opposed to the single impulse jewel. There's also a line drawing on page 115 showing an exploded view of a similar escapement having the double cams, which must have been very complex to make.

    Those screwed pillars still puzzle me; the screws have 'lips' which is an early feature, but pocket watches don't seem to have been made this way until well into the 19th century, although the construction was used in marine chronometers long before that.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  9. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Oliver- These should help, up to a few weels ago these are how I though Emery´s straight line levers looked. 661 has me confused, I think by a few others too.
    Regards,

    Allan
    IMG_4338 (3).JPG
     
  10. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #10 John Matthews, Jan 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    I am new to these early levers so I have had to bury myself in a number of books, I emerge a little wiser ...

    As a start, I found a diagram in Chamberlin's 'It's About Time' of the first lever escapement by Mudge - this was thanks to the direction from Graham. The resemblance to Emery 661 is there but I think the linkage between the lever and pallet arms is different. Comparison with the diagrams of Emery's later levers show only limited resemblance - I attach a description from Camerer Cuss's 'The English Watch'.

    I have enlarged the relevant part of the escapement and I think it shows that the both the lever and the pallet arms extend past the arbor about which they pivot. It appears to me that they connected on the far side of the arbor by a pin that has what appears to be a slotted head. The linkage is, I think, supported by a flat flange fixed to the arbor and located between lever and the pallet arms. The flange is, I assume, slotted, to accommodate the oscillation of the linkage.

    Well that's my attempt ....

    Edit - perhaps the slot in the flange provided a banking function and was there to maintain the configuration - support probably not a right word

    Edit 2 - I intended to add Chamberlin's description of the Mudge escapement -

    The curves in the lever and pallet arms were to avoid striking the fourth wheel arbour. The lever is set at a lower level than the pallets and the edges of the fork made of sapphire marked F G are on a different level shown in the two elevations and, instead of acting on an impulse pin, act alternatively on the cams E D. The action would be the same were an impulse pin of oval shape used, similar to the oval made by the acting edges of these two cams seen in the plan between F G. The pallet arm carries a horn H which passes in the notch of the safety roller C. The pallets R L are held in position by clamps as also are the stones of the lever F G. The lifting surfaces of the pallets are curved to reduce friction surface with the steel escape wheel teeth.

    John

    Mudge escapement001.jpg mechanism.jpg Emery Lever001.jpg
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    The lever and pallets must be locked together and cannot move relative to each other in use, but the flange may provide for adjustment during initial setup of the escapement. The 'slotted pin' is thus likely to be a locking screw. I do find it odd that the upper end of the arbor is extended above the top plate and supported in a separate small cock; there's no apparent reason for this construction. I also notice that the pillar plate pivot hole of the escape wheel has apparently been fitted with a rather long bush, which could suggest that the wheel has been replaced at some point.

    It's frustrating to think that this watch is in all likelihood sitting in a bank vault somewhere.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Graham - I didn't express it very well - I was trying to say that you need a slot to allow the locking pin to isolate - is that better?

    The slot beneath the small cock you refer to looks odd and to me not original, taken with the different appearance of the gilding on that cock, do you think the present lever configuration is the result of a series of 'experimental' modifications?

    John
     
  13. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi John-try this one.
    IMG_4342.JPG
    It has offten been said that the Mudge lever, if put in a straight line would give you a double roller lever escapement, which has we know is better than a single table roller, only it took a while to establish it.
    Its one of those occasions where the horse in pulling the cart, until someone decided it might be better to put the horse behind the cart, and let it push.
    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  14. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Allan,

    I've now found, (after guidance from David Penney), that Jonathan has described 661 in a later article, Vol. 24 No. 4 from Winter 1998, which I'm in the process of digesting. The four articles on Emery by him which precede this are in Vol. 22 Nos. 5 & 6, and Vol. 23 Nos. 1 & 2 all from 1996.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Sorry John, but you've lost me here.

    Graham
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    It was apparently there to enable the lever and pallets to be removed during development without splitting the plates.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Graham - Looking at the v 24/4 paper I can see that my attempt to interpret the escapement was flawed. Unfortunately, fig 6 is so dark, I cannot make out the detail and I am having difficulty relating fig 4 to the photograph. I really would like to see a clear copy of figure 6 - that would solve it for me.

    John
     
  18. Allan C. Purcell

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    #18 Allan C. Purcell, Jan 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Thank you Graham-I think I am going to be busy this weekend. We have at last now got some photographs of the insides of the watch, and Fig.6 is eaier to understand, along with the clear remarks by Jonathan. Betts.

    Regards,

    Allan.

    PS; Jonathans new book arrived yesturday-plus the above.
     
  19. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    A new day and possibly a clearer mind ...

    Graham - I guess you have now read DP's comments in v24/6 confirming that the 'steel lever arm and pallet complete' are later replacements and his later comments

    'Altogether this watch shows many signs of changes and second thoughts but all appear to give credence to the impression that Emery was attempting something, maybe for the first time, but it is his use of a 36,000 train that is, for me at least, the most puzzling aspect of the watch.'

    which is entirely supportive of your earlier points.


    Despite the very dark fig. 6 (Allan perhaps your copy is clearer than mine from the AHS archive, do you perhaps have a copy of the original - if so can you please post it) I think I can now relate fig 3 to the photograph. However, I find it difficult to understand how the lever, pallets and arbor could be removed through the slot as a single object. Referring to the photograph, I am probably mistaken, but is possible that the arbor might pass through the lever and not be fixed to it, so that removing the locking pin would allow the lever to be separated from the pallet assembly?

    I think I really do need a clear fig 6 - does anyone have a original copy?

    John
     
  20. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi John-Is this what you want-If so I have say I posted the dark pic because I could see it better when enlarged. Or do you have a copy of G.Daniels book "The Art of Breguet?

    Regards,

    Allan
    IMG_4337.JPG
     
  21. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Allan - sorry we are talking at cross purposes.

    I was referring to the AH paper that Graham pointed us to (Vol. 24 No. 4). Figs shows a the pallet fork and lever assembly that I am trying to relate to photograph enlargement I posted. The copies I have are from the archive and the reproduction is poor (see attached).

    If someone has original copies of the article and could post a clear scan it would be very helpful.

    John

    escape & pallets.JPG Train & Escapement.jpg
     
  22. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    John the photographs in the AHS at that time were never first class, the ones you have are infact quite good. I have photographed them
    again, and used Microsoft to improve them, and has you will see they are not much better, though they might help. Allan.


    IMG_4362 (2).JPG IMG_4360 (3).JPG
     
  23. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #23 John Matthews, Jan 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Allan - thanks for these.

    They are better and I can start to make out the way that they were constructed. I have just managed to track down a copy of the original, but it will take 10 days or so to arrive in France.

    John
     
  24. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I doubt if you'll find it any better than the scanned copy in the archive. As Allan says, the pictures weren't particularly good until fairly recently.

    I think it would be possible to wriggle that lever and pallets out through the slot in the top plate, but I expect there's only one way to do it. Emery was quite famous for devising complex and secret case and cap locking mechanisms, so this would have been child's play for him.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  25. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Sorry Graham, but I just don't see how removing the lever and pallets as a single object through the slot could have been possible. I realise I am sticking my neck out, but I think it would be a physical impossibility.

    John
     
  26. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #26 gmorse, Jan 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Hi John,

    Having read Jonathan's article again, I believe you're right; he writes in the caption of figure 2:
    "The oval hole in the potence plate next to the signature is to enable the pallets to be removed." (My underlining).

    He also refers to the pallet arms being independently fixed, which would imply that they can be removed from their mounting on the flange and thus could certainly be removed through that slot. Unfortunately the pictures of this part in the AH article are anything but clear and don't show the detail of the lever's construction.

    [Edit]: However, the Antiquorum image, although of low resolution, does show the lever from the side, and gives a better idea of its construction, especially the way it's screwed together.

    mechanism_edit.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  27. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Graham - that's a relief ...

    Looking at the attached photographs I think you can just see how both the pallets and the lever are fixed to the flange. While I am no longer certain that this was completely accurate ...

    If you look carefully at the underside of the flange, I think you can see that the pallet arm that extends to the top right of the photograph, is screwed into the flange and the arm passes to the side of the arbor, I suspect the second arm, hidden by the first in this photograph, was similarly constructed. It seem likely that if this pin was removed the two pallet arms could then have been removed. Just loosening the pin would allow the pallet arms to be adjusted.

    John

    escape & pallets.jpg mechanism.jpg Train & Escapement.jpg
     
  28. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Graham - frustration ...

    I just edited the above and my edit time limit passed while I was editing. Stupid software didn't allow me to copy it, it was just lost!

    Basically I was saying that it looks as if the pins have been replaced and the underside of the flange has cleaner lines as a result of the restoration and I was wondering if this work was done by Jonathan Betts.

    John
     
  29. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    In the pictures from Jonathan's article the screw holding everything together is certainly different, having a rounded head, whereas the one in the Antiquorum image has a flat head. I doubt that Jonathan would have replaced anything since the watch apparently wasn't his. In any case, his views on restoration versus conservation are pretty strict.

    The part in question is definitely a screw, since a plain pin would not be secure, even if a close fit.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  30. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    I dont know if it is relative, but on the top plate you can see the number 661, while on all other Emery watches I have seen the numbers are inverted?

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  31. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Graham,

    Thanks for the reply that confirms what I had thought.

    Thanks to Allan for opening the thread, it has certainly helped my awareness of this early work and it was a interesting exercise to determine how the escapement was constructed.

    John
     
  32. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    To clarify for those interested but without access to the AH article, the watch is thought by Jonathan Betts to be in its third manifestation, having been subject to major modifications at least twice since it was first made. The top plate appears to have been reduced in diameter and somewhat thinned due to the re-finishing of the various plugged holes which probably led to the installation of screws in the pillars, the compensation mechanism has been replaced, there's a large dovetailed insert in the top plate underneath it, and the beat rate is indeed 36,000 bph, which he describes as 'an astonishingly, probably uniquely, high frequency for an 18th century watch', seemingly strongly influenced by John Harrison's Principles. The maintaining power has been added a few years after it was first made.

    He concludes that the watch has every sign of being an experimental piece:

    'Although this watch has a number of technical peculiarities and is not of Emery's highest quality, the
    movement's calibre appears to be specially designed, and a number of uniquely Emerylike
    aspects of its construction seem to confirm his authorship. The balance of probability would
    seem to be that the watch is genuine and is one more fascinating piece in the jigsaw of the early
    history of the precision timekeeper.
    '
    Regards,

    Graham
     
  33. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #33 John Matthews, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    Hi Graham,

    I think it is also worth mentioning that the article generates number of 'letters to the editor' in the following editions of AH, with a critique by Paul Tuck rebuffed by Jonathan Betts and David Penney. David Penney had also examined the watch and responded in forthright manner, emphasising the historical importance of the watch.

    He begins ...

    'After reading Paul Tuck's letter in the last journal I feel some points need to be made now rather than let what is substantially an original and important lever watch suffer the indignity of being likened to the 'petit ronde' movement by Le Roy, No. 4757, in which the lever escapement is most certainly not original.'​

    and concludes ...

    'Given that the proportions of the escapement are likely to have changed in manufacture, and thus the amount of teeth in the escape wheel, I rather think that it was these changes (made in order to try and get the watch to perform as well as reports about Mudge's original?) that led Emery to produce such a self destructing escapement; one that hardly deserves to be called 'detached'. No wonder he refused to contemplate Count von Bruhl's order for a lever watch until he was supplied with a model by Mudge himself.'​

    There are further exchanges and I believe Jonathan Betts has the final word with

    'I have been asked if I would like to respond to Paul Tuck's further comment on Emery No. 661, but I think there is very little more I can say beyond repeating that the facts speak for themselves.'
    John
     
  34. Allan C. Purcell

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    Well, Well, Gentlemen, It would appear we have opened a tin of worms. I have read Paul Tuck´s letter and I feel he has some valid points. I find too that the signature on 661 is odd, plus the number
    has I mentioned above.I have yet to read Davied Penney´s letter, but will get round to it sometime today. I could be that the early makers of lever escapements knew more than we think at the moment.
    The information out of this thread so far proves that. We started with 661, and now in-between, Leroux, Grant, Mudge, Taylor, Emery, Jonathan Bettes, Paul Tuck, David Penney, and we could also drop in
    Margetts, Breguet, Perigal. We have seen Betts, Penney and Tuck all have one thing in commen, they all agree that the watch was changed on one or more occasions. So was Emery working from a description
    of Mudges watch, while waiting for a model. Has we know Mudge refused to make a model, and some-time later he seems to have changed his mind, at the moment there are no facts on why Mudge changed his mind.
    So I am off to find David´s letter, and the read up again on the other Lever makers of the 18th.c
    Regards,

    Allan.

    IMG_4368.JPG IMG_4367.JPG
    Pic 1 from "Watches". Pic.2 From Burton´s book. IMG_4367.JPG
     
  35. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #35 gmorse, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    Hi Allan,

    Which "Watches" are you using? This isn't in my edition of Clutton & Daniels.

    [Later Edit]: I've discovered that the figures in my 1965 edition are numbered quite differently from yours, so it's Figures 48 and 345-6.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  36. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #36 John Matthews, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    Graham - in my copy 1965 by Viking Press it is fig 345-6. and the escapement is fig 48.

    On p.116 it is described as

    'Its arrangement is a composite of all the features in the escapements illustrated ..... a watchmaker's interpretation of the quotation, "If you can't beat 'em - join 'em' " '​

    John
     
  37. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    My copy 1979- No. 184b. I have still not read David´s letter, I got distracted by the Taylor watch signed Ellicott. By Charles Allix. The watch is in its original case,
    but the HM is for 1805/6. Still using a double roller thought, plus Mr. Allix says it came from the Ellicott-Taylot parnership. Brian Loomes gives the partnership from 1811-30.
    This would indicate to me that Ellicott made the the watch, and not Taylor?? This Ellicott is Edward Ellicott-John Ellicotts son,. Will keep at it.

    Allan.
     
  38. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Forgot the photograph. Taylor or Ellicott´s watch.
    IMG_4369.JPG
     
  39. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    What a fascinating thread! Particular thanks to Allan, Graham and John for a variety of insights and images.

    From the lower of the two David Penney drawings (labelled 'Emery's improved fork and roller action, c. 1792') supplied by Allan, it looks as if Emery had by this time developed something broadly similar to Edward Massey's first escapement, albeit with a thicker roller-block and a wider fork. If Emery was using this arrangement as early as 1782 as the Camerer Cuss caption implies, it must be a close-run thing between him and Leroux as to which of them first arrived at the fork-and-pin configuration.

    It strikes me that, out of the three Emery movements with bridge-cocks illustrated by Allan last Friday, two – the central one whose number I cannot make out, and No. 1089 on the right – appear to have three pinned pillars and one screwed pillar; in each instance the screw is on the right-hand side, near the balance. Evidently, therefore, the idea of using screws to hold the plates together, as seen in No. 661, was not quite without parallel in Emery's oeuvre.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  40. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Oliver,

    Jonathan Betts implied that the later alterations to the top, (or 'potence'), plate resulted in thinning to an extent that meant that the pinned pillar tops no longer held the plate securely, therefore the screws were resorted to. Replacing the pillar tops with shorter ones to enable the pins to hold properly would have meant rather more work I believe, (having had to do this on several occasions!).

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  41. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    I have just re-read Jonathan Bett's '661' article from 1998 - in the final paragraph ....

    'The whole series of Emery articles is now to be rewritten as a monograph to include much new information and the description of this watch.'

    As far as I know this has never been published - do we know what the 'much new information' he refers to is?

    John

     
  42. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Without been unfair, and I think Jonathan would agree, over the last 20 years he has been to busy John. When the so called Antique Road Show Chronometer came to light (2002)?
    Jonathan wrote a small piece I think in the Clocks magazine, and promised to do an article on the clock. He also, was preparing an article on the Barraud Chronometers, still waiting on that one.
    I think you have seen my small piece on Barraud chronometers, and in it I said more than once that all information I had on some of the chronometers would be made clear later by Jonathan Betts. The man was over worked.
    I can think of dozens of things he has done over that period, which would frighten me to death.

    Anyway I have since read Jonathans reply to Paul Tuck, plus David Penney, and I am quite pleased with the outcome, I thought all along Emery was trying to build a lever escapement from conversation. If you read
    my posts above.

    Regards,

    Allan.


    I have just re-read Jonathan Bett's '661' article from 1998 - in the final paragraph ....

    'The whole series of Emery articles is now to be rewritten as a monograph to include much new information and the description of this watch.'

    As far as I know this has never been published - do we know what the 'much new information' he refers to is?

    John
     
  43. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Allan,

    There's also the small matter of the chronometer book he's just published, which is quite an achievement.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  44. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    #44 Omexa, Jan 15, 2018
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    As a matter of interest does anyone know where this Pocket Watch is at present? "Josiah Emery (c. 1725-1797).
    A Swiss watchmaker, born in the canton of Vaud, near Vevey, settled in England and had a shop at 33 Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, London. He made very fine cylinder watches, but became famous as the first watchmaker in the world after Thomas Mudge to produce a watch with a lever escapement (the present lot). He made about thirty-six lever watches between 1774/5 and 1795. Three of Emery’s lever watches were imported into France and served as a model for Robert Robin for a series of precision watches that he produced at the end of the eighteenth century. One of these watches was shown to Louis Berthoud, who used the escapement several times and attempted to improve it, but finally abandoned it in favor of the pivoted detent escapement. He also used the pivoted detent escapement for precision watches. In 1782, Emery patented his “double S” balance, a fact which he advertised widely. Most of Emery’s “double S” balances are found in his lever watches, which he started making in 1782, the year of the patent. He produced less than 40 of them, of which fewer than 12 are known to have survived, making the “double S” balance even rarer. Emery submitted four chronometers to the “Office of Longitude” between 1792 and 1796, but obtained no success with them. He studied and corrected the error of the escapement of the chronometer made by Genevan clockmakers Demole & Magnin. His workmanship is always superlative, equal to the best of his contemporaries, including Arnold. Louis Berthoud said of Emery’s work that it was particularly good in its essential points, and not “showy”. In 1781 his excellence was recognized by his peers, who elected him an Honorary Freeman of the Clockmaker’s Company, a distinction rarely given. He was succeeded by Recordon and Dupont in 1796.
    Because it incorporates one of the earliest known experimental examples of the lever escapement, this unique and quite recently discovered watch can be described as being amongst the most historically important English watches in the world. Josiah Emery’s numbering system was very consistent and the number 661 can be linked fairly accurately to the years 1774–1775. With the exception of the balance spring, the lever escapement was the greatest single improvement that has ever been applied to watches. In addition, this watch has an early automatic device for compensating changes in temperature and center seconds that can be stopped independently of the rest of the movement. Thomas Mudge invented the lever escapement in 1754 but the first watch to incorporate this important innovation was not made until 1770. That watch was acquired by King George III for Queen Charlotte and was referred to as the ‘Queen’s watch’ in correspondence between Mudge and his patron Count von Bruhl, Saxon Ambassador to Great Britain, when it had been returned to Mudge's Plymouth workshop for alterations and adjustment in the early 1770s. Mudge subsequently described his invention as ‘the most perfect watch that can be worn in the pocket, that was ever made”. The present watch is closely linked to the “Queen’s watch” by Count von Bruhl who approached Emery and tried to persuade him to make watches with Mudge’s lever escapement. Bruhl described the escapement to Emery in about 1774 but we know that Emery had not seen the “Queen’s watch” nor any model of it. Therefore, the present watch was almost certainly made as a direct result of his conversations with Bruhl. We know that Emery was experimenting around this time with a number of different ideas to make a precision timekeeper, his watch No. 615 (hallmarked 1772-3) and made just a year or so before the present watch, No. 661, was heavily influenced by Harrison’s publication “Principles”, 1767, and was fitted with Kendall’s escapement which proved to be a poor design. By 1778, Emery had moved on to using Arnold’s pivoted detent escapement which had been shown to be highly successful from the mid-1770s. The making of the present watch therefore falls between these two periods and shows Emery’s experimenting with the strange new escapement described to him by Bruhl and interpreted by Emery directly from Bruhl’s description of the “Queen’s watch”. This watch was very likely to have been made almost entirely by Emery himself, largely to ensure its existence remained a secret until he had seen how it would perform. This said, it is possible that other makers might have seen this watch and been influenced by it. For instance, the early lever watches made by John Leroux in the mid-1780s have an identical escape wheel, and as in the present watch all the lift is on the teeth. This would explain the otherwise anomalous lever escapements made by Leroux at this time. The train of the present watch determines a balance frequency of 36,000 beats per hour, this is almost certainly a uniquely high frequency for an eighteenth century watch.
    The Stages of Development of Emery No. 661 In common with the makers of most experimental machines, Josiah Emery maker did not immediately produce this watch in its final form, but rather improvements and developments resulting from experimentation with the various components were introduced and adjusted as time went by. This watch appears to have had two distinct previous “states” before reaching its present form.
    First State In 1774/5, Emery had the movement signed and numbered in case he might one day want to claim it as his product and maybe even sell it. Giving a serial number might also have been a means of staking his claim to the overall movement design. At this stage the movement is likely to have been ungilded and uncased, it almost certainly had no maintaining power and appears to have had a straight, Harrison-type bimetallic compensation curb acting on the tail of the balance spring. The curb would have been mounted on a pivoting slide plate, for meantime adjustments, centered on a hole in the potence plate that has since been removed and a piece of brass dovetailed into the back plate. In its first form the balance spring would have been studded in a position about 90 degrees from its present position ( a plugged hole of the correct size is there) presenting the extended curved tail in the correct orientation for the curb to act upon it. An arc of 20 dots on the back plate marks the span over which the curb would have operated. The balance and spring is where we see further influence of John Harrison. The extraordinarily high frequency of the train is undoubtedly inspired by Harrison, who implied in “Priciples” that the smaller the watch, the faster the train should be.
    Second State
    Approximately two or three years later, the maintaining power was fitted, such a high frequency balance associated with an experimental type of lever escapement meant that the watch was not self-starting, although reasonably reliable once going. Without maintaining power, it would need a good twist to start it after every winding. The pillar closest to the fusee has been considerably cut away to make room for the new maintaining power detent and the fusee itself has been fitted with a peculiar, small maintaining power wheel hidden between the fusee and the great wheel necessitating the detent to be thinned to a sliver in order to fit into the groove. The compensation would have been changed at this time and also the area of the back plate containing the hole for the previous compensation slide cut out and plugged with the dovetail piece. The entire movement would have then been gilded. The new compensation is of “Chelsea bun” type and fitted into the original slide-plate but with the compensator filling the opening for it fully. The balance and spring were positioned in their present place at this stage to work with the new compensation.



    The final stage of the making of this watch occurred probably in the 1790s and perhaps after Emery’s death. At this stage, the changes were purely additions and not alterations. It is very likely that up until this point the movement had never had a dial or case. The present case, dial and hands date from this period and are therefore original. It is possible that watch No. 661 remained Emery’s property until his death and was among the effects that came to Recordon & Dupont in 1795 and they had the watch dialed and cased to sell it.
    “Josiah Emery, Watchmaker of Charing Cross”, Antiquarian Horology, Vol. XXII, pp. 394-401 & pp. 510-523; Vol. XXIII, pp. 26-44, pp. 134-150, pp. 216-232. We are grateful to Jonathan Betts of The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, whose report on this watch forms the basis of this catalogue entry.


    © Antiquorum Genève SA, 2017

    Regards Ray
     
  45. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    In Paul Chamberlin's 'It's about time' he has conveniently extracted all the references to the 'Queen's watch' in the correspondence between Mudge and Count Bruhl that was subsequently published by Thomas Mudge in 1799. Although it is not a simple read, it provides a date (1776) for the initial request to produce the model, An extract of a letter from Mudge dated Plymouth 9 August 1776, includes the line in reference to the request, 'but there are several objections to what you now ask'. Given, Jonathan Betts statement "No. 661 can be reasonably safely attributed to the year 1774", it would appear that the watch, at least in its 'first state' was produced prior to a request being made to Mudge to produce a model.

    As Jonathan concludes, "the existence of this watch suggests that, presumably without informing Bruhl, Emery memorised his description and immediately tried to make something experimental based upon it in this 'common sized watch' "

    John
     
  46. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Thanks Ray,
    I think we were all to lazy to type that up.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  47. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    #47 John Matthews, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    Ray - well done for finding the full catalogue entry, which I hadn't seen - it is obvious that search engines work better down under!

    John
     
  48. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Graham-nothing small about that book. If they had "Dessert Island books" that is one of my six.

    Regards,
    Allan.
     
  49. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Ray,

    That Antiquorum catalogue entry is essentially a (longish) précis of Jonathan Betts' article on 661 in AH Vol. 24 no. 4.

    Well done for digging it out!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  50. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Prior to Ray's success in finding the full Antiquorum catalogue entry for 661 auction I had searched a number of times for it and completely failed. Even this morning searching 'Auction Watches Watch Appraisal luxury watches' results in

    "Website temporary unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience we may cause during this period."
    However I have just tried the their Swiss site here 'Buy Watch online | Watch Auction Catalog | Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breguet, Cartier' - searching for 'Emery 661' - not only brings up the recent auction here.

    but also an earlier auction here from 1999 .............

    LOT 7 Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, 23rd October 1999

    Josiah Emery, No. 661, produced in 1774.The first lever watch made by Josiah Emery, the second Lever Watch ever made after that executed by Thomas Mudge in 1769 for King George III.Gilt brass, pair cased, centre-seconds stop watch.

    C. Gilt brass pair case, custom made circa 1795, both polished. D. White enamel with Roman numerals and outer minute and seconds ring, custom made from the same period than the case. Gilt brass hands.M. Hinged gilt brass full plate, regular English calibre, fusee with chain and Harrison's maintaining power, the mainspring set-up is of the type typically associated with Emery. Unusual arrangement of the centre-seconds driving wheel so that the centre seconds hands can be stopped independently from the movement. The train count determine a balance frequency of 36,000 beats per hour, extremely high frequency, probably unique for an 18th century watch. Lever escapement of experimental type withighly polished steel wheel of "flat wheel cylinder" type, the lever with simple pointed pallets, one jewelled, the other steel. The banking is achieved with extensions to the pallet arms which stop on top of the escape wheel teeth. There is apparently no draw on the pallets. The fork and roller action simply consists of two independently friction-mounted "D" section pieces on the staff, rotatable so that the shake in the fork can be adjusted closely. Plain gilt brass three-arm balance with two sall steel poising screws eccentrically mounted, and inset in the rim. Blued steel balance spring with a long straight tail, controlled by curb pins to effect the corrections for temperature changes by means of "Chelsea Bun" type compensation, the curb is mounted on a sliding steel frame, which can be racked sideways to adjust the watch for meantime, by moving the curb pins along the tail of the balance spring.Diam. 54 mm.

    C. Gilt brass pair case, custom made circa 1795, both polished.
    D. White enamel with Roman numerals and outer minute and seconds ring, custom made from the same period than the case. Gilt brass hands.
    CHF 60,000 - 80,000


    Notes
    Josiah Emery's average production of watches appears to have been of roughly 40 pieces per year. As watch No. 615 is hallmarked for the years 1772/1773, the No. 661 can reasonably dated 1774. According to Emery himself it was at this time that Count von Bruhl began to persuade him to produce watches with Mudge's lever escapement as fitted to "Queen Charlotte's watch". We know that Bruhl had seen the escapement and described it to Emery circa 1774, but we also know that Emery who had not seen thewatch itself nor any model, stated at that time that he: "doubted whether it would be possible to ever make a common sized watch with an escapement on so large scale".Up to now it had always been assumed that Emery simply surmised this from from Bruhl's rather general description of the escapement. But the existence of this watch suggests that, presumably without informing von Bruhl, Emery memorised his description and immediately decided to try an escapement of this type, in a "common sized" watch. This attempt however does not appear to have been entirely successful. Emery therefore draws the conclusion that such an escapement was too difficult to make accuately on a small scale.The movement of this watch is by no means of as high quality as the Emery's later lever watches, mainly made for him by Richard Pendleton. It is quite possible that Watch No. 661 was made by Emery himself, to ensure its existence remained a secret until he had concluded how it would perform and find a way to produce such timekeepers successfully.It is possible that other makers close to Emery might have seen the watch later and been influenced by it. For instance, the early lever watches, made by John Leroux in the mid 1780's, which have an identical escape wheel, with all the lift on the teeth, could have been influenced by this watch. The watch appears to have had at least two other "states" before reaching the present form.In its first state, circa 1774, it seems that Emery had the movement signed and numbered in case he might one day want to claim it as his product. Giving it a serial number might also have been a means of staking his claim to priority for the overall movement design. At this stage the movement may even have remained ungilt and uncased. It was almost certainly without maintaining power and appears to have had a straight, Harrison-type, bimetallic compensation curb acting on the tail of the balancspring. The curb would have been mounted on a rotating slide, for mean time adjustment. In this first form, the balance spring would have been studded in a position about 90° anti-clockwise from its present place.The extraordinary high frequency of the train is undoubtedly inspired by Harrison who implied in his Principles....that the smaller the watch is, the faster the train should be. In this first state it seems likely the plates were pinned together in the usual way. The second state was probably introduced two or three years later when the watch was fitted with a maintaining power. Such a high frequency balance, associated with a relatively crudely made lever escapement, means that the watch is notself starting (although reasonably reliable once going) and without maintaining power, it would need a good twist to start after every winding. The compensation appears to have been changed at this time. And the back plate slightly reduced in diameter, bringing the engraving of the signature very close to the edge. The pillars secured by pins could also have been changed for pillars secured by screws, making of this watch one of the earliest examples of this kind. The entire movement could alsohen have been gilded or regilded. The new "Chelsea bun" type compensation, was fitted into a new engraved slide plate, with the compensator filling fully the circular opening made for it. The balance and the spring then had to be repositioned to their present place, in order to work with the new compensation. The curb of which was probably of the type with the centre fixed to the steel plate (on the centre of the opening managed in the slide plate)and with a simple limb with a pair of curb pinsn the end, embracing the balance spring. Insufficient compensation necessitating to move the spiral compensator back off the centre of the slide plate and to make a curb lever and curb accordingly to fit. There is no evidence the movement was already cased at this stage.The change for the third state appears to have been performed in the mid 1790's, probably after the death of Josiah Emery. The movement could have remained his property until his death and found by Recordon & Dupont in 1795, who then had the movement dialled and cased in order to be able to sell it.For more details, please refer to Jonathan Betts: Josiah Emery's first Lever Watch, Antiquarian Horology, Winter 1998, article from which we have drawn the notes for this watch. This article was the last of a whole series of Emery articles which are to be rewritten as a monograph, to be published shortly.

    © Antiquorum Genève SA


    John
     

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