English 18k Fusee

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Stacey Lynn Markham, Oct 18, 2019.

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  1. Stacey Lynn Markham

    Stacey Lynn Markham Registered User

    Mar 22, 2018
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    I am trying to identify this watch. It has a small lever on the side I am not familiar with. I am sure it has a function. I also notice the dial has a lot more than 60 seconds of indicators. There are 2 holes to wind one says set hands and the other wind up. I also wanted to know who made it. I see a serial number but no other names. There is a TW hallmarked on the case. Thank you

    5B2D31E0-2F63-451D-AA8E-8776F7FE2EC9.jpeg 7DA6FE3C-9430-4D50-9C5D-31B5C4E7EE8C.jpeg 03F3632A-95F4-4109-8F87-FE1EA91CD9E1.jpeg 716767C6-0AC2-44F4-A3A9-F8AFB4070C66.jpeg 66D166DD-5062-4A87-B774-825AC2B6CE46.jpeg C1CBE508-5750-4D6A-B931-19D3751529FF.jpeg A00736DC-5CCE-4D6D-9B3B-9E04AE08E568.jpeg
     
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  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Stacey Lynn,

    The watch is what was known at the time as a 'centre seconds chronograph', which could be started and stopped with that small slide in the edge of the case. In contrast to modern chronographs, which allow the timer function to be started, stopped and returned to zero without affecting the main time train, the slider stopped the whole watch by moving a fine wire against the balance; you can see it poking out of a hole in the plate just under the balance in your fourth picture. The escapement is an English lever, with a ratchet tooth escape wheel and a cut compensated balance wheel.

    Many were made in Coventry, but some, like yours, aren't signed.

    The 18 carat gold case was assayed in the Chester office in 1872/3 and was probably made by Thomas Wallen at King Street, Coventry, who registered the mark on 20th October 1871. Wallen is listed, (in Philip Priestley's book on watch case makers), as a 'Watchcase & Watch Manufacturer', so the movement may well have been at least finished if not completely made by him as well as the case. Typically at least 40 or 50 specialist craftspeople were involved in making a watch.

    The dial is marked in 1/4 second divisions, which suggests that the train beats at 14,400 beats per hour rather than 18,000, which would give 1/5 second divisions.

    It's an elegant watch and appears to be in good condition, but if you don't know its service history it's best not to run it too much until you've had it cleaned and overhauled.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. Stacey Lynn Markham

    Stacey Lynn Markham Registered User

    Mar 22, 2018
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    Wow your knowledge is amazing. Thank you for taking the time to give me such a thorough answer. It is a clean watch but it is not running. I have a local watchmaker that said he thought he could get it running he believed it is dirty inside so nothing broken. I believe it is worthy to spend the money to get it cleaned. Thanks again, Stacey
     
  4. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    It is an unusual watch in few regards. The balance has "wings". These are the fillits where the arms meet the rim. This feature shows up on high grade balances. The watch balance spring is pined to a separate "cock", which went out of fashion about 30 years before your watch was made.. The engraving in the movementi s hand done. It was done by a very eccentric maker.
     
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dr. Jon,

    The English watch trade, and many of its customers, was extremely conservative in its methods and designs, and I agree that this 3/4 plate centre seconds watch could indeed have been made at almost any time in the 30 years prior to 1872. The manufacture of watches by machines rather than hand work was fiercely resisted by many craftsmen and some of the leading lights in the London trade. The engraving on the balance cock is typical of Coventry work and is one result of this conservatism, as is the continued use of the fusee, which led ultimately to the demise of the English watch industry.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    #6 John Matthews, Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    I question whether this was original, it seems to me that it is too long and as a result the outer coil of the spring is distorted. I don't understand the hole to the right ...

    upload_2019-10-19_1-3-26.png

    My impression is that these Coventry chronographs stated to be made in the last quarter of the C19th and the early ones did have 1/4 second divisions with the two piece dial. I also think it is only the earlier ones where the cock has a 'thick' foot so that it remains at the same height to the plate rim.

    Graham - I am not 100% certain about the case maker's mark. In Ridgeway and Priestley the photograph of the Thomas Wallen mark has only minimal rounding of the corners. The mark for Thomas Woolley of Chester, a jeweller and clockmaker, is a far better match. He is recorded as operating from 1852 to 1903 in Jackson, so his dates are fine. Although he is not listed as a case maker, he has two other marks registered, one of which I have seen on a watch case before.

    John
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I wasn't totally sure about the case maker myself, which is why I put in the 'probably'; it was the closest I could find in Priestley!

    The balance spring is certainly distorted, but I'm not sure whether that's a problem with the stud. I agree it's an unusual shape, but these little expressions of individuality often pop up, and this one appears to have a good flat polish and be well shaped.

    I don't know what that extra hole is doing there, it looks more like a steady pin hole than a screw hole.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
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    Might I suggest that the hairspring 'cock' has been later manufactured from an old lever. The redundant hole to the right possibly the securing point for the original?
     
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  9. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - the end of the stud appears to me to have been bent to accommodate the fixing of the pin. The bend is at an angle which I think might indicate that the stud has been recycled, as I cannot understand it otherwise.

    John
     
  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    Yes, it could be in the light of the shape, but it was a thumping big lever if that's the case. These were usually fixed with a single screw and a steady pin, and there's only one 'spare' hole here, so not sure about that hypothesis.

    The end where the spring is pinned has to have some degree of drop to reach down to the level of the balance spring, since the stud is fixed to the top of the plate.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Dave - I like your suggestion, but as Graham observes what a lever!

    Graham - I agree - but why the bend at that angle, rather than perpendicular to the stud.

    The finish at the bend I also infer to be indicative of modification after it was originally polished. Why would you design an original stud with a securing screw being positioned in a slot? To me it only makes sense if you are not particularly confident/competent and need to give yourself the option of establishing the correct position by 'trial & error'. Even so, in my view, the position of the pin is still not ideal and it looks as if the slot should have been even deeper! - the more I look at it the more I believe it is a poorly made replacement.

    John
     
  12. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I eventually found a photograph of the earliest Coventry centre seconds chronograph I had recorded. It is in an anonymous movement, as many of them are, in an Edward Wilday of Coventry, London hallmarked case of 1864/65. It has 1/4 second divisions and the same two piece dial, although it does have a stepped cock. I believe the original stud that was fitted to the example in this thread, was originally of this design ...

    upload_2019-10-19_14-51-14.png

    and a second example with the thick cock and identical dial - this is a London hallmarked case for 1869/70 by William Hammon, also of Coventry.

    upload_2019-10-19_15-5-36.png

    All of the examples I have recorded from the 1880s onwards have the 1/5 second dial divisions and the spring is pinned so ...

    upload_2019-10-19_15-30-2.png

    John
     
  13. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    I agree with everything that has been said about the possibility that this is a 'recycled' old lever, or not, but I can see no reason why anyone would take the trouble to file the horns onto the end of the device if that is not the case. It should perhaps also be born in mind that lever escapements are not exclusive to watches and I have seen early clocks with lever escapements that could match those proportions. The one element of the work that puzzles me a little is that the area where the work has been bent, to attempt to provide the necessary drop to align with the hairspring, shows no signs of having been heated. I also am unable to discern how the pinning area has been finished. However that has been done must have been quite tricky to achieve.
    ,
     
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  14. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I would like to see a clearer photograph - I am uncertain whether the stud is bent or is in two parts. It is also difficult to see how the pin is fixed into the stud to secure the spring - you can see the top of the pin along its full length.

    Stacey - is there any chance you can post a close-up photograph of the end of the stud where the hair spring is pinned?

    John
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I think you're seeing a highlight where the stud bends down.

    On the extra hole, I can't see any sign of a shadow in the plate where an original stud may have fitted, and I agree that some of these studs may be fitted without benefit of a steady pin.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  16. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham you may well be right, but the way the spring is 'pinned' looks odd to me.

    upload_2019-10-20_15-28-36.png

    John
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I've pushed the shadows down somewhat and you can see the difference between the highlights on the brass pin and on the stud.

    F8AFB4070C66_crop.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     

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