English dials - VI or no VI?

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Jerry Treiman, Nov 16, 2019.

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  1. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    I just noticed that on my English movements from the first half of the 19th century which have enamel dials and seconds indication, maybe half have the numeral VI superposed on the seconds dial and half do not. Is there anything to say about this or was it just a matter of personal style?
    Tobias_dial.jpg Hequembourg_dial.jpg
     
  2. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Jerry, an interesting observation; is the Cream Dial an earlier date movement? Maybe associated with Trends-Styles at different Dates? Regards Ray
     
  3. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Ray -- The two dials shown above are: pale cream dial with VI on the left is from an M.I. Tobias movement circa 1830. The other cream dial on the right, with actually a very partial VI, is another Liverpool movement in an 1830 hallmarked case. In earlier ranges I have a Litherland rack lever (1800) without VI and a Vale & Co rack lever (1805 +/- 10) with VI. Later on I have another Liverpool movement in an 1847 case with VI and several probably later movements by (the other) John Harrison without a VI. It wouldn’t appear that age is strictly a factor.
     
  4. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Well Jerry that explodes my theory; not age related. Regards Ray
     
  5. John Matthews

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    I have just checked through 30 single piece dials with seconds subsidiary in my collection. They date from 1812 to 1858 - thereafter all have two piece dials. Of these 29 are in English cases or are movements, dated from the signature, with no indication that they were ever destined for the trans-Atlantic trade. None of these have VI over-painted on the second subsidiary - a small number have evidence of the VI 'beneath' the subsidiary - I have been using my photographic record so I cannot tell whether the subsidiary was painted over a complete VI. The one with the VI is an 1845 Samuel Lewis signed movement in an American case.

    If my small selection is representative then one might infer that there may have been an American driver??

    John
     
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  6. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    I posted this yesterday on DaveyG´s collection thread so it was still laying my desk. This does happen now and then, but they are rare. This one anyway on a 15 seconds dial. With WHY I cannot say.

    w-9.JPG
     
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  7. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    A quick search through the results of 'seconds dial' in DP's archives, (688 hits), looking at sub-seconds dials whether at VI or elsewhere, shows the only superimposed 'VI' is on three Robert Roskells, all rack levers with 30 tooth escapes, one of which has a date ring instead of the seconds, and one pair cased verge by Hare from 1769. This latter has the sub dial obscuring the V and VII but not the VI.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  8. Allan C. Purcell

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    #8 Allan C. Purcell, Nov 17, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2019

    Thank you, Graham, I have to say as a Roskell fan I never noticed that he could possibly be the only one to use dials like that. So I had to take a look through my archive and can now say that it is not quite true, though it does seem to be another quirk of the Liverpool watch trade. (See below) In future, I will keep my eyes open for the superimposed IV.


    x-29.JPG Another Roskell, a re-case in gold pair-case c1830 No.8942.

    x28.JPG x-32.JPG Robert Roscoe Liverpool. (Nice Runner that one).The Hack on this one stops the third wheel.

    x-31.JPG x-30.JPG Robinson Liverpool.

    Graham,I will of course let you know if I find one on a London or Coventry pocket watch.

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  9. Ethan Lipsig

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    I reviewed all English watches in my collection and the few that have passed through it. All had Roman numeral dials. 19 had sub-seconds dials at 6 o'clock. One had a sub-seconds dial at 9-o'clock. Some had other sub-dials, e.g., up-down or calendar dials, but I only paid attention to numerals by the sub-seconds dial. Of the 20 that had such a dial
    • only one or two had single piece dials
    • only one had a superimposed VI on the subseconds dial
    • the other 19 had no VI or only a partial VI (or IX in the case of the C. Frodsham/Nicole, Nielsen watch that had the sub-seconds dial at 9 o'clock).
    Omitting the VI or only including a fragment seems by far to have been the most common practice everywhere, not only in the UK. The one R. Roskell that has passed through my collection, a rack lever, had just a fragment of a VI.

    The one example I found of a superimposed VI was on a circa 1830 Massey III, silver-cased John Tedburry I once had.

    Ted dial.jpg Ted Mov.jpg
     
  10. John Matthews

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    Ethan

    I do not ever remember seeing a two piece dial with the VI superimposed over a second subsidiary dial in the VI position (or IX at IX position) - most unlikely to be found I would think. I suspect the vast majority of the two piece dials had the subsidiary planted into a hole made into a dial that had its chapter ring already in place - hence you see a partial IV beneath the subsidiary - like so ...

    upload_2019-11-17_17-45-49.png

    John
     
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  11. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    John, you probably are right about superimposed VIs being limited to one-piece dials. Looking back at the Tedburry I my posting (#9), it has a one-piece dial. Although the VI is superimposed over the sub-seconds dial on that watch, that dial truncates the V and VII, as sub-seconds dials do on many Roman numeral dials. Have you or anyone else seen a Roman numeral dial that superimposed the V and VII as well as the VI on the sub-seconds dial?
     
  12. Allan C. Purcell

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    x-33.JPG x-34.JPG

    I found this one later, John Roberts, Liverpool. Only a movement at the moment. This John Roberts is an unknown maker, though he could well be one of the Welsh makers, though there are quite a number of those too. Massey II with a Liver bird. I had hoped it was a, HO HO bird, but on a Liverpool watch, you have to go for the cormorant. I also found another Roskell with this VI 8932. It's on file with a photograph.

    Allan.
     
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  13. Keith R...

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    My Liverpool Lewis Samuel in English HM case, 1832. I
    don't think this one was for export to US.

    Keith R...

    jj520 (600x800).jpg jj519 (800x600) - Copy.jpg jj521 (800x600) - Copy.jpg
     
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  14. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hi Keith, It does look like this VI is a Liverpool anomaly, and was only used there. That was well spotted by Jerry Trieman, and it as created some thought why it should be so. I took two London dials at random of the same period with the all in one dial, and I find both types are congenial. I don´t think that most people would even have noticed or would have cared about this, but there must have been something required maybe? (Did customers ask for it?) It could also be a type of advertisement by the dial maker, his trademark if you like. I had also thought it could have something to do with the stop-work used on these early watches, but as we have seen many of them don´t have the Hack system.

    z-5.JPG The Brockbank and the other W. Richardson of Cornhill.

    Allan.
     
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  15. Keith R...

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    My American jeweler out of Maine, in an 1850 English case, observed VI. Outside case
    diameter is 57MM. Liverpool watch.

    So check American Private Labels.

    Keith R...

    100_0919 (800x600).jpg 103_0265 (800x600).jpg 103_0249 (800x600).jpg
     
  16. Omexa

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    Hi Allan, I had thought that it may have something to do with where the Dials were made? Regards Ray
     
  17. John Pavlik

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    #17 John Pavlik, Nov 18, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
    On the 50 or so English dials I have from the pre 1850 time frame all but 5 are with out the VI in the seconds bit. One that has the VI is a Verge ...the rest are levers... The levers for the American market tend to have the VI in the seconds bit.... One unusual dial with a seconds track that addresses the issue and makes it a mute point is shown below ... Case dated London 1838.

    181D8934-E397-4B3D-BA15-B19061D4188C.jpeg 97690E4D-4329-4BA6-95B8-006BDA1DB4F9.jpeg 93E4A9F2-8F83-4C7E-8B39-C99588CE02E9.jpeg
     
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  18. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    That estimate was based on a quick look at my photos on file, which was not a complete catalog. Looking at all of my movements I find four times as many do not have VI in the seconds dial as those that do. I will also offer the caveat that my collection is heavily biased toward Liverpool movements.

    [... and John - I love that center-seconds watch!]
     
  19. Allan C. Purcell

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    John, Jerry, just a quick question, are any of these watches with the VI from London or Coventry, or all Liverpool.

    I too like that watch John, case is in wonderful condition.
     
  20. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Vale & Co., Coventry (rack lever, movement only)
    Vale_m.jpg Vale_d.jpg
     
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  21. John Matthews

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  22. John Matthews

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    Jerry - I have never seen this signature before. Did you source this movement on your side of the pond?

    John
     
  23. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    I purchased the movement in the States from a long-time collector with an interest in English watches. I have no reason to suppose it was exported to the U.S. originally.
    According to Graham (Rack lever by Vale & Company) this signature was used from around 1790-1822.
     
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  24. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  25. John Matthews

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  26. Allan C. Purcell

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    Here are the photographs from Jerry´s Vale & Company watch. Very nice watch, and that very early number (205) Rack Lever, made in Liverpool. I would like to think it was made by Roskell for the Vale company. I like those Welsh feathers on there too.

    Any chance of a photograph of your watch dial John, that to looks to have been made in Liverpool.

    z-23.jpg z-24.jpg
     
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  27. John Matthews

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    I only posted the Vale & Co for the signature. It has the standard subsidiary with the VI completely hidden - I captured the cap for the maker's mark TF - Thomas Furneaux, at that time Spon Street, Coventry - commonly found on Coventry finished watches from 1830-50.

    John
     
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  28. Allan C. Purcell

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    z-33.jpg z-32.jpg z-31.jpg Looking through the net for Liverpool pocket watches, I came across these other makers who used those dials with the superimposed VI on the second's dial. this one by John Tedbury Liverpool. Not in Loomes? Chester hallmark "K" 1828/29.


    z-27.jpg R & G. Beesley. This was the only photograph so not date. Loome´s as them George & Richard Beasley Liverpool 1825-1848. (He uses Beesley too)



    z-28.jpg Another Beesley, same story as above.


    z-29.jpg z-30.jpg This last one for now by Owen Owens. Loomes says Llangefni (Wales).1835-6

    So far I have to say a Liverpool dial maker in the early 1800s.

    Allan
     
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  29. Keith R...

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    My 1867 Davenport 11J, serviced by Graham. Cream dials
    were on most exports from Liverpool.

    No VI.

    Keith R...

    100_1971 (800x600).jpg
     

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