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English Fusee

Geoff May

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Jan 5, 2017
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Hi,

I bought this watch a few years ago from an antique dealer for about $100.00, it is Sterling silver I think 1890 from the hallmark.

It was made by John Safety in Carluke Scotland.

Can anyone help on the real age and any history?

Thanks Geoff
 

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JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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I think you may have misread the name on your watch. It is John Safely, not Safety.

The Safely family was extensive and many were named John, which is confusing. At least two men named John Safely were well-known watchmakers in Carluke. The first was born in 1805 (his father was also called John) and died in 1857. He had a son, also called John, and also a watchmaker, also in Carluke, who was born in 1846 and died in 1939.
You see a photo of John Jnr. in front of his shop if you go to www.carlukehistory.co.uk

Which John made your watch will probably depend on the hall mark - I will leave someone more expert than I to tell you about that.

Hope this helps a little.

JTD
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Geoff,

The hallmarks show Chester with a date of 1825 or 1890; the dial and hands do suggest the latter however. What isn't included in your picture is the sponsor's (or case maker's) mark, which should be on one of the other lids. The movement wasn't made by the man in the signature, but in a workshop in England, possibly in Coventry. Some pictures of the whole case would be helpful. The movement is a lever, and the style could have been made at almost any time for much of the 19th century.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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C.H is the mark of Charles Harris of 6 Norfolk Street, Coventry who registered this mark on 21/07/1878 at Chester.

John
 

gmorse

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Hi Geoff,

Now you know who made the case, but you may never know who made the movement. It's highly likely that it was a Coventry workshop, given that the case was made there.

The hands look as though they've collided, and this fleur-de-lis style is quite delicate, so don't try winding it until this is sorted out. In fact, until it's been serviced, it isn't a good idea to run it at all.

Regards,

Graham
 

Lychnobius

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Aug 5, 2015
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One nice thing about this watch is that the lettering of the seconds dial is almost complete. On gold and silver dials the seconds track was not enamelled but merely painted in ink, with the result that it has often completely disappeared.

This is only a seven-jewel watch in a style which (as Graham says) had scarcely changed since the 1820s, but it is a reasonable specimen and appears to be complete. Given the moderate purchase price, it is certainly worth some careful attention.

Oliver Mundy.
 

Geoff May

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Jan 5, 2017
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I am not sure if the hands have collided but the jewel on the regulator is loose so it is not running.

Are parts available for these ?

And I suppose I should look at getting it repaired at some time soon I do like the watch.

I dated it as 1890
 

gmorse

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Hi Geoff,

If the top endstone is loose, that may not be particularly serious, but if the balance wheel itself is slopping about, that could indicate a broken staff pivot, which certainly is serious. Parts have not been readily available for very many years, and even when they were, usually involved modifying to fit the watch. Repairs then were not just a matter of looking up replacement parts in a catalogue. The only source now is other movements of a similar age, but even then there's so much variation that the search can be a very frustrating and prolonged exercise, and still involves modification in most cases. These watches were not made to any standard and interchangeability wasn't a concept known to the makers! The alternative is to have the necessary parts made, with the attendant increased costs.

This current thread deals with this issue.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Geoff May

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Jan 5, 2017
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Cloverdale, Surrey BC Canada
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Hi Graham,

I am not a watch repair person though I am mechanical more so in old British motorcycles, even so I wish I could take a class on pocket watch repairs as I have so many that are not working Waltham mostly.

As far as parts I do have 4 other Fusee watches similar to this so I can probably take them all in to a watch repair and see if they can salvage some from them ??

The other thing is to spend lots on money on something like this which has the tendency to have repair costs value more than the value of the watch is sort of not somewhere I want to go. (I have done that on my other hobby restoring old motorcycles). After all the value on old things is really what someone else is prepared to pay for something just to have it, sort of a balance on decisions.

That being said this watch is nicer looking than all the other Fusee watches I have especially the face with its silver and gold look.

I am also new to this site so I hope my ramblings don't get too long

Geoff
 

gmorse

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Hi Geoff,

If you can find a repairer willing, (and what's equally important, competent), to look at your watch, it's worth a try, but don't hold your breath! Quite honestly, your biggest problem is going to be finding the right repairer, never mind the parts; people who know what they're doing with these old pieces aren't very numerous, and tend to have large backlogs of work. You're quite right to consider that the potential costs could well be greater than the monetary value of the watch, and if that equation doesn't work for you, then just keep the watch as a decorative piece and enjoy it that way.

If it was a family heirloom, that would put it in a very different light.

Regards,

Graham