English pocket watch

Gra

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Jul 23, 2020
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I have an English fusee pocket watch which has been handed down from my grandfather, however, I can not identify the maker.

The case is hallmarked with a Lion passant, London hallmark, date letter is a Gothic lower case k, possibly 1845, it also has a small cross in a shield. The case makers mark is WC.

Can anyone shed any light on who the maker could be, also there seems to be a choice of several WC silversmiths.

I have attached several photographs.

Thanks everyone

image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Gra, and welcome to the forum,

Can anyone shed any light on who the maker could be, also there seems to be a choice of several WC silversmiths.
The date is certainly 1845/6, and although there are several makers listed in Priestley with this precise 'WC' incuse mark, only one could be in use at any one time, so the case maker is most probably William Carter at 22 Galway Street, Bath Street, St Luke's. The small shield with a cross isn't part of the legal hallmark set, and is probably the mark of the jointer, who made the hinges and put the case together.

I notice that the movement ought to have a dust cap, do you have this?

The maker of the movement is a harder question to answer, in the absence of any signature on the top plate and no distinctive features. At this date it's also unlikely that there will be any frame maker's mark on the pillar plate under the dial. The dial is quite attractive and would clean up well with care, but I wouldn't recommend that you try and straighten the hour hand yourself.

If it hasn't been serviced for some years it isn't a good idea to run the watch too much either; old oil and dirt can combine to make a grinding paste which will potentially do some damage.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Gra

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Thanks Graham,
Your information is icy appreciated, I was wondering if I heated up the hand to anneal the steel I might be able to straighten it, what do you think?
The watch has been wound the wrong way (not by me I add) which fortunately did not break the chain, however, it did tear the fusee cone, I don’t know if this can be repaired or if I’ll have to find one the correct dimensions and replace it. I’ve attached a photo.
Thanks again Graham
Graham

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Gra

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Sorry Graham, forgot to add that I have the dust cap. There are no markings on it however.
Graham

C708F51D-4374-4F28-BDD0-021E1FFB9CFA.jpeg
 
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gmorse

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Hi Gra,

The watch has been wound the wrong way (not by me I add) which fortunately did not break the chain, however, it did tear the fusee cone, I don’t know if this can be repaired
I'm afraid your picture is too small to show much detail, but I'm puzzled how winding the wrong way could have torn the fusee cone, or come to that, broken the chain. What it can do is strip teeth from the great wheel; what exactly is the damage?

Regards,

Graham
 

Gra

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Hi Graham,
I have attached another photo of the Fusee cone, I hope this one is clearer, it looks to me as if it is split near the bottom I was expecting to see a small hole where the chains hook fits. I have checked the chain and the hook is still in place.
I have wound the key which turns in either direction, however the gears at the bottom of the cone do not move but all the teeth look intact.
Regards
Graham

DSC_2329.JPG
 

SKennedy

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Winding it the wrong way could break the click (pawl) or ratchet teeth inside the fusee, particularly if they were already worn. This would also allow the fusee to be 'wound' with the key in both directions without the great wheel teeth moving. It is possible that there are bent teeth right by the centre pinion but this is difficult to see with the watch still in one piece.
The end of the chain should be hooked over a pin that sits within that slot you can see in the fusee and it is probable that the pin has been pulled out. All of this can be repaired.
I don't suggest trying to anneal the hand unless you are confident you can re-blue it again. It would still be a delicate thing to straighten if you haven't had much practice at it.
Seth.
 

gmorse

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Hi Graham,

As Seth has said, the very fine steel pin has been torn out, which could have been due to the fusee stop mechanism failing. The fusee has maintaining power, (the steel ratchet wheel sandwiched between the cone and the great wheel), and the two clicks, which are quite thin and delicate, are part of that wheel.

DSCF6064.JPG

The picture shows a dismantled fusee, with the maintaining power wheel on the left, the cone at the top and the great wheel on the right, (all before cleaning).

Bluing hands has been discussed at length in several threads here and is not as straightforward as you might suppose.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Gra

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Thanks Seth, Graham,

Your comments and knowledge are much appreciated, I have found a site the sells fusee cones, as long as I can find one of the same dimensions I will replace it, will practice on a couple of scrap movements first. As for the hands, will either leave it as is or if I can find some matching ones replace those also.
Will post post results when I've finally done it. Only just getting into this fascinating hobby.

Regards
Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi Graham,

If it is damaged clicks, these are replaceable, and indeed often were through the lives of many watches; being tucked away inside the fusee they are often neglected when servicing and suffer from lack of lubrication. The fusee has to be dismantled to get at them, which involves driving out the brass or copper cross pin at the base which holds everything together. You may well have to try several fusees before you find one that fits, and you should also be aware that nothing was standardised in these watches, each component was fitted to what was already there, even though the overall designs were very similar.

You simply can't get away with just swapping parts, there's almost always some fitting to be done.

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi Graham,

You simply can't get away with just swapping parts, there's almost always some fitting to be done.
To expand a little on my earlier remark, a replacement fusee has to have the same diameter arbor pivots and the arbor has to be the same length across the shoulders, in other words it has to be able to fit between the plates without binding or on the other hand being too loose. The ratchet wheel in the base of the cone has to be a match for the spacing of the two clicks. If you go for a fusee complete with its great wheel, that has to match the diameter of the old one quite precisely, and its teeth have to engage and mesh properly with the pinion on the centre wheel. Some of these factors can be adjusted and modified, but nearly all with the use of a lathe, (and some skill and understanding). If you're thinking you can swap just the fusee arbor for the original one, I have to say that I've never seen this done without destroying the arbor and/or the cone; the arbors were made 5 or 6 sided and driven into the rough cones with some force, before the ends were coned and the whole thing was trued up before the groove was cut.

DSCF7031.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 

rstl99

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Thanks Graham I found your explanation very insightful and informative, as always.
Certainly a lot went into making the original fusee for a watch, and it took an experienced repair person to fix things right when things went awry.
--Robert
 

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