English Watches

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Thomas Tallant, Nov 20, 2007.

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  1. Thomas Tallant

    Thomas Tallant Registered User

    Oct 28, 2004
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    Hello,

    I'm not sure what I've got, so please, if anyone can help, let me know more about these watches:

    1. The dial is marked: "Parkinson & Frodsham / Liverpool"
    It is a beautiful silver-cased watch. Many hallmarks inside the hinged back and in other places on the case. I have not yet viewed the movement.

    2. Silver-cased watch marked on the dial: "D.D. Nevern / London". It is a case within a case model. Haven't looked at the movement yet, either.

    Thanks for helping,

    Thomas Tallant
     
  2. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Dec 30, 2001
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    Both of these makers are listed as being active in English watchmaking.. The Parkinson around 1834 and the Nevern Mid to late 1700's.. A couple of pictures of the watches themselvs would greatly enhance the ability to give more information..
     
  3. Thomas Tallant

    Thomas Tallant Registered User

    Oct 28, 2004
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    I will try to post some photos soon. I don't have a digital camera at the moment, but I should have one handy in a few days. Stay tuned.... and thanks for the information.

    Thomas
     
  4. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Parkinson and Frodsham were a partnership that was prominent in the high end watch and chronometer trade. They are part of the Frodsham family of watch & clockmakers and are written up extensively in the Vaudrey Mercer book on the Frodshams.
     
  5. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Thomas,

    To add to what John and Tom have said, William Parkinson of London is listed in the latest edition of Loomes as a member of the Clockmakers Company from 1802--42. He was in partership with William James Frodsham from around 1801. As Tom says, they were at the top end of the business.

    Maker of your pair case watch (the case within a case), DBD Neveren of London, is listed as working from 1760-84.

    If you can get clear close-up photos of the silver hallmarks we can tell you within two years when the cases (and most probably the movements) were made. With the pair cases, look to see that the hallmarks on both cases are the same.

    Looks like you have two very interesting watches there. What kind of condition are they in?

    Good luck, Jerry
     
  6. Thomas Tallant

    Thomas Tallant Registered User

    Oct 28, 2004
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    Jerry (et al.),

    As soon as I can get photos of the watches, I'll post them. The exteriors are in excellent condition. I don't recall any damage to the dials, hands, or cases. Both watches have what I think are called "bullseye" crystals (a slight concavity in the center of the dial).

    I'm mostly a collector of railroad watches, so examining these two English watches has been a pleasurable education for me. They are very handsome watches.

    I appreciate all the good help and information folks have been providing.

    Thomas
     
  7. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Thomas,

    The "bullseye" is formally known as the pontil mark. The pontil is a metal rod to which a wad of molten glass is attached and spun out to form the crystal. Polishing off left the slight concavity. You don't see very many of them after the 1840s or thereabouts, but I do have a watch made in Wales in 1882 which is both pair-cased and has a bullseye glass. The watchmaker must have had an old fashioned clientele

    Look forward to seeing some photos.

    Regards,

    Jerry
     
  8. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    There is a bit of controversy over the bullseye crystals.

    Certainly the depression is similar to the depression left in blown glass articles when the pontil mark left by the blowpipe is ground out. However, it does not seem likely that such small articles as watch crystals would have been blown as units. I don't know of anyone with sufficient skill to do that and I have know some very good scientific glass blowers over the years.

    There is a picture somewhere on-line of the large glass sphere that provided about 100 or so watch crystals when they were cut from it. Such crystals cut from a large glass ball have no depression in them unless one chooses to put one there as a decoration.

    Another theory of the depressions is that they were intended to allow one to focus a dim light on the dial to help in the reading.

    My personal feeling is that they were a mid 19th century fad and were applied to many earlier watches at that time.
     
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    If memory serves me right Silvio Bedini wrote on article on this subject... I used to be able to find it on the net..

    Just found it in the Web Archive. It came off of Barry Parker's website and it was a summary of the Bedini article from Hobbies Magazine.

    It might take a while to come up.

    Click Here

    Ralph

     
  10. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

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    Following is an explanation posted by Doug Sinclair on 17th Oct 2006. I think it is the right one

    "The bull's eye is called a "punty" mark, (contamination of the French word "pontil"). It is the result of how those crystals were formed when they were made. The crystal was formed on the end of a glass rod which was broken off once the glass cooled, and the rough spot was then polished to yield the "bull's-eye". There is no other practical reason for the existence of the bull's eye, and any other explanation for its existence is secondary."

    Jerry
     
  11. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Silvio Bedini is a highly respected and internationally known horological and scientific instrument scholar. I wouldn't dismiss his article out of hand.

    I bought the referenced Hobbies Magazine on eBay last night and am looking forward to reading the entire article.

    Ralph


     
  12. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Ralph,

    I can see how one might be confused by the use of the term "pontilage" into thinking it is the result of a pontil. However, if one has ever seen glass blown on a pipe they would understand that it would not be possible to blow a watch glass this way. I think I will have to agree with Silvio on this one.

    This is not the first time Doug and I have disagreed. We are still friends though. :)
     

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