François-Justin Vulliamy (1712-97) English cylinder circa 1765

musicguy

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There are no photos of the inside
only the outside and I have permission to use the photos. I don't
know if it works or not only what can be seen in the photos. The only description is
that it came from an estate. From the silver marks it looks like a Chester hallmark and a 1856 date.
If someone can recognize the maker mark that would be nice. Thanks in
advance!

s-l16gggggg00.jpg

gggggg.jpg

s-l1ggge600.jpg

s-l1ggggg600.jpg











Rob
 

svenedin

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Looks good for 50 USD from what I can see so far! Fortune favours the brave maybe!

Do you think the mark is “RS”?
 
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John Matthews

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Rob - likely to be RS in an oval cartouche - the mark of Ralph Samuel this mark registered with the Chester Office 7 April 1843. Similar mark registered at the Birmingham Office in 1850.

John
 
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musicguy

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Is there anything you can surmise from it not having a seconds bit?
It is most likely a lower quality watch?




Rob
 

svenedin

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Is there anything you can surmise from it not having a seconds bit?
It is most likely a lower quality watch?




Rob
You mean no second hand or sub-dial? I think we have to wait to see the movement. It certainly isn’t the most modern looking watch for the date but perhaps it’s a provincial piece where seconds were less important than in London!
 

musicguy

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Jerry Treiman

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This could be fun! I look forward to seeing what is inside. You can't go too wrong at that price.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Rob, it is possible that this watch, even at this late date of 1856, as a Massey escapement with a 30 tooth escape wheel. We will know more when we see the movement. It could though be a replaced dial?. Looks good for $50.00.

Allan.
 
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musicguy

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Fortune favours the brave maybe!
In battle the brave die first. ;)



Rob
 

Andrew Wilde

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Hi Allan - I've not forgotten the hallmark, but quite happy to admit I'm not smart enough to understand it's significance.
I'll bet you a broken fusee chain from a Tobias rack lever ;) that Rob's watch turns out to be a verge :)
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Andrew, when you lose you can keep the broken chain, if it is a verge I will send you an unbroken chain. :cool: While you are on, I think that Savage was an early Liverpool :rolleyes:Rack Lever.
 

musicguy

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OK here it is. It is a smaller watch than I thought, but it's MUCH nicer
than I thought it would be! It has a huge(well maybe not huge) diamond on the balance.


20210323_154749.jpg fusee UK.jpg

20210323_153913.jpg

20210323_154303.jpg

20210323_154024.jpg


20210323_154006.jpg


20210323_153939.jpg
20210323_153759.jpg


Rob
 

gmorse

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Hi Rob,

Do you know what you have there for your $50?

It's a fine English cylinder, signed for Justin, the son father of Benjamin Vulliamy, who was a major figure in London watchmaking and clockmaker to King George III. Can you show us a picture of the hallmarks, please?

I'll bet you a broken fusee chain from a Tobias rack lever ;) that Rob's watch turns out to be a verge
Andy, I'm afraid you lose your bet!

Regards,

Graham
 

svenedin

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Hi Rob,

Do you know what you have there for your $50?

It's a fine English cylinder, signed for Justin, the son of Benjamin Vulliamy, who was a major figure in London watchmaking and clockmaker to King George III. Can you show us a picture of the hallmarks, please?



Andy, I'm afraid you lose your bet!

Regards,

Graham
Hallmarks at beginning of thread Graham.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Stephen,

Thanks, just realised that Rob had posted the hallmarks earlier, which confirm that this is a re-case of a late 18th century movement, and I picked the wrong Justin! This is indeed the father of Benjamin (who died in 1811), who went on to such fame and fortune.

The movement has been re-cased to accomodate a larger, more fashionable dial; notice the extended brass edge. This was not unusual but was only worthwhile doing for the best quality movements. I've handled Mudge and Dutton and other fine movements that have been 'modernised' in this way.

Whoever sold this for $50 should be feeling pretty sick now . . .

Regards,

Graham
 

svenedin

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Hi Stephen,

Thanks, just realised that Rob had posted the hallmarks earlier, which confirm that this is a re-case of a late 18th century movement, and I picked the wrong Justin! This is indeed the father of Benjamin (who died in 1811), who went on to such fame and fortune.

The movement has been re-cased to accomodate a larger, more fashionable dial; notice the extended brass edge. This was not unusual but was only worthwhile doing for the best quality movements. I've handled Mudge and Dutton and other fine movements that have been 'modernised' in this way.

Whoever sold this for $50 should be feeling pretty sick now . . .

Regards,

Graham
I wonder whether it was re-cased within the same family who remembered how expensive it was when first purchased! Maybe when it was handed down to the next generation.
 

musicguy

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When I opened the dust cover I knew it was a special watch. I didn't know
it was from the late 18th century!! After I posted it I googled the name
on the movement and my blood pressure went up a bit.

It's also very clean.

Is there anything people can tell me about this watch that hasn't been said
 

gmorse

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Hi Rob,

If you're very lucky, this could have a ruby cylinder. I think it was probably made in the 1780s or 90s. Even if it has a steel cylinder, it may still have the George Graham type banking by a pin in the cylinder wall; the balance cock certainly hasn't been disfigured by cutting back the rim to accomodate a banking pin in the balance rim.
I wonder whether it was re-cased within the same family who remembered how expensive it was when first purchased!
Stephen, that's quite likely, and it may originally have been in gold paircases, which would have easily financed the work on the new dial and case.

Regards,

Graham
 

musicguy

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I can't read the serial number that well but it's
either IOA or LOA (letters)



Rob
 

gmorse

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Hi Rob,

I thought it might be a 'Z', but either way, that's perfectly legit, the Vulliamy family used these alphabetic codes exclusively from Benjamin Gray's partnership with Justin from 1743 onwards; the rest of the watch says 'quality', (the engraving is lovely), so I think your investment is safe! It's interesting that the case was hallmarked in Chester for a Liverpool case maker. The owners may well have lived in the area or maybe they didn't want to pay London prices for the work.

Regards,

Graham
 
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musicguy

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I gave it a little wind and it's running.



Rob
 

musicguy

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Graham sent me an article, " FRANCOIS JUSTIN VULLIAMY SHORT BIOGRAPHY No. 8 By S. BENSON-BEEVERS"

I believe based on the article it was made between 1765 and 1778

Here is a short excerpt:
"During the partnership the products were signed “Benj’n Gray & Justin Vulliamy”. On the death of Gray in 1764 the full signature or the shortened version “ Just. Vulliamy ” was used"



Rob
 
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SKennedy

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A great find for $50! I have a feeling this was originally a repeater too. There is a big cut out in the pillar plate under the fusee which would have provided room for the pendant push piece/arm. (this would have been where 12 was situated on the original dial) Can also see what might be repeat train holes on the pillar plate under where the regulator plate is situated and there is a brass screw head next to the VI on the regulator disc which is probably the eccentric one to adjust the mesh of the final pinion in the repeat train.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Seth,

Ah, I did wonder about that, what a watch it must have been! That would account for the round pillars and the flattened side on the one next to the open space where the repeat train would have sat. It would have struck on a bell, which would have been discarded when the new case was fitted, there being no room to mount it.

Regards,

Graham
 

aucaj

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Hi Rob,

Congratulations on a great find! It was most likely a repeater. Coincidentally, Sotherby's (London) is selling a 1765 Justin Vulliamy gold pair-cased repeater TOMORROW. Current pre-auction bidding is at 2200 GBP. Accounting for commission & currency conversion, that is $3795. It will be interesting to see the final value. I have included the link below. The photos will also give you an idea of the quality of your piece and the beauty of its original case.


By the way: Three generations of the Vulliamy watchmakers used a letter based serial number that to this day has not been solved. I have a watch from each of 3 Vulliamys. They are of excellent quality.
 
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Jerry Treiman

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I don't think that I am too envious ... :rolleyes:

... definitely a "fantastic find"!
 
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John Matthews

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Rob - a brilliant purchase.

Is it fair to assume this was purchased from an American vendor? Do you have any further information on the Estate from which it came from?

In my opinion, if it was purchased from an American source, it was possibly re-cased before it made its way across the pond. Which raises the question in my mind, whether it was at the hand of the Samuel & Rogers, and that it was they who fitted the large dial with the extended extended brass edge. Perhaps they then re-deployed the gold from the original gold pair cases. Samuel & Rogers were certainly in the business of exporting to America.

In support of Seth & Graham's comments - comparison with the repeater mentioned previously ...

1616580145286.png 1616580086202.png

I think confirms it was a repeater.

Does the cap have a maker's stamp?

John
 
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John Matthews

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I believe based on the article it was made between 1765 and 1778
Rob - I found a very similar movement by Ellicott here which I suspect was being made at the same time to the same design.The Ellicott has "been professionally 'enlarged'" and retains its (now dumb) repeating functionality which you can compare with your 'star' acquisition.

John
 
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musicguy

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Just the back story

I do not believe I will find any pertinent information from the seller.

I bought this watch on American Ebay(it was just 15-20 miles from my house). The experienced seller had 10 plus watches that
were all listed the same way, "Sliver Pocket watch". A few of them were early KW uncommon/scarce American factory made
circa 1860's-1870's(some were also junk). I was going to bid on some of them but I had forgotten. The next day they had all
sold individually for $50-80 American dollars a piece!! I could not believe it and I kicked myself a little then because there
were some VERY nice watches in the group. Then, the very next day he posted two more.
Unlike the others he had previously posted where he had shown the entire watch(including movement),
all you could see were the dials and hallmarks. I decided based on the other watches that
I would take a chance. Mine was a "buy it now" for $50.00 not an auction.

EDIT: I did send the Seller a note after.


Rob
 
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musicguy

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gmorse

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Hi Rob,

This is what it would have looked like between the plates, (although this is a lever, the repeating work was probably the same):

DSCF3491.JPG

And under the dial:

DSCF3423.JPG

Although the Vulliamys were rather fond of the Stogden pattern repeaters, continuing to use them long after most other makers.

Regards,

Graham
 
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musicguy

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This was the sellers response today when I contacted him after the sale

EDIT to include total conversation

"Thanks rob,
Oh great I’m happy you got lucky. I don’t know anything about watches Thank you for your concerns but it’s not my line I did go go to one local guy before I put it on he offered me 1000 for all I thought I will do better if I put them on and I did . I’m ok not upset at all I hope all who bought are happy and may that be my reward All the best"




Rob
 
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musicguy

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Justin Vulliamy only signed his full name on the highest end pieces that he made, and that is my
understanding from reading multiple sources and having conversations with other collectors. If this movement
was in it's original gold case with repeater working(and provenance) I wouldn't be talking about it today or having
it in my own collection. I did some investigating into the approximate value of this watch(I do not want to talk about that here).
What I did learn is that this watch is priceless to me. I do not know the watches provenance but I do believe it had
some serious provenance at one time even though that information is long lost to history.
As I have said, for me to own a watch circa 1765 and for it to have been made by Justin Vulliamy the patriarch
of three generations of watch and clockmakers is great.

I have looked at many movements and the majority do not have this interesting
design here(see red arrow) I did find it on two different ones Sold at Sotheby's
Here is one of them. My movement is very very similar to this one(even though it is much nicer than mine).
A Justin Vulliamy Watch Made for King George III | Watches | Sotheby’s

1616674230718.png


I just wanted to thank everyone here who followed this fun adventure with me and
furnished me with such good information and their camaraderie!

I am keeping it.

20210323_154024.jpg





Rob
 
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aucaj

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Hi Rob,

About that interesting design: I have read that there is a connection between Benjamin Gray (Justin Vulliamy's master under apprenticeship) and George Graham. You'll notice on all George Graham cylinder movements this little square cut out in the foot of the balance cock. It actually appears to allow access to one of the pins but I'm not sure. This Vulliamy feature may be a relict of that? I would be interested to hear others opinions on it.

Regards,
Chris
 

John Matthews

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many movements and the majority do not have this interesting
design here(see red arrow)
Rob - the ornament on the cock is not restricted to Vulliamy signed movements. It is also to be found on Ellicott movements from the same period ...

1616678009731.png 1616679314872.png

I cannot think of a practical reason for the ornament, but it does tend to cause me to infer a commonality of makers, for the cocks at least.

if you look carefully at the Vulliamy, sold yesterday at Sotheby's you will see that the cock probably started life like yours, but in the finishing it was modified to continue the decoration of the remainder of the cock.

1616679118387.png

It would appear that there might have been a stock of cocks that were as your example and some had a slot cut, some were left and others were modified with a continuation of the decoration of the rest of the cock.

John
 
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gmorse

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Hi Rob,

John is right, that feature isn't unique to the Vulliamy family by any means, I've come across it on a John Leroux and a Robert Higgs. It has no practical function that I can determine, but then neither do most of the decorative embellishments on these watches.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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John Leroux and a Robert Higgs
Like waiting for hours for the No.14 bus on the Brompton Road (university days in the '60s) and then 6 turn up in a matter of minutes. This one from a Mudge & Dutton Repeater - albeit asymmetrically positioned ...

1616681597411.png

There has to be a reason ... might it be where the cock was held during the main engraving of the cock?

John
 

musicguy

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I meant to say that most of the Vulliamy movements I have seen did not have that feature
Someone did point it out as an interesting feature to me(told me about it on other watches too) and I thought so too.
Thanks for the insight!


Rob
 
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aucaj

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Are all these watches cylinder escapements? Could it be homage to the George Graham who had a unique cut out on the cock foot of his cylinders?
 

gmorse

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Hi Chris,

Are all these watches cylinder escapements? Could it be homage to the George Graham who had a unique cut out on the cock foot of his cylinders?
Neither of the two I quoted with the feature are cylinders, however, these two by M&D are cylinders, but lack the feature.

DSCF2857.JPG DSCF6973.JPG
...might it be where the cock was held during the main engraving of the cock?
I shouldn't think so, the cock would probably have been held in a pitch block for engraving, to give full access over the whole surface.

Regards,

Graham
 

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