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

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
I really am pleased about the $50 watch, it will go down in the history of these circles for a long time. Plus I won a broken chain from a Tobias watch.

On paper anyway. The best news is you are going to keep it. :emoji_santa: A bit early, but it fits.

Well Done,

Allan.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
I have just gone through my photograph database. I found ~25 'makers/signatures' with the edge of cock foot having the feature as described above. The earliest examples are on cylinders from ~1720, the latest 1810 and on verges from ~1770 to 1790. I noted that all were probably finished in London and that only on two examples was the cock foot pierced - both of these were on verge movements.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: musicguy and aucaj

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi John,
...however, these two by M&D are cylinders, but lack the feature.
Oh dear, silly me, of course the two M&Ds do have the feature, it's just engraved differently; most seem to have a cross-hatched pattern.

These are the reverses of those two balance cocks, notice that the pin clearances run laterally, so the feature can't relate to inserting the taper pins.

DSCF2859.JPG DSCF6975.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
Justin Vulliamy was born Francis Justin Vulliamay but did not use his first name. b.1712 d. 1797. So Just when was this watch made, I think I have read somewhere c1764. In "THE VULLIAMY CLOCKMAKERS" by David G. Vulliamy on page 12 there is a photograph of a Cylinder watch by Justin, though black and white and poor the number appears to be a three-digit and they say c1770. Maybe someone here as a listed date file. The others above by Vulliamy with that punch mark on the cock appear to be the same, and when enlarged they have numbers on them.

Later we have the same mark on John Ellicott watches, yet his working dates are 1790-1812. So who would be making these cocks for them is the question, plus why. At the moment I have the feeling these were only on watches made for the Royal Family, could be way out, but lets see how it progresses? I know they are other versions seen above that seem to be engraved, but they could be for the lesser Royals?

Allan

000-19.jpg

I now see three letters on the one in the book above.
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
Justin Vulliamy was born Francis Justin Vulliamay but did not use his first name. b.1712 d. 1797. So Just when was this watch made, I think I have read somewhere c1764. In "THE VULLIAMY CLOCKMAKERS" by David G. Vulliamy on page 12 there is a photograph of a Cylinder watch by Justin, though black and white and poor the number appears to be a three-digit and they say c1770. Maybe someone here as a listed date file. The others above by Vulliamy with that punch mark on the cock appear to be the same, and when enlarged they have numbers on them.

Later we have the same mark on John Ellicott watches, yet his working dates are 1790-1812. So who would be making these cocks for them is the question, plus why. At the moment I have the feeling these were only on watches made for the Royal Family, could be way out, but lets see how it progresses? I know they are other versions seen above that seem to be engraved, but they could be for the lesser Royals?

Allan

View attachment 645601

I now see three letters on the one in the book above.
I think he hated the name François :) He signed his suboptimal work with a pseudonym based off his first name.
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
I don't think it is related to the Royal commissions necessarily. Here is a link to a Daniel St. Leu with the same mark but for the Turkish market. St. Leu was a well-known watchmaker for the King. He even signed his watches stating it. This watch is signed 'Maker to His Majesty".

 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
Here's one of the cylinder examples with the 'rectangular reserve' (as described by Graham) on a pierced cock foot ...

That's another beautiful piece. The engraving is fine, especially the dragon, and I'd guess at 1750-60 for the date. I wonder what the small rectangular reserve is on the cock foot? It will be interesting to see the details of the escapement when it arrives with you. I can't find a Richard Topping in Brittens.
that Keith found back in 2014 that had found its way across the pond to Antigua.

1616712745725.png

Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the world has one entry:-
Topping Richard Antigua West Indies pre 1770
John
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
I think I have the answer. I checked one of my English repeaters. On the underside of the dust cover is a slot with a stud from the crescent locking bar protruding through. These features determine the amount of travel to lock or unlock the dust cover. The slot and nub are position exactly over the mystery feature. I think it is to ensure that the crescent lock stud does not rub on the balance cock foot.

I will post photos later once I have a chance.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
The slot and nub are position exactly over the mystery feature.
Chris - while you observation my be correct in some examples, it certainly is not in all. I believe the alignment, where seen, is probably coincidental, although the clearance provided may have been utilised by the cap maker. In the early Graham examples some, as you pointed out, correspond to the position of the pillars and appear to given better access to insert the pin. Some capped examples have the feature reworked to match the decoration of the remainder of the cock foot and are only present as a ghost. There is no reduced height in the cock provided by the cock, in those cases. Finally in the Antigua signed example you can see that the 'stud' does not correspond to the position of the feature and this in the situation in many of the examples.

1616740560659.png

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
I have to admit until this thread started I had not noticed this impression on Verge pocket watches, or if I had it was overseen as decoration. I also thought that by now Graham would have given us the answer, but has he says this problem has worried him over seven years. I tell you this because I am at the moment working on a Power-Point thread. I have over the years collected quite a few Verge watches, and I must have looked at more than is healthy, again not noticing that stamp. So hoping I had missed it on my Daniel De St Leu I got it out and had a look, no luck there.

000-20.JPG 000-21.JPG

So I got out my copy of the French catalogue on Cocks, not there, of course, they are all hand-drawn designed. next was Cecil Jaggers book "The Art of the English Watch" these cocks were photographed, but sorry to say, none had this stamp. Though on page 135 I thought it could be one, I think now part of the design?

000-22.JPG

So from now on, I will be going through all my books on "WATCHES" looking for that stamp, and hoping someone mentions it.

One aside, in Jaggers book page 147 third row, there is a cock with a nursery rhyme version with a spiders web, fly and predatory bird, and remembering it from my childhood I got through to the horse, (She died of course) though now it's stuck in my head, like the tread above.

Allan
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi John,

I think I have the answer. I checked one of my English repeaters. On the underside of the dust cover is a slot with a stud from the crescent locking bar protruding through. These features determine the amount of travel to lock or unlock the dust cover. The slot and nub are position exactly over the mystery feature. I think it is to ensure that the crescent lock stud does not rub on the balance cock foot.
Finally in the Antigua signed example you can see that the 'stud' does not correspond to the position of the feature and this in the situation in many of the examples.
I asked David Penney what the origin of this feature was, and his answer, although brief, was that the origin lay in the cap, so the proposal by Chris is correct, at least for its original purpose. It subsequently appears to have become simply a decorative feature, as many items did, as your examples tend to confirm.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: musicguy

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
Thanks, Chris and Graham- saved me some time looking through all those books, but it has taught me to look and be more aware of what
I am looking at.

Allan.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
If David's explanation relates to the clearance for the pin securing the sliding cap spring, then I am afraid David's explanation is at odds with the earliest examples that I have been able to find. So I am going to stick my neck out and say that I believe he is possibly mistaken. That is unless, someone can identify an earlier example than the one described below, and can relate the 'feature', in some way, to the construction of the cap.

I refer to George Graham #5227 (p.184/185 The English Watch). This is one of the earliest cylinder movements made, after the cylinder escapement was developed by Graham in 1726. The watch is hallmarked 1727/28. Graham's earlier verge watches, and those of contemporary London makers, were characterised by cock feet that were much wider than the table and were heavily pierced. I have been unable to find a movement with a pierced wide cock that has the 'rectangular reserve'.

In describing this early Graham cylinder T C Cuss says ...

'The index plate and cock foot are engraved; it appears Graham ceased to pierce these out when he adopted his new escapement.'
As can be clearly seen in this photograph of the movement, the reserve is a cut out and is positioned, it would appear, to improve access to the pin through one of the pillars. It's position does not correspond to the securing pin at the midpoint of the cap spring.

Graham early cylinder #5227 (1727-28)001.jpg

A second Graham movement #5939 (sold by David) has the cut-out, but not corresponding to the position of one of the pillars. Again the cut-out does not correspond to the position of the securing pin for the cap spring. Similarly there is no correspondence with the securing pin for the cap spring in Graham #5983 - in this case there is a circular enlargement of the cut-out to accommodate the plate pillar, which is slightly offset from the cut-out. In Graham #6498 (1750) no correspondence with the spring pin and the cock has just a ghost feature which has been decorated to match the engraving of the cock foot. The second Ellicott example I posted in post #45 is from Ellicott cylinder #5052 believe to be ~1760 (#5141 is dated 1762 in The English Watch, p.218). It has the feature - now drilled for the screw securing the pillar. (Graham - do you think this is later?)

So my conclusion is that the feature was not introduced specifically to provide clearance for the securing pin of the cap spring. It may, where the feature provides an area of reduced cock foot height, have been used to advantage by the cap maker, but I see no evidence that it was introduced for that specific purpose.

In the earliest example I can find, as Chris pointed out ..

It actually appears to allow access to one of the pins
the cut out does appear to have a practical purpose. In later examples, it seems to me that the explanation may be no more than 'following that C18th fashion guru George Graham' ;).

Willing to be proved wrong, if some one can provide a pre-1727 example that demonstrates a different explanation.

John
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi John,

I did ask David about the origin of the feature and his reply was as above. When features become fashionable they often lose their purpose and mutate into pure decoration.

Graham's earlier verge watches, and those of contemporary London makers, were characterised by cock feet that were much wider than the table and were heavily pierced.
Regarding George Graham, this verge dates from around 1720 and nicely illustrates your point abut the cock foot, (and it has never had a cap).

DSCF8342.JPG

Pierced out cock feet became less common as time went on, and they also got narrower.

Regards,

Graham
 

SKennedy

Registered User
Jan 5, 2017
240
125
43
Country
Pierced out cock feet became less common as time went on, and they also got narrower.
Regards,
Graham
Yes, though, relevant to this thread, the Vulliamy family were quite keen on pierced decoration and were certainly using it on regulator plates into the 19th century when I'm not sure many (any?) others were.
 

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
John, I got out the monster book "ThomasTompion 300 Years" on page 623 the list of George Grahams watch list stops at serial number 5175.

Quote.
" Quite suddenly between numbers 5175 and 5182, Graham switched to producing movements with a cylinder escapement. With the introduction of the cylinder escapement, Graham ceased to pierce the cock foot and slide-plate and he began to protect movements with caps. Just one later movement is listed with verge escapement-apparently authentic-no 5999.

Hope that helps. All known Graham watches with serial numbers are listed there.

The book its self is so heavy, I get nervous and heave it onto a table, hoping it won't fall apart, the one I saw in Carter- Marsh had done just that.

Allan.
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
Here are the photos of the underside of the dust cap. There are actually three slots with nubs riding within them to determine the travel for locking and unlocking.

1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
does not correspond to the securing pin at the midpoint of the cap spring. [/QUOTE said:
Hi John,

Would it be possible to get a photo of the underside of Graham #5227 dust cap? It appears that it probably does line up with the middle slot to me.

R/
Chris
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,376
3,909
113
New York State
Country

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
Chris,

I am afraid i don't have a photograph of the underside of the #5227 cap - the only photograph I have is the one I took from The English Watch, where the underside of the cap is not shown.

I was careful to preface what I said by

If David's explanation relates to the clearance for the pin securing the sliding cap spring
It was remiss of me not to explain further.

As you point out there are three slots cut into the caps to accommodate the securing spring, I was specifically referring to the central one, corresponding to the protruding screw head used to slide the cap spring. When I examined the earliest cap I have in my collection (a centre seconds William Allam cylinder ~1760), I observed that whereas the 'nibs' located in the outer two slots do not protrude below the underside of the cap, the one below the screw does protrude.

20210327 001.jpg 20210327 002.jpg

I therefore assumed that this would be the only one requiring clearance. This may have been a mistake.

As you have demonstrated with your example, it does appear that there is alignment of one of the outer slots with the cock foot feature. It is therefore possible that if the 'outer nibs' did protrude below the underside of the cap in the earlier examples, then the feature may have been there to provide clearance. This is possibly what David Penney is referring to - he will have handled early Graham examples, so this could be the answer.

Does anyone have photographs of a underside of an early cap from the 1720s?

I'm happy to have 'stuck my head on the block' if as a result it has improved our understanding - the scientific method in action .

John

EDIT - After further research I can confirm that early Graham caps only had two slots (no central slot) and that one of these slots, into which the cap spring nib protruded, was positioned above the cock foot feature
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,376
3,909
113
New York State
Country
I was just reading some research John Matthews had posted about Ralph Samuel the case maker
that was quite interesting.

In 1843, there is evidence of further tension between the Chester Office and the Liverpool makers. Specifically the makers were accused of sending items containing elements made from lower purity than the standard and trying to conceal individual items of inferior standard within a batch of items of the correct standard. Subsequently, in 1856, a Parliamentary Select Committee was established to review the future of the provincial assay offices. The Select Committee was also charged to investigate accusations of incorrect assaying and that false punches were being used on gold wares in Liverpool.

Giving evidence to the Committee, Ralph Samuel, vigorously defended the domestic Liverpool trade and its connection to the Chester Office. (It is of note had a decade or so earlier, he had been one of the case makers who had been warned by the Chester Office.) R&P record part of his submission as follows.

Ralph Samuel reported that a great many uncased watches or movements were being sent to America where they were encased in gold cases, many of which bore fraudulently forged London and Chester marks that were punched with an 18 carat mark on 9 carat gold. The Americans who had visited Liverpool were willing to place large orders for lower standard gold cases provided that an 18 carat mark could be placed upon them.

Rob
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,376
3,909
113
New York State
Country
  • Like
Reactions: Allan C. Purcell

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,056
113
Germany
Country
Region
was just reading some research John Matthews had posted about Ralph Samuel the case maker
that was quite interesting.
Hi Rob,
Page 270 of "Thomas Tompion 300 years"

Small gold pair-cased timepiece, number-406. 1683.

On the 16th of November 1682, Nathaniel Delander was summoned before the Goldsmiths Company and threatened with prosecution for making cases which were not of the finest gold as defined by an act of 1576. The Act determined that no goldsmiths work should be of less fineness than twenty-two. carrotes. (Old English)

It goes on, but the point is Goldsmiths, Silversmiths, watchmakers and others were trying to cut corners, and not just in the UK, Plus the above proves they were before 1576. I wonder if anyone has tested the gold on Tut Ammons coffin?:emoji_eye: I think it should be pure.

Allan
 
  • Like
Reactions: aucaj

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
I was just reading some research John Matthews had posted about Ralph Samuel the case maker
that was quite interesting.


Rob
Rob: Do you know if there are any photos of these 9 carat watches with 18 carat marks?
 

Halda Sweden

Registered User
Dec 30, 2008
120
68
28
South Sweden
Country
Dear Horological friends I have a two movements marked Vulliamy London in my collection

No1. with lever escapement. The signature "asai" is a code of some sort i guess?

2012-09-12 001.jpg 2012-09-12 002.jpg 2012-09-12 004.jpg 2012-09-20 011.jpg 2012-09-20 013.jpg 2012-09-20 020.jpg

No2. with cylinder escapement.

P1050826.JPG P1050827.JPG P1050831.JPG P1050829.JPG P1050825.JPG

Best regards
Peter B.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Peter,
No2. with cylinder escapement.
The picture is a little blurred, but I'd say that's a duplex, not a cylinder. The style of the balance cock/bridge is sometimes known as a 'Kendall' after Larcum Kendall, and the firm did use that design. The meaning of the alphabetic codes has not been fully deciphered yet.

Regards,

Graham
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
Dear Horological friends I have a two movements marked Vulliamy London in my collection

No1. with lever escapement. The signature "asai" is a code of some sort i guess?

View attachment 646231 View attachment 646232 View attachment 646233 View attachment 646234 View attachment 646235 View attachment 646236

No2. with cylinder escapement.

View attachment 646237 View attachment 646238 View attachment 646240 View attachment 646241 View attachment 646242

Best regards
Peter B.
Hi Peter,
Beautiful examples. During Justin’s partnership with his son, the watches were signed with just “Vulliamy”. I believe the switch from a 3 letter code to a 4 letter code occurred around 1812.

I think your second example is a duplex and not a cylinder.
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Dec 28, 2010
1,365
247
63
So. Cal., USA
Country
Region
Awesome watch, with an "awesomer" story. Way to go, musicguy! That kind of deal doesn't happen on the "bay" as often it once did. Not that it was frequent, just more frequent. After all, "the bay" does everything they can to make sure that things go out closer to top dollar than that one did. Congrat's on a great watch at a great price. A real piece of history.
 
  • Like
Reactions: musicguy

Halda Sweden

Registered User
Dec 30, 2008
120
68
28
South Sweden
Country
Hi Peter,
Beautiful examples. During Justin’s partnership with his son, the watches were signed with just “Vulliamy”. I believe the switch from a 3 letter code to a 4 letter code occurred around 1812.

I think your second example is a duplex and not a cylinder.
No 2 or "second example" is for sure a duplex escapement, Sorry my mistake. Here is some better photos on both movements..

Best rgds
Peter B.

20210329_090441.jpg 20210329_090501.jpg 20210329_102907.jpg 20210329_102937.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Peter,

Two nice little Vulliamy quality details; the lever has a screwed stud and the duplex minute wheel is pinned to its post.

Regards,

Graham
 

SKennedy

Registered User
Jan 5, 2017
240
125
43
Country
A lovely meandering thread because Vulliamys are always a pleasure to look at!

As a slight diversion from the cock foot relief decoration I've noticed that on this watch I handled a few months ago (not Vulliamy, circa 1750), there are two such reliefs on the regulator plate. While I don't have a photo of the underside of the cap, I think these would correspond.with the positions of two nibs of the retaining slide.

IMG_4838.JPG
 

Forum statistics

Threads
165,002
Messages
1,435,791
Members
85,918
Latest member
Rob aust
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre