George Bethill watch questions

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by haneyk, Oct 22, 2007.

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  1. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
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    I just purchased the below watch and I have some questions I was hoping some of you guys might answer for me:

    1. I couldn't find a reference to George Bethill of London. When was he operating?

    2. There is a small capital "ES" case maker's mark on the inside of the inner case. Whose mark is this and when were they active?

    3. The case is appraently nickel. How do you polish nickel? My gold and silver polishing cloth doesn't work very well and the case needs a good cleaning.

    Thanks in advance! Kevin
     

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  2. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Kevin,

    There is a George Bethell (not Bethill) listed in the latest edition of Loomes, but all it says is "lost watch reported in 1757". The watch paper is a bit more helpful---Samuel Hardy of St Ives (Huntingdonshire, England) is listed as working 1839-54, but more than likely he was the watchmaker to whom the watch was taken for service sometime in its lifetime.

    The casemaker MIGHT be Ezekiel Stephens of London, but we need to know more about the hallmark. Is there a town mark and date letter? (The date letter would date the watch within a year or two.)

    The case is almost certainly NOT nickle silver. If it a genuine 18-19th century English case it will be sterling silver. The tarnish is probably too deep for a polishing cloth. I would suggest you get something called English Custom Polish Jewellers Rouge & Preservative. Despite the name, it is an American product and the maker is based in Maine. You can find them on the internet. Please don't go at the case with a commercial silver polish.

    Good luck, Jerry
     
  3. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
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    OK, I've attached a pic of the signature, the case marks (the "ES" is the one on the right), and the back of the case. Does that help any? It looks distinctly like the signature is spelled "Bethill" and not with an "e", but I guess names were changeable back then with regard to their spelling.
     
  4. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

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    The attached pic didn't come through---maybe you could have another shot at it. But yes, you are right about spelling---18th--19th cent spelling of names could be quite variable.

    Jerry
     
  5. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
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    Sorry...:?|
     

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  6. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Kevin,

    I hate to throw cold water here, but that is definitely not an English hallmark, which to my way of thinking, raises doubts about the authenticity of the movement. The other guys here maybe can say more about the movement. But as far as the case goes---and English silver is something I do know a bit about---this is not it.

    Jerry
     
  7. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
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    The seller said the case was plain nickel, and it looks like it could be, so I imagine it wouldn't have silver hallmarks on it.
     
  8. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Dec 30, 2001
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    Here is an opinion based on observed facts, not so much writtem research.. I would guess that the case is a replacement.. the movement Appears very authentic, an English make.. If you notice the movement diameter is somewhat smaller than the dial diameter. Most times that I have seen this setup, it is a quality movement that has been adapted to a newer case.. Movements from the mid 1700's to the 1780's or so are smaller in diameter than a standard 1810 and later movement.. .. When updating the case, a larger dial was fitted to give it a newer appearance.. Remember watches were not a common possesion at the time.. Here is a picture of a rather high grade Thomas Grignion cylinder escapement that I would doubt came in its present gilt pior case.. without hallmarks..Notice the dial plate..
     
  9. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    The Picture
     

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  10. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    No Dust Cap
     

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  11. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

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    Thanks for the info. guys. The pierced balance cook foot would date it to pre-1770, wouldn't it?
     
  12. RON in PA

    RON in PA Registered User
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    Looks like a circa 1770 movement in a circa 1800 or later case. God knows what those hallmarks are.
     
  13. Jerry Matthews

    Jerry Matthews Registered User

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    I am still puzzled about those "hallmarks". If it is an English late 18th or early 19th century replacement case, then it would not be nickle silver, which was a later 19th century American innovation. It may well have been a gilt case, but it but then it would not have had those marks. There is also the mis-spelling Bethill which is almost, but not quite, Bethell. I hate to be the bad guy here, but the term "Dutch fake" does come to mind.

    Jerry
     
  14. Leanne D

    Leanne D Guest

    Just doing some research on on hallmarks myself and i remember seeing the picture of yours...could they perhaps be Import marks on foreign made silver.
     
  15. haneyk

    haneyk Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
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    I don't think the case is silver. I think it could perhaps be foreign hallmarks for some base metal.
     

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