George Morton chronometer

miguel angel cladera

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Jul 29, 2019
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Just now i recived this George Morton Chonometer nº 1707 with Helical spring. Now need to make a service and search a case. Just now im in London. Anyone know a place were i can find a case?

Thank you so much

3b1d67a9-1653-4d6b-9edf-9112a62f3922 222.jpg 9cc480dd-10ba-4257-ad22-a55847159acf 222.jpg d43439f9-f237-4da4-bf12-f42de5f7c058 222.jpg
 
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gmorse

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Hi Miguel,

This may or may not have been made by the George Morton who invented and patented several varieties of 'chronometers', most using a version of the Robin escapement, called in sequence, 'Morton's Patent'; 'Morton's Patent improved'; 'Patent Chronometer'; 'London Patent Chronometer'; and 'Patent Union Chronometer'. However, your watch is not one of these, having a normal English lever single roller escapement. Whether there was one George or more than one, this is a well-made watch, although much in need of a good clean and overhaul.

Jon's suggestion of the Portobello Road area is a good one, because a period case should cost far less than having a new one made.

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi Miguel,

Yes, I know where it came from! The term 'chronometer' was rather loosely applied, (and indeed still is), not necessarily describing an instrument with a detent escapement and usually a free-sprung balance, although some pocket chronometers didn't use the helical balance spring.

Regards,

Graham
 

miguel angel cladera

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Hi Miguel,

Yes, I know where it came from! The term 'chronometer' was rather loosely applied, (and indeed still is), not necessarily describing an instrument with a detent escapement and usually a free-sprung balance, although some pocket chronometers didn't use the helical balance spring.

Regards,

Graham

it is a very interesting topic because the definition changed on the time... I understood at the age of this watch (1870) a chronometer always has a detent escapement but in 1900 a lot of american pocket watches was

designated chronometer and today only they need a COSC certificate... So... In 1870 they cheated the future buyers making more atractive the watch signing "Chronometer" on dial??
 

gmorse

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Hi Miguel,

So... In 1870 they cheated the future buyers making more atractive the watch signing "Chronometer" on dial??
I think there may have been an element of that, but there were other usages at the time, also applied to escapements that weren't detents, such as the 'half-chronometers' sold by Barraud & Lunds and other prominent retailers. These were lever watches with compensated balances properly adjusted for heat and cold, as true chronometer balances were, but since it isn't possible to tell if a balance has been properly adjusted simply by its appearance, some less scrupulous makers did use the name as a marketing ploy on their unadjusted watches.

Regards,

Graham
 

Dr. Jon

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This watch would have been called a "Half Chronometer". This was a usually a free sprung lever such as yours. I have not seen an example in which they wrote this on the dial or movement until I saw this one. English trade was very strongly against calling any timepiece a chronometer unless it had a detent escapement and opposed Swiss certified watches sold as chronometers until the 1920's.

If DAvid Penney has not idea of why it was marked this way I do not either.

About 10 years before John Hutton made some similar watches he marked "Hutton's Patent Chronometer" on the dial which had his form of lever escapement. These were exhibited at the Great London Exposition in 1851 and won a medal but no one followed his example, unless it was Morton.

I do not believe such marking was against English law but it was highly discouraged.
 

John Matthews

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Miguel - I have details of 30+ Morton Chronometers including your recent acquisition - here is the list from my photographic database (Lightroom)

upload_2020-7-18_23-6-17.png

All have 'chronometer' on the dial or on the movement. None have a detent escapement. None apart from your example has the name of G Morton or the address of 31 Hanover Street engraved on the movement. Some just have the name of the version of Morton's 'chronometer'. Many have the retailer/finisher for whom the movement was made. All of the examples were built on Lancashire frames. The earlier examples are often stamped T&JH for Thomas and John Hewitt of Prescot. The later examples stamped H.F most likely Henry Fletcher of Eccleston. To my knowledge your example is the only one constructed on a frame by John Wycherley of Prescot (JW).

As David makes clear in his description there exists a small number of these free sprung levers engraved as yours - this is the only one I know of.

A George Morton is recorded at the Hanover Street address in an 1863 directory. There is also a George Morton listed in the 1881 census living in Birkenhead. The later George Morton was born in Liverpool. It is often assumed that the latter was associated with William Holland. It is possible that these may have been the same person and indeed the same George Morton who was working in Keighley when he entered his patent dated October 17, 1856. More research is needed.

John
 

John Matthews

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In the previous post I omitted to add the the serial numbers in David Penney's publication which is a must for anyone interested in the Morton series of 'chronometers. I have now included them in my database. If anyone is aware of any movements that I have missed, I would appreciate details.

upload_2020-7-19_14-29-54.png

I believe my comments from the previous post remain accurate.

John
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear John,

I missed known numbers in David Penneys interesting small book. There is two of these interesting pocket watches in my collection.

1. No 1896 with a silver case year 1862

2. No 3204, keyless fusee,

“Arnold & Lewis Late Simmons
7 St Anns Square Manchester
Patent Union Chronometer”

This pocket watch has also another movement number. It´s marked with no , 3024 on the dialside. The reversed side of the dial is marked 24. There is a special symbol under the balance cock. Not sure of the case maker....Have to check archive...

Best regards
Peter B

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1606642898473.png 1606647896697.png 1606647975136.png 1606648032285.png 1606648075721.png
 
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gmorse

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Hi Peter,

This is the version with the duplex type locking, which means that it isn't a detached escapement and for the makers to call it a chronometer was stretching the definition!

Regards,

Graham
 

Halda Sweden

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Sorry I mixed the numbers on the Lewis pocket watch. I also checked the London Patent Chronometer No 1896.

My corrections...

1. No 1896 with a silver case year 1862 R.O, probably Richard Oliver,
Movement = "London Patent Chronometer"

2. No 3024 (3204), keyless fusee,

Arnold & Lewis Late Simmons
7 St Anns Square Manchester
Patent Union Chronometer”


This pocket watch has two different numbers. On the dial + case it´s= 3024. On the movement 3204. The reversed side of the dial is marked 24. There is a special symbol under the balance cock. Not sure of the case maker....Have to check archive...

Below some pictures on No 1896

Best regards
Peter B


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1606647896697.png



1606648032285.png




1606647975136.png



1606648075721.png
 

John Matthews

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Peter - thank-you for sharing these examples.

The mark on the underside of the cock (sometimes referred to as the 'Co' mark) is seen on a number of Patent Union Chronometers in the 1860s and early 1870s. I suspect it may be the mark of the escapement maker - I cannot remember if I have seen it on other escapements - none come to mind. I know it is found on examples that are also stamped H.F {Henry Fletcher, Prescot}, who was responsible for many of the PUC frames.

I suspect that the two numbers (3204 & 3024), might be an error made when the movement was engraved, given the number stamped on the frame, cock and dial. The other possibility is that it is the retailer's serial number, but I think this likely, given the same digits are involved.

John
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear Horological Frineds

I bought this movement recently; "I Simmons Manchester No 6090"

It has a high production number... Any thoughts?

Best regards
Peter B:)

397360103_806bd50a-8cb3-4387-9131-cdb8532eba91 - kopia.jpg 397360103_388332fa-c91d-4a97-b57c-1110700f4adb - kopia.jpg 397360103_e7aef52d-a764-40f4-a8da-b67b73341600 - kopia.jpg
 

Dr. Jon

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This looks to be a nice lever watch with a center seconds hand and not a chronometer in any usual sense of the term.
 

Halda Sweden

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This looks to be a nice lever watch with a center seconds hand and not a chronometer in any usual sense of the term.

Dear Dr Jon,
I haven't recieved this movement yet but the theeths form on escape wheel looks a bit strange and that's the reason why I suspect that it isn't an ordinary lever escapement in this movement. When I have it on the bench I will for sure dismantel it partly and come back with some detailphotos...

Perhaps you are right after all, time will tell!
Best regards
Peter B.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Peter,

The lever looks like a normal single roller English lever with a ratchet tooth escape wheel. The various forms of Morton's patent escapement mostly use a chronometer type of escape wheel and those which use lever unlocking have a Massey type of fork with no guard pin. They also use a chronometer type of impulse pallet on the balance.

Regards,

Graham
 

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