George Morton chronometer

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by miguel angel cladera, Jul 16, 2020.

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  1. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

    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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  2. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    The first place and a fun one to explore is the Portobello road antiques area. Several old watch dealers operate there, It will not be cheap but someone there might have a case.
     
  3. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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    Thank you so much. I will try
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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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
     
  5. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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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
     
  7. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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    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??
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Miguel,

    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
     
  9. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I hope we also get to see the finished project. Thanks for sharing.

    Keith R...
     
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  10. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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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.
     
  11. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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    Thank you so much Jon for the information
     
  12. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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    Yes of course!
     
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  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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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
     
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  14. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

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    Ohh amazing information!! Thank you so much.
     
  15. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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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
     
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