Going-barrel pair-cased watch

PJQL

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Hi all,

So....here's something I haven't seen before. It's a pair-cased going-barrel movement. It's a perfect fit...but is it likely a recase...I thought paircased examples were always fusees? It's dated 1889. I forgot what that trademark stamp is too!

Thanks,
Piers

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John Matthews

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Piers

Ehrhardt only made going barrel movements, his earlier movements wound anticlockwise. Later he offered clockwise winding movements. (see Priestley's description of the Birmingham trade). I believe the movement to have been machine made.

John
 
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Andrew Wilde

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Hi Piers,
Your watch may be a re-case, but the serial number on case and movement match suggesting they belong together rather than it being "marriage".

As Graham noted above, there was indeed a late market for pair cased pocket watches in parts of Scotland, into the early 1900s.
Since buying one myself a couple of years ago, I've kept noticing them coming up for sale, both on eBay and at auction rooms, and have kept a few notes. I've recorded 14, but have seen 3 or 4 others before I started keeping notes, and a few since that were from areas other than Aberdeenshire - I should have noted these also but was focused on the Aberdeenshire connection.

I don't have hallmark dates for all of them, but 4 of them were later than 1900 (including mine) and I suspect these were re-cased; all 4 were fusees, 3 had silver, or silvered, dials.

The earliest date I've seen was 1878.

There was a single going-barrel example dated 1897, anonymous but apparently marked Stonehaven on the movement.

All bar one of the 14 are from the eastern part of Aberdeenshire, mostly small towns or villages. The remaining one was marked Forfar, which is south of Aberdeenshire.

I am fairly certain that one of those seen but not recorded at the time was from Anstruther, which is on the Firth of Forth to the west of Dunfermline where your watch is marked for.

The common element of all of these is the case: relatively late dates, taller-than-usual pendant, stirrup-style bow (I think that's what they're called) and a higher-than-usual collar to the outer case. When seen and associated with a late date, they are quite distinctive.

Why this style over a late but lengthy period is so often found in Aberdeenshire and now perhaps other parts of Scotland is something I'm still looking into. My initial thoughts were perhaps it was something to do with the occupation of the owners, perhaps fishermen or farmers (and hence the longer collar providing some additional weatherproofing), but I've since dismissed this; those that bear names that I have been able to research would appear to not to be carrying the names of makers or jewellers, but do appear to be names of families that have a multigenerational association with the named town or village, and a variety of trades.

I've included some pictures of mine, below. The name on the movement is Duquid, of Ellon. Relatively plain fusee movement, very clean and bright, with dust cap. Of note is the balance cock - it has been shaved down with just a few of the deeper lines of the original engraving still visible. The case is hallmarked London 1915, casemaker S.Y for Samuel Yeomans, as is the back of the dial. The dial is of lovey quality - that's what attracted me to the watch in the first place. The case has a serial number, the movement doesn't. The watch measures 52mm diameter and weighs 156 grams. Not much expense spared on the silver case and dial for an unremarkable movement. Strange.

Maybe it's all nothing but I think there's story behind these watches - just have to find it !

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Jerry Treiman

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As Graham noted above, there was indeed a late market for pair cased pocket watches in parts of Scotland, into the early 1900s.
Since buying one myself a couple of years ago, I've kept noticing them coming up for sale, both on eBay and at auction rooms, and have kept a few notes. I've recorded 14, but have seen 3 or 4 others before I started keeping notes, and a few since that were from areas other than Aberdeenshire - I should have noted these also but was focused on the Aberdeenshire connection.
Maybe it's all nothing but I think there's story behind these watches - just have to find it !
Although not a going barrel (i.e., still has a fusee) this is another late pair-cased watch from Scotland. Methlick is also in Aberdeenshire. The silver pair case bears Birmingham hallmarks for 1894 with a sponsor’s mark "WHA".
Sinclair_f.jpg Sinclair_hallmarks.jpg Sinclair_m.jpg
 
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Andrew Wilde

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Hi Jerry,
Methlick is about 12 kilometres away from Ellon where mine is from. I also have them recorded from Auchterless, Turiff and Maud, all similar distances from Methlick. The characteristics of your case match those of the typical case I was referring to.
Methlick is described as a rural village. There are parish records for an Alexander Sinclair, born 1847, died 1920, also had a son named Alexander. Looks like they were a well established family in the area, multigenerational.
Do you mind if I pinch your pictures for my records ?
 

Jerry Treiman

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Do you mind if I pinch your pictures for my records ?
Please do. I have higher resolution versions of the images if you need them. (PM if you would like me to send them to you). Also, I have cleaned up the hallmark a little better to verify (for myself) that the date letter is clearly "u" rather than "n".
 

Jerry Treiman

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... those that bear names that I have been able to research would appear to not to be carrying the names of makers or jewellers, but do appear to be names of families that have a multigenerational association with the named town or village, and a variety of trades.
It would seem that a salesman or agent may have worked this region selling solid and simple watches of a familiar form to local and established residents or tradesmen and must have offered to have the buyer's name placed on the movement. Does this make sense?
One clue might be if the engraved names all share some common style elements.
 

John Matthews

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Jerry

I suspect that the engraving of the signature was before the plate was gilded The signature on this watch is David Harley, who in 1886, is listed as a 'watch maker' at 43 High Street, Dunfermline. I believe this watch was machine made and finished by Ehrhardt who will have added the retailer's signature prior to dispatch, probably at no additional charge, a common practice at the time (confirmed by contemporary price lists). I suspect Harley would have simply ordered a small batch of watches direct from Ehrhardt to satisfy a local demand for a competitively priced machine made watch of traditional design.

John
 

John Matthews

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I've included some pictures of mine, below. The name on the movement is Duquid, of Ellon. Relatively plain fusee movement, very clean and bright, with dust cap. Of note is the balance cock - it has been shaved down with just a few of the deeper lines of the original engraving still visible. The case is hallmarked London 1915, casemaker S.Y for Samuel Yeomans, as is the back of the dial. The dial is of lovey quality - that's what attracted me to the watch in the first place. The case has a serial number, the movement doesn't. The watch measures 52mm diameter and weighs 156 grams. Not much expense spared on the silver case and dial for an unremarkable movement. Strange.
Andy - I am not sure if you have posted the photographs of this watch before.

The movement was made by Rotherhams and I believe that it was machine made. It is identical, apart from yours having no serial number, to other examples that Rotherhams were selling at the time. The retailers are normally located in sparsely populated rural areas, including for example East Anglia, so not only Scotland.

John
 

John Matthews

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Andy - a few further comments on your watch.

First a question, does the silver dial have a full set of hallmarks on the rear, as well as the Yeoman's stamp?

My conclusion that the movement was made by Rotherhams, is by comparison with similar full plate movements. From the examples I have seen some were finished by them, and others, by finishers based in Coventry. I was a little surprised to see the Yeomans mark. I had believed that they had ceased to be 'watch makers' shortly after the death of Samuel in 1901 - I had recorded a date of 1908, for the end of production. It appears that I may have been mistaken and Frederick Samuel Yeomans continued to run the business for longer. Culme describes Frederick as a gold and silver worker when the mark was registered in 1914. Culme's research is held in high regard and therefore his description may provide the explanation and I would not be surprised if your dial was a good example of the type of work they were then producing .

As you have the noted there is a similarity of design in these late pair cases and it would be reasonable to infer that these were being produced by the same group of workman in the Coventry area and sold on into the local finishers.

So my hypothesis is that these pair cased full plate fusee driven single rollers were based on machine made movements produced by Rotherhams, some finished by them and others sold on to be finished locally. Similarly the pair cases were produced locally by a group of unknown case maker(s) who continued to supply them into the trade until beginning of WWI.

I believe the signature on your example is that of Thomas Duguid - a surname that seems to crop up in NE Scotland. He is listed in 1903 as a grocer, wine & spirit merchant. By 1915 he may have branched out and may have been selling watches as a retailer, or he may have ordered the watch for himself. You might infer the latter from the lack of a serial number.

1620556874580.png

John
 

Andrew Wilde

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Hi John,
Thanks for all your input on this. I fear I may have hijacked Piers thread away from his initial objective, but I think it may all be related.
Your question about the dial markings - I haven't removed the dial since the day after I bought the watch some time ago so my memory is hazy. My notes say case and dial by S.Y hallmarked for 1915 so I think the dial is fully hallmarked but will check over the next few days.
You're right about the name being being Duguid rather than Duquid, although both surnames appear in the parish records for the period in question - I think alternative spellings for the same name perhaps. Duguid families are still running businesses in Ellon today.

The case style still intrigues me. When I find examples of these, it is the case that catches my attention and leads me to look more closely at what it may contain, and that has almost always been an Aberdeenshire location on the movement. Whether this is because that was all that was available, or whether there's a more interesting story behind it, I think is still to be discovered.

...Andy
 
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gmorse

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Hi Andy,

It's not impossible that the silver dial was produced in Switzerland; there's an article in the February 2004 NAWCC Bulletin, (pp 29-37), by Jerzy Ganczarczyk and Philip Priestley on the subject of these metal dials.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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Graham - I agree it is not impossible ...

However, I have just quickly re-read the article to which you refer. Unfortunately I do not believe, unless I have missed it, that they provide evidence to support their statement ...

'If it is not documented otherwise, the more elaborate, anonymous metal dials that use complex multicolor figural gold decorations and/or precious or semi-precious stones should be suspected as not having been made in England.'

While I can accept that the decorative scenes with a European or Oriental flavour, as likely to have been done by pantograph engraving, could well be made in Switzerland, and probably those with precious stones, in the absence of any evidence, I am not convinced by assertion I have quoted. It seems to be a conclusion drawn on the basis that if it was made in England it would be signed.

John
 

gmorse

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Hi John,
It seems to be a conclusion drawn on the basis that if it was made in England it would be signed.
I agree, the conclusion is rather tenuous if that was indeed the basis for it, but there was an increasing volume of Swiss made parts entering the UK and being incorporated in English watches, both with and without their origins being acknowledged.

Regards,

Graham
 

Andrew Wilde

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Graham, John, I have just re-read my old notes on this watch and am now doubting that they refer to both the dial and case being hallmarked and by Yeomans. I think they may be referring to a common serial number. I wish that both my memory and my notes were better !
Looks like the dial has to come off tomorrow .... Andy
 

PJQL

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Hi John,
Thanks for all your input on this. I fear I may have hijacked Piers thread away from his initial objective, but I think it may all be related.
Your question about the dial markings - I haven't removed the dial since the day after I bought the watch some time ago so my memory is hazy. My notes say case and dial by S.Y hallmarked for 1915 so I think the dial is fully hallmarked but will check over the next few days.
You're right about the name being being Duguid rather than Duquid, although both surnames appear in the parish records for the period in question - I think alternative spellings for the same name perhaps. Duguid families are still running businesses in Ellon today.

The case style still intrigues me. When I find examples of these, it is the case that catches my attention and leads me to look more closely at what it may contain, and that has almost always been an Aberdeenshire location on the movement. Whether this is because that was all that was available, or whether there's a more interesting story behind it, I think is still to be discovered.

...Andy
Hi Andy

Don't worry about in any way whatsoever about the apparent deviation from my original post.
It's all a learning process for us...me especially!!...and your first replies were extremely pertinent and
very helpful....so thanks a lot for that! :)

I'm going forward under the assumption that the entire watch is original, and see where it leads!

Many many thanks......Piers
 

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