Help Identifying H & D Tarbox Fusee

corchromatique

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Aug 7, 2022
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I am still fairly new to horology, and came across this watch that seems like a mystery to me. The face reads "H & D Tarbox Locle Suisse", as does the movement. There is no serial number. I can't find any evidence of this watchmaker except for a passing mention of the house of "MM H and D Tarbox" in a Swiss horology journal.
It also looks like there is a second place to wind it. Why would this be?
Can anyone tell me anything about this piece, the manufacturer, around when it would have been made, etc.?

Thanks for your help!

IMG_3833.JPG IMG_3834.JPG IMG_3835.JPG IMG_3836.JPG IMG_3837.JPG IMG_3839.JPG
 

Tom McIntyre

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The blue disk with the square is for adjusting the effective length of the balance spring to regulate the rate.

The watch itself is confusing to me with a very old looking movement and a very new looking (comparatively) dial.

I hope someone else knows more about it.
 

VinSer

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Very nice watch :)

Are you sure is not H & D Tarbox of New York? They were active around 1829 - 1836, see below.

They bought directly from Switzerland, and this could explain the Locle, Switzerland on the watch.

Ciao

tarbox.jpg
 

corchromatique

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Very nice watch :)

Are you sure is not H & D Tarbox of New York? They were active around 1829 - 1836, see below.

They bought directly from Switzerland, and this could explain the Locle, Switzerland on the watch.

Ciao

View attachment 720348
That explains a lot! The Swiss horology journal article was discussing a watchmaker who, after finishing his apprenticeship, worked at the former house of H & D Tarbox in New York. Any idea what a more precise date could be on this piece? I can't find any indication of a serial number or date code. Were Swiss makers at that time not in the habit of adding serial numbers?
 

VinSer

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Unfortunately a serial number would not be of much use, as I do not believe the archive of the producer would have survived ... if the actual maker can be found.

That said based on the fact that the company existed only between 1829 and 1836, I would say you have a quite precise determination of the age. Especially for a Swiss watch of that age.

And probably was bought by Daniel during his trip in Switzerland, so you can even take out other 2 years :)

Ciao
 

jboger

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If I saw this watch and not the innards, I would have guessed an English fusee based on the case and dial. That the movement is Swiss indicates to me that this watch was made for a foreign market that wanted an English-looking watch--at least as far as the case and dial were concerned. That would describe the U.S. market in the 1830s and for many years to come.
 

Incroyable

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Why were they still making verge fusees that late?

Even if customers wanted an English style watch this would have been extremely outdated by the 1820-1830s.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Were they sold as a sort of economy or low priced watch by that point?

By that time, you would have had extremely accurate pocket chronometers.
You could get much better watches, but not much cheaper. A decent verge was good for a couple of minutes a day at the end.

Remember the Roskopf watches were the big news in the low end by then.
 
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corchromatique

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I can't believe I didn't find out earlier, but it actually runs! I tried winding the key the wrong direction the first time. I'm amazed that it's been kept in working order for that long. It's a shame the crystal has been replaced with plastic and the hour hand is missing.
 
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