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Help requested: "G. Graham" pocket watch circa 1780's (?)

Falcon22

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Hello fellow enthusiasts,
I have acquired what is described as a "G. Graham London" signed paired pocket watch (verge, fusee) claimed to be made around the 1780's.
I do not believe this is a George Graham pocket watch as it is well past the end of his career (assuming 1780's is accurate information).
I am unable to verify if there were apprentices who would sign Graham's name.
The serial number on the movement plate is 1179.
I would like to know who the maker was and an accurate time frame of manufacture.
I would appreciate any help as I am unsure where to go next.

POCKET WATCH2.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Falcon22, and welcome to the forum,
I have acquired what is described as a "G. Graham London" signed paired pocket watch (verge, fusee) claimed to be made around the 1780's.
I do not believe this is a George Graham pocket watch as it is well past the end of his career (assuming 1780's is accurate information).
I am unable to verify if there were apprentices who would sign Graham's name.
The serial number on the movement plate is 1179.
I would like to know who the maker was and an accurate time frame of manufacture.
I would appreciate any help as I am unsure where to go next.
You're quite right, this is not by 'the' George Graham, who died in 1751. Although two of his former apprentices did continue the business, (Thomas Mudge and William Dutton), they did so under their own names, and no apprentice would have been allowed to sign work until they had ended their apprenticeship and become 'free', and usually not even then, having to work as journeymen for a master for a while. Other clues are the fact that this is a verge, and George didn't make anything but cylinders after 1727, and that this serial number would place it well before 1715 if it was his.

However, your watch does appear to be from the 1780s or 90s, judging by the round pillars and the design of the balance cock and slide plate, so this is either a different but real George Graham or a fictitious one. There have always been fakers and counterfeiters who used famous names to trap the unwary.

It's worth noting that the signatures on English watches are most often for their vendors, and even the likes of Tompion and Graham didn't alone do anything approaching all the work in making their watches, they employed specialist workers, both in their own workshops and independents, including case makers, gilders, engravers, etc. The total number of people involved in the making of an individual watch was probably in excess of fifty.

If the cases are plated base metal, there won't be hallmarks, but I can see some sort of a mark in the inner case, so a clear picture of that would be helpful. Although the dial could be original to the watch, the hands are certainly much later replacements.

This is a real George Graham verge made prior to 1720, with a serial number in the 4000s.

DSCF8855.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 
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bruce linde

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Sorry I don’t have the answer to your question, but it would be much better to upload individual large photos instead of a montage that doesn’t let people really zoom in
 
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gmorse

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Hi Falcon22,
...but it would be much better to upload individual large photos instead of a montage that doesn’t let people really zoom in
Yes indeed, for instance, the picture I posted of the George Graham was uploaded at 2844 x 2408 pixels, I just inserted it as a thumbnail and the forum software resized it automatically to 1600 x 1355, I didn't need to do that myself.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Falcon22

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Hi Falcon22,


Yes indeed, for instance, the picture I posted of the George Graham was uploaded at 2844 x 2408 pixels, I just inserted it as a thumbnail and the forum software resized it automatically to 1600 x 1355, I didn't need to do that myself.

Regards,

Graham
Apologies on the previous photos. I have attached 3 separate pictures that will hopefully be of better use. I will also work on getting clearer pictures in the near future. I do highly appreciate the help and feedback.

pocket watch 1.jpg POCKET WATCH 2.jpg POCKET WATCH 3.jpg
 

John Matthews

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The separate photographs are an improvement, but I am afraid the resolution needs to be better. This would possibly allow us to draw conclusions from the case marks ...

1632227174217.png

and also to better assess the quality of the engraving and chasing of the back plate and cock table ...

1632227372934.png

While I don't believe the work is of the highest quality, I think it is better than one might infer from an initial examination of your photographs.

I do believe this was probably English made, rather than on the Continent in an 'imitation English' style, but I have been unable to find any candidate 'G Graham' entries in the directories of the period and I therefore suspect the signature was possibly an attempt to deceive.

John
 
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Falcon22

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The separate photographs are an improvement, but I am afraid the resolution needs to be better. This would possibly allow us to draw conclusions from the case marks ...

View attachment 672728

and also to better assess the quality of the engraving and chasing of the back plate and cock table ...

View attachment 672729

While I don't believe the work is of the highest quality, I think it is better than one might infer from an initial examination of your photographs.

I do believe this was probably English made, rather than on the Continent in an 'imitation English' style, but I have been unable to find any candidate 'G Graham' entries in the directories of the period and I therefore suspect the signature was possibly an attempt to deceive.

John
Thank you for that info John. I will work to get better photos soon. The watch is coming in from Carlisle, UK.
This is my first vintage pocket watch acquisition, so I have a lot to learn.
I do appreciate all the feedback thus far.
 

gmorse

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Hi Falcon22,
While I don't believe the work is of the highest quality, I think it is better than one might infer from an initial examination of your photographs.
For further comparison with the Graham watch I posted earlier, here are two balance cocks from around the same period as your watch, but by Mudge & Dutton, former apprentices of George Graham. They're good examples of the very best London work.

DSCF6973.JPG DSCF2857.JPG

Regards,

Graham
 

Falcon22

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Hi Falcon22,


For further comparison with the Graham watch I posted earlier, here are two balance cocks from around the same period as your watch, but by Mudge & Dutton, former apprentices of George Graham. They're good examples of the very best London work.

View attachment 672742 View attachment 672744

Regards,

Graham
Hello all,
I have received the pocket watch from the UK and have taken some relatively high powered photos close up.
Attached are pictures of the stamps in the case, engraving, and general pictures of the mechanism.
As always, I appreciate your thoughts on this piece. Again, I am looking for approximate year of manufacture, and possibly the maker.

IMG_6898.jpeg IMG_6894.jpeg IMG_6890.jpeg S20210925_025.jpg S20210925_022.jpg S20210925_021.jpg S20210925_020.jpg S20210925_017.jpg S20210925_016.jpg S20210925_012.jpg S20210925_011.jpg S20210925_008.jpg S20210925_006.jpg S20210925_002.jpg S20210925_007.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Falcon22,
Again, I am looking for approximate year of manufacture, and possibly the maker.
Based on these pictures, I can't see anything which changes my suggestion in post #2 for a date of 1780-1790, or John's comment in post #6 about the veracity of the signature; there really isn't any way of discovering who actually made it. It's a typical specimen of its period, and the base metal cases preclude the analysis of hallmarks.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Falcon22

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Hi Falcon22,


Based on these pictures, I can't see anything which changes my suggestion in post #2 for a date of 1780-1790, or John's comment in post #6 about the veracity of the signature; there really isn't any way of discovering who actually made it. It's a typical specimen of its period, and the base metal cases preclude the analysis of hallmarks.

Regards,

Graham
Graham,
Thank you for the information. This forum has been invaluable. I am glad to know this piece is indeed from 1780's. This is fascinating stuff. The watch winds and keeps good time. It will run 3 hrs on a single windup. Not sure what the standard is, but its great to hear her tick away!
 

John Matthews

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Thanks for taking the trouble to post the additional photographs

I have seen the case maker's mark HH incuse on silver & gilded cases of this period. I believe it to be the mark of Henry Harding (Priestley p.51). Priestley records him working out of Wells Street, Coventry who registered this mark with the Birmingham assay office 29 October, 1782.

I have two silver pair cases made by Harding dated 1789 & 1792 containing Coventry finished movements. I believe these were probably made by the early Vale partnerships that subsequently became Vale & Rotherham and eventually Rotherhams, that continued to be active into the second quarter of the C20th. One of the watches carries a signature that indicates that it was sold in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. The other is signed Edmunds, Liverpool. Edmunds is known to be a fictitious signature that 'was ordered as such' for Coventry watches many of which were destined for export to America.

1789 box (inner pair case) by Henry Harding, Coventry

20181202 007.jpg

So I suspect that your watch was made by Vale & Co. towards the end of the C18th and, although G Graham may have been the name of the original owner (possibly a London merchant), in all probability it was signed with the London signature in a deceitful attempt to infer a London finished watch.

John
 

gmorse

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Hi Falcon22,
The watch winds and keeps good time. It will run 3 hrs on a single windup. Not sure what the standard is, but its great to hear her tick away!
The usual duration for these watches is 30 hours with a full wind, but I wouldn't run the watch too much before it's been cleaned and overhauled, because old oils dry out and can attract dust and debris, forming an abrasive paste which will damage pivots.

I agree with John on the probable attribution of the case marking.

Regards,

Graham
 
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