How Balance cocks were carved in early verge watches

Adam Zimmerman

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Jan 3, 2010
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Does anyone know of literature on how the early watchmakers pieced and carved the balance cocks on early fusee watches? I assume with a piercing saw and very fine gravers but any info on tooling and/or process would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance, stay safe
Adam
 

gmorse

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Hi Adam,
Does anyone know of literature on how the early watchmakers pieced and carved the balance cocks on early fusee watches? I assume with a piercing saw and very fine gravers but any info on tooling and/or process would be greatly appreciated.
I'm afraid that I can't point you to any literature on the subject, but I believe that your assumption is correct, with the addition, as Nick has said, of much hole drilling, not simply to provide the start points for the sawing but in many cases acting as integral parts of the design. There would also have been the need for some very fine files in many instances.

There has been speculation that some balance cocks were stamped out or even cast, but I have seen no evidence of this in pre-19th century movements, which as far as I know were always hand-made.

Regards,

Graham
 
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PatH

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Adam, if you are an NAWCC member, there is an informative article on balance cocks in the current (March/April 2021) issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin. It is to be a 3-part series, and in the current issue the author does speak of the individuals who were involved in the production of a balance cock in a section called "Who Made the Watch Cock and How?"
 

Adam Zimmerman

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Jan 3, 2010
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Fantastic lead on the NAWCC article thanks for that I will check it out. I looked at a few of my sample movements and the amount of holes varies wildly. You are bang on Nick, as the details increase the amount of tiny holes decreases.

Thanks for the small file thought as well Graham. I just can't get over the amount of detail and laborious hand work that went into these verge and fusee watches. It is a true marvel to me that and entire watch was basically made with files and small hand tools.

Thanks again for info, appreciate it
Adam
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Adam,
It is a true marvel to me that and entire watch was basically made with files and small hand tools.
Not forgetting that a great deal of the work was done in dead centre lathes which were turned by bows, hand wheels or foot treadles, including the early boring and polishing of jewels.

Regards,

Graham
 

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