Identify Age & Manufacturer M. I. Tobias Pocket Watch

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by timeless1, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. timeless1

    timeless1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    32
    0
    6
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi,
    I would very much appreciate any help in identifying the actual MANUFACTURER / Country of Manufacture, AGE, RARITY of this pocket watch. The movement and case have the same serial number, "1016". I have read that some watches marked 'M. I. Tobias' are actually 'M. J. Tobias' and are Swiss made vs. 'Liverpool' (English made), is this M. I. or M. J. ? The silver hunter case has an 'eagle' marking (hallmark?) and what appears to be the letters 'CJ'; is the case English made? Does anyone know the type of escapement? I recently purchased a diamond tester; so I can verify that the balance cap stone is a diamond.
    Thank you for any information that you can provide.

    8cTbjiptRj6DkljUB3qlCA_thumb_3338.jpg Gnghh9YqQMOc7If8teCVwA_thumb_333c.jpg JtbT0wXpSmmn60VzSEHUkg_thumb_333d.jpg lLiuJ82eTQWqHVa6iz+7jg_thumb_3331.jpg nrHP0FT7S+SI28WThS%CCw_thumb_3334.jpg o+Z61we6R4eg2TciS4mbuA_thumb_3335.jpg Tn8rDpZsRDCNRwNWiwxdvw_thumb_3330.jpg ueOajQIHTPuWHcqI0R%%NQ_thumb_333a.jpg y8Ued00oQjOJdG+Q%Rbs7g_thumb_333b.jpg yinWcGUSRrCchIokbJ94oQ_thumb_3332.jpg
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,321
    1,085
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi timeless1,

    The name is 'M.I. Tobias & Co', which is the same as the well-known Liverpool maker, the 'MJ' varieties are the Swiss knock-offs. Whether this is actually by MI Tobias I will leave to others, but it's certainly a Liverpool watch, with the characteristic shape of the balance cock table and foot, the engraving of the 'petals' around the top endstone, the 'piecrust' rim to the table and the 'crow's foot' markings on the regulator scale.

    The escapement is a rack lever which was patented in 1791 by the Liverpool maker Peter Litherland, and was something of a Liverpool speciality; it has a rack, (usually 13 teeth), on the inner end of the lever which engages with a pinion, (usually 6 leaves), on the balance staff, so it isn't a detached design, but in spite of this, and its susceptibility to wear, (that's the reason for the adjustment slides carrying the lever pivots, the top one being visible just under the balance rim), they were quite successfully made by several Liverpool makers besides the patentee and a great many were exported to the US as uncased movements, to be cased there on arrival, which is what yours is. This was to avoid US customs duties on cased watch imports, and the Liverpool trade was very successful in this. In confirmation of this, those hallmarks are certainly not English.

    The train has only three wheels and the escape wheel has 30 teeth rather than the more usual 15 and carries the seconds hand, whose sub dial is only marked up to 15 seconds instead of the usual 60. This variation isn't that common and suggests an early date.

    The date is probably sometime in the early years of the 19th century, and if it is a genuine MI Tobias the serial number may be helpful.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,321
    1,085
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi timeless1,

    As you're an NAWCC member, you'll have access to back editions of the Bulletin. Michael Edidin wrote a series of articles on the Tobias family in the Bulletins beginning in October 1992, and continuing in December '92.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  4. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2001
    2,107
    191
    63
    Male
    Green Bay, Wi
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    TimeLess, nice watch... I do believe this is an original English M I Tobias product... Movememt has the early script signature.. .. appears the case is original to the movement, but with Tobias exporting many movements to the US, case is American made ... most likely from the early 18 teens ...
     
  5. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,429
    1,805
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #5 Keith R..., Jul 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    Very nice example. If you go to the Dust Cap thread, Ethan has an MI Tobias rack lever in
    post #7, sn# 27xx hallmarked for 1815 in a pair case.


    Edit; see Thread ......................Dust Covers, Dust caps and Dust Rings.

    Keith R...
     
  6. timeless1

    timeless1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    32
    0
    6
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thank you very much Graham for sharing so much information! I took a quick look at the Oct. '92 Bulletin and will read it in depth, at a quick glance there is a serial number chart with the closest mark to serial number 1016 being from 1813...during the war of 1812; interesting time to be importing watch movements from England. Perhaps this inspired the U. S. Eagle engraving on the case cover!
    Thank you John for mentioning the script signature, which was followed up by Keith's input on the 1815 Tobias, which has many elements in common with mine...one being the script signature.
    Much appreciated!
     
  7. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 14, 2010
    814
    188
    43
    Country Flag:
    Hi timeless1,

    Little question this M I Tobias & Co. No.1016 is an authentic Tobias product. His early watches were signed in script and the serial number was on the top plate as opposed to the barrel bridge. Typical of Tobias at this time was to scratch the serial number inside the dust cap.
    The watch, I think, is in an original American case. This watch could have been produced as early as 1812.

    Regards, PL
     
  8. timeless1

    timeless1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    32
    0
    6
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thank you PL for your information! I have never been much for studying American history, but this watch could change that. I found this on the Internet, "By June 18, 1812, with a declaration of War with England, a total of eighteen states were then in the Union." I am thankful that at least the U. S. and English watchmakers were 'joining forces' during this time to create this watch!
     
  9. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,935
    571
    113
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi timeless1, M I Tobias were a pretty Class act and made some really top quality Movements; many which were sent to America to be Cased because of restrictive Charges on Imported Pocket Cases in America. I thought that you would be interested in my recent purchase. M I Tobias Freesprung Conversion. Regards Ray
     
  10. timeless1

    timeless1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    32
    0
    6
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thank you Ray for the information and for sharing your latest treasure! You are right, it is difficult for us to imagine in this day and age, taking the time to do a 'conversion' as on your watch; I am thankful there are still some who carry on that level of creative craftsmanship!
     

Share This Page