Identifying and Dating an Heirloom Watch?

McNeight

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Mar 6, 2021
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Greetings,

I have a pocket watch that I'm told was carried over by an ancestor from the Old World to the New World. Unfortunately I'm having a difficult time figuring out when this watch was made or when it might have been sold, which would help me with further genealogical research into that side of the family. Here's what I've been able to decode so far:

Picture #1: William Crawford of Bridge Street in Ballymena, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) appears to have sold the watch, but I can't find their name anywhere else in the watch. I also haven't been able to find any information about what years the business was open.

Pictures #3 & #4: The silver hallmarks for the pair-case, I believe, tell me that this silver was assayed in London in 1795. I believe this date is between 30 and 50 years before any of my ancestors came over to the New World. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an exact match for the makers mark. The first letter is either T or J, the second letter is either K or an incomplete stamping of R, and none of the makers marks that I've seen have had both the combinations of those letters and the dot in the center.

Pictures #5 & #6: I haven't been able to find any information about T. Glascon (Glascow?) of Dublin.

Picture #7: The silver hallmarks appear to match between the inner case and the pair-case.

Any suggestions on where to find more information or assistance would be appreciated.

Hugh1.jpg
Hugh2.jpg
Hugh3.jpg Hugh4.jpg
Hugh5.jpg Hugh6.jpg
Hugh7.jpg
 
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John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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Welcome to the forum.

I can confirm the hallmark on the case is London 1795/96. The case maker's mark incuse {I·R} in script with a pellet between the letters is probably that of Isaac Russell who registered the mark on 3 March, 1796, from an address in Little Mitchell Street off Old Street, London. Given the date of registration it is likely that the case was made between March and July 1796.

I suspect your watch is a verge probably finished in Clerkenwell or Coventry, with the signature added before it was shipped to Dublin.

The signature, which does appear to be Glasgow, I did not find in an initial search of Dublin 'watchmakers'. However there are a number of families listed with the surname as GLASCO(E), with one alternatively listed as Glasgow, that operated in Dublin during the latter part of the C18th. Most likely the signature is that of a retailer who sold and repaired watches, but I was unable to find a suitable candidate in the limited Irish trade directories, I have for the period.

John
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi McNeight,

John has told you a lot about your watch. I'd add that watch papers, whilst often decorative and most interesting, are ephemeral and can be removed and transferred from watch to watch, so mustn't be taken as firm evidence of the history of the watch.

English watches are almost always signed for their retailers, or very occasionally for their first owners, and the location in the signature doesn't indicate where they were actually made. The Liverpool area, Coventry and London were the main centres of watchmaking when this was made.

The style of the movement and its cases are good matches for the hallmark dating, the dial looks to be in good condition, (enamel dials without any hairline cracks at all are unusual); the fine and beautiful pierced gold hands are original, and may suggest a Liverpool origin.

By the way, the letter 'w' in engraved signatures of this period is often misread and mistaken for other letters, and the interchangeable usage of 'I' and 'J' also causes confusion, (as there was no 'J' in the Latin alphabet, 'I' was often used as the initial for John, James, Jeremiah or Joseph).

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi agemo,

The last letter is definitely a 'w', and the signature has the initial 'I'.

Hugh6_edit.jpg

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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The signature, which does appear to be Glasgow,
My apology, I should have said Glascow. My error was as a result of checking my list of Irish watch & clock makers ...

1615123420502.png

and seeing the inferred implication that the Irish surname Glasco might possibly have evolved into Glasgow. I have no evidence other than this listing, that this is so, perhaps someone can shed some light.

John
 

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