"Jos French, London" Unusual Looking Running movement.

Omexa

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Hi, this is a rather strange looking movement with a feature to enable the Mainspring to be replaced without pulling the Top Plate off. It also has "Balance Screws-Weights" around the "Balance Wheel" and a strange looking "Hairspring" holder arm. It looks to be of English make; but who knows. Anyone seen one like it before; it is coming from Argentina. As an after thought, I wonder if the "Hairspring holder Arm" was moved for "Fine Adjustment? What dates and where did this maker manufacture? Regards Ray 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg
 
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gmorse

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Hi Ray,

I have my doubts about its origin being in England, and I can't find this maker in Britten's. I wonder if that's a hanging barrel? Not sure I've ever seen one in a fusee movement. The hairspring stud is certainly rather ornate, but it's in the normal place for a 3/4 plate, and it can't move as it sits in a slot in the top plate. Do you have the watch yet?

Regards,

Graham
 

Omexa

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Hi, after much research I have found out very little about this movement. I wonder if it was made by a family member of "Santiago James Moore French, he was a clockmaker, watchmaker, chronometer maker and retailer. He became "Free" in the Clockmaker's Company in 1810. His shop was at 15 Sweetings Alley, Royal Exchange, London, where he was from 1808-1838." Graham's comment about the possibility of it having a "Hanging Barrel" in a Fusee movement is interesting. Regards Ray
 

Omexa

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Hi, I have been thinking about the "Balance Wheel Screws" they remind me of a "Swiss Bar" movement that had something similar; could the movement be Swiss? Regards Ray
 

gmorse

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Hi Ray,

I certainly thought "Swiss" when I saw it. I don't see the point of the screws in the balance, as it's not bi-metallic or cut, and I've seen quite a few Swiss movements with balances like this, made to look better than they are.

Regards,

Graham
 

Omexa

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Hi Graham, it would be difficult to drill the screw holes on a "Round Profile-cross section" Balance Wheel. I have not seen any other Swiss Fusees like this one. Regards Ray
 

gmorse

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Hi Ray,

Yes I see what you mean about the round cross-section, not something I'd care to try without the right jigs and tooling. I guess it would be easier if you drilled the holes before rounding the rim. I still don't see why they're there at all if it's not just cosmetic!

Regards,

Graham
 

Tom McIntyre

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If the rim of the balance has too little metal to allow removing some to poise it, the screws can be used to poise the balance. The heads are shaved to do the actual poising, I believe. I have seen some where the head is almost gone.

On English flat rim balances, the bottom side often has drill sinks or shaving on the inner edge to put it in poise.

This watch looks a lot like other "French of the royal Exchange" watches I have seen. The hinged dust ring, etc. are all part of the package as is the extra engraving. They may have had these made in Switzerland and put on the simpler signature to designate the difference.
 

MartyR

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This watch looks a lot like other "French of the royal Exchange" watches I have seen. The hinged dust ring, etc. are all part of the package as is the extra engraving. They may have had these made in Switzerland and put on the simpler signature to designate the difference.
Given this and all the previous comments, my guess is that this is a fake pretending to be a French, Royal Exchange watch.

Santiago French had a big reputation (and I believe a well-heeled clientele in the nobility) in his day but I have never heard of any related Joseph, and I'm certain he had no such thing as a "simpler" or even different signature.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Given this and all the previous comments, my guess is that this is a fake pretending to be a French, Royal Exchange watch.

Santiago French had a big reputation (and I believe a well-heeled clientele in the nobility) in his day but I have never heard of any related Joseph, and I'm certain he had no such thing as a "simpler" or even different signature.
"Certain" is very strong. If we can find a trade catalog or broadside some day, we may be able to tell what they actually made and sold. :)
 

MartyR

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"Certain" is very strong. If we can find a trade catalog or broadside some day, we may be able to tell what they actually made and sold. :)
Tom, it's not a question of what they made or sold, it's just to do with whether or not Santiago French ever used any other signature than "French, Royal Exchange". I have seen many dozens of his watches all signed exactly in that way, and have never seen one with the slightest variation. His reputation was such that I cannot imagine that he would ever use a variation, and I particularly cannot imagine he would use the false name of Joseph.

"Certain" is a strong word, and I accept that in a learned treatise I wouldn't use it. In this thread I'm content to do so ;)
 

MartyR

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I think we discussed that ... his earlier premises at City Observatory!
 

Tom McIntyre

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Tom, it's not a question of what they made or sold, it's just to do with whether or not Santiago French ever used any other signature than "French, Royal Exchange". I have seen many dozens of his watches all signed exactly in that way, and have never seen one with the slightest variation. His reputation was such that I cannot imagine that he would ever use a variation, and I particularly cannot imagine he would use the false name of Joseph.

"Certain" is a strong word, and I accept that in a learned treatise I wouldn't use it. In this thread I'm content to do so ;)
I think if you look carefully you will find at least some clocks by the firm signed James Moore or James Moore French as well as well as Santiago James Moore French. I believe class distinctions often get lost in pursuit of commerce.

The idea that English watchmakers had anything they absolutely would not do, should be treated carefully. It reminds me of similar over statements about rules of American Railroad watches. It all depends on the circumstances of the market and the financial condition of the industry.

On the actual matter at hand, I could not find any references to a Joseph name associated with French of the Royal Exchange. I think that is the best evidence that this watch is unrelated to the firm. If they were going to make a second line or lesser line of watches they would likely have signed them James Moore.
 

Omexa

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Hi, I received the movement the other day and I pulled the Dial. There is "T.G" stamped on the Pillar Plate also "80" and an "S" on the back of the Dial. Regards DSC01064.jpg DSC01063.jpg DSC01062.jpg Ray
 

gmorse

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Hi Ray,

Ah, so it isn't a hanging barrel then. I must say, this side does look much more like English work. Not sure if the "8" and the "0", and the other figure partly obscured by the spring, are to do with the size of the movement.

Regards,

Graham
 

Tom McIntyre

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I believe the 8 is most likely the Lancashire gauge size which would be close to an American 8 size and the 2/0 is the thickness of the caliber which is 2 units over standard. I believe the thickness is another standard but I do not know its name. It may be Lancashire also. Those gauges were not formalized as much as the American adaptations were. Dennison was the one who imported the idea into the US and it is often called the Dennison gauge here.
 

HowardHorology

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Wow, you and the Royal collection! Nice collection!

In 1839 John Moore French, his son John and William French established the firm known as 'The City Observatory' which was located at Cornhill in the City of London. They operated a Standard Time Ball controlled by a telegraph signal from Greenwich and specialized in the making of chronometers. They were in business at 9 Royal Exchange until 1875.


French, 9 Royal Exchange - Table clock

Hi, here is my other "French" named movement. Regards Ray View attachment 188724
 

Lychnobius

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I realise that this thread is six years old, but of course Ray is still very much with us and perhaps he still has this movement, so that it may not be a complete waste of time to comment on it further.

What I wanted to say is that I feel the movement may well be entirely English after all. There are three clues: (1) the large sapphire jewel surrounding the winding-square; (2) the wholly English appearance of the lever (the Swiss did sometimes make side-levers, but they are quite different in style, usually having a J-shaped 'tail' at the outer end); and (3) the brass escape-wheel with, apparently, pointed teeth.

Oliver Mundy.
 
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Omexa

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Hi Oliver, a lot has happened in the last 6 Years, I am not sure if I still have it; I will have a look. Regards Ray
 

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