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Joseph Johnson Fusee #7067 - help please

Wtuck

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I received this watch from my great aunt and need help dating this watch and determining it’s value. Her husband was an avid watch/clock collector and I believe it is all original. It currently does not run but acts like it wants to if you give the balance wheel a light spin. Serial number 7076 is also stamped in the case.

848B9D82-920A-4BC3-97AD-89AA47A03BAF.jpeg 75BCFE78-F3C9-4925-97BC-317496178D60.jpeg 02B2177A-D615-4749-A69C-056C276DBEE0.jpeg 0EB7A4F0-E0A0-4B03-985A-522CAC1759B7.jpeg F8E4758B-B232-4A95-B1A8-6B3D8C52B195.jpeg 39404D81-02E0-4CEE-9787-305BCCF58CEC.jpeg
 

gmorse

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Hi Wtuck, and welcome to the forum,

Joseph Johnson, whose company made the movement of your watch, was a renowned Liverpool maker who exported a lot of their movements to the US, where they were cased on arrival. This was done in order to reduce the customs duty imposed on complete watches in precious metal cases. It's a fusee lever, and probably dates from the 1820s or 30s. If it only tries to run sluggishly, it's almost certainly because it needs a clean and overhaul.

The case at first sight appears to carry English hallmarks for Chester, (which is where most Liverpool cases were hallmarked, since Liverpool has never had its own assay office), and purports to be 18 carat gold, but there are details in the hallmarks which suggest that these marks were made by the American case makers; they are similar to genuine Chester marks but there are differences, in particular the lack of a date letter and maker's mark, and also the symbol at the bottom which looks like a chalice, meaningless in English marks. The case itself is elaborate and typical of US made cases of the time, and in terms of quality is in no way inferior to English work.

The hands are later replacements but the multi-coloured gold dial is attractive and appears to be in good condition.

The value is mostly in the gold content of the case and dial, you can look for completed sales on eBay or other auction sites to get an idea of its value, but these are very collectable, being by a well regarded maker, and if you wish to run it you should have it overhauled by a repairer who understands these English watches.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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I entirely agree with Graham that the case does not carry genuine Chester hallmarks.

A number of similar American made gold cases have been seen and it is not uncommon to find the winding hole cutting through the hallmark, as in this example. Another point to note is that the crown on the Leopard's head.

1610270319342.png

This particular design of punch was introduced in 1794 and in continual use until 1822, when the new punch was introduced, depicted a head without a crown. As you can see your example has a well defined crown. However, by ~1810 the definition of the crown had become far less distinct. Here is an example taken from a genuine (silver) case of 1813/14 with the date letter 'R'

12.jpg

As Graham has indicated your Johnson movement is probably from the 1820's, I suspect the middle of the 1820s, by which time the Leopards head should not have a crown, and even if it was =<1822, the crown would have been very indistinct. It is common to find these discrepancies when faux mark are examined.

Many of these movements when exported, were capped. Your movement has the posts to support a cap - compared with a capped movement below ...

1610270201439.png

Is a cap still present? If so are you able to post a photograph of the underside - it may carry a maker's mark.

John
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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Hi Wtuck, and welcome to the forum,

Joseph Johnson, whose company made the movement of your watch, was a renowned Liverpool maker who exported a lot of their movements to the US, where they were cased on arrival. This was done in order to reduce the customs duty imposed on complete watches in precious metal cases. It's a fusee lever, and probably dates from the 1820s or 30s. If it only tries to run sluggishly, it's almost certainly because it needs a clean and overhaul.

The case at first sight appears to carry English hallmarks for Chester, (which is where most Liverpool cases were hallmarked, since Liverpool has never had its own assay office), and purports to be 18 carat gold, but there are details in the hallmarks which suggest that these marks were made by the American case makers; they are similar to genuine Chester marks but there are differences, in particular the lack of a date letter and maker's mark, and also the symbol at the bottom which looks like a chalice, meaningless in English marks. The case itself is elaborate and typical of US made cases of the time, and in terms of quality is in no way inferior to English work.

The hands are later replacements but the multi-coloured gold dial is attractive and appears to be in good condition.

The value is mostly in the gold content of the case and dial, you can look for completed sales on eBay or other auction sites to get an idea of its value, but these are very collectable, being by a well regarded maker, and if you wish to run it you should have it overhauled by a repairer who understands these English watches.

Regards,

Graham
Graham

Thank you very much for the information on the watch. I have done quite a bit of reading hear on the forums and this is all very interesting and have learned that there were imitations of Johnson’s work. I thought maybe this one was a fake because of the lack of jewels in the movement. Most of the pictures I have seen of his movements had more jewels so I am pleased to hear you think it is genuine.

This movement has the word ”detached” and I have read here what that means but I can’t get a good enough view to see if it a Massey. Is there another way to tell if it is a Massey if you cannot get a clear view of the balance shaft?

Thanks again!
Wes
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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I entirely agree with Graham that the case does not carry genuine Chester hallmarks.

A number of similar American made gold cases have been seen and it is not uncommon to find the winding hole cutting through the hallmark, as in this example. Another point to note is that the crown on the Leopard's head.

View attachment 631579

This particular design of punch was introduced in 1794 and in continual use until 1822, when the new punch was introduced, depicted a head without a crown. As you can see your example has a well defined crown. However, by ~1810 the definition of the crown had become far less distinct. Here is an example taken from a genuine (silver) case of 1813/14 with the date letter 'R'

View attachment 631585

As Graham has indicated your Johnson movement is probably from the 1820's, I suspect the middle of the 1820s, by which time the Leopards head should not have a crown, and even if it was =<1822, the crown would have been very indistinct. It is common to find these discrepancies when faux mark are examined.

Many of these movements when exported, were capped. Your movement has the posts to support a cap - compared with a capped movement below ...

View attachment 631577

Is a cap still present? If so are you able to post a photograph of the underside - it may carry a maker's mark.

John
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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John

Thank you for al the info!! I am sorry to say that I do not have the dust cap. I didn’t envelope know it was supposed to have one until I started reading post here on this forum. Where can I find information on hallmarks to educate myself? Also are hallmarks used in the watch industry during this time the same as those used elsewhere like silverware?

Thanks again!
Wes
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Wes,

Is there another way to tell if it is a Massey if you cannot get a clear view of the balance shaft?
It's usually possible to see the roller on the balance staff, (which is the main difference between Masseys and the later English levers), without taking out the balance, (not recommended however if you aren't familiar with watch repair!), but you do need to have a good light and probably some magnification. The various types of Massey's patented rollers and his lever fork are illustrated in page 2 of this document from Oliver Mundy's (Lychnobius) website. The word "Detach'd" on the cock foot is sometimes an indication that this is a Massey, but it isn't infallible.

Where can I find information on hallmarks to educate myself? Also are hallmarks used in the watch industry during this time the same as those used elsewhere like silverware?
The best source for hallmarks in English watch cases is the book 'British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970' by Philip T. Priestley, (ISBN 9781944018054). The English hallmarks in watch cases follow the same broad rules as those on any other gold or silver article, with the exception of the requirement to stamp a duty mark of the sovereign's head which was removed after 1798.

Regards,

Graham
 

Wtuck

Registered User
Jan 9, 2021
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I entirely agree with Graham that the case does not carry genuine Chester hallmarks.

A number of similar American made gold cases have been seen and it is not uncommon to find the winding hole cutting through the hallmark, as in this example. Another point to note is that the crown on the Leopard's head.

View attachment 631579

This particular design of punch was introduced in 1794 and in continual use until 1822, when the new punch was introduced, depicted a head without a crown. As you can see your example has a well defined crown. However, by ~1810 the definition of the crown had become far less distinct. Here is an example taken from a genuine (silver) case of 1813/14 with the date letter 'R'

View attachment 631585

As Graham has indicated your Johnson movement is probably from the 1820's, I suspect the middle of the 1820s, by which time the Leopards head should not have a crown, and even if it was =<1822, the crown would have been very indistinct. It is common to find these discrepancies when faux mark are examined.

Many of these movements when exported, were capped. Your movement has the posts to support a cap - compared with a capped movement below ...

View attachment 631577

Is a cap still present? If so are you able to post a photograph of the underside - it may carry a maker's mark.

John
John

Thanks for all the great info. Sorry to say I do not have the dust cap. However I have one other question. In the attached photo there is an ”S” and an “H” at the top of the hallmarks BC2A7698-8E16-4D30-89F4-39A64A499EF0.jpeg . Do have any idea what these mean?

Thanks
Wes
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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Hi Wes,



It's usually possible to see the roller on the balance staff, (which is the main difference between Masseys and the later English levers), without taking out the balance, (not recommended however if you aren't familiar with watch repair!), but you do need to have a good light and probably some magnification. The various types of Massey's patented rollers and his lever fork are illustrated in page 2 of this document from Oliver Mundy's (Lychnobius) website. The word "Detach'd" on the cock foot is sometimes an indication that this is a Massey, but it isn't infallible.



The best source for hallmarks in English watch cases is the book 'British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970' by Philip T. Priestley, (ISBN 9781944018054). The English hallmarks in watch cases follow the same broad rules as those on any other gold or silver article, with the exception of the requirement to stamp a duty mark of the sovereign's head which was removed after 1798.

Regards,

Graham
Graham

Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge. I was able to see the roller on the balance shaft with light and magnification, and it appears to be a Massey III. Does that line up with a movement from the 1820’s?

thanks
Wes
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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Wes - the simple answer is no.

With these faux marks, one might infer that the person who was attempting to deceive, thought more is always better. As an example, you can find gold cases which have both the crown and 18, for gold, and the lion passant for silver. I don't know whether these letters were added in an attempt to represent a date letter or a maker's mark. They are certainly not the former. It is possible that they were punched by those who worked on the case, but they are not the marks of a English case maker.

As you will have noted the number on the back of the case differs from that on the hinged dome with the winding hole. One possible interpretation is that the movement has been re-cased, but this would be pure speculation.

As is this ...

I have seen a number of American cases with similar features to this, where I suspect the case may have been made to fit a particular size of Liverpool movement, possible as one in a batch of cases. In other words not made with the movement available to be fitted as part of the process of manufacture. They were made with their faux hallmarks and possibly a case serial number, without the movement. Subsequently, a American 'finisher' (wholesaler/retailer) fitted the movement in the case and, if I am correct, he would have created the winding hole to fit the specific movement, having to drill where the Chester town mark was already stamped, and also added the movement serial number to the dome.

The book Graham has recommended is an excellent one, however, I have found the best way to interpret the hallmarks that relate to the assay office as opposed to the case maker, is to maintain a photographic index of genuine marks for each assay office.

John
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Wes,

I was able to see the roller on the balance shaft with light and magnification, and it appears to be a Massey III. Does that line up with a movement from the 1820’s?
Yes, it certainly does; this type is probably the commonest one found and was fitted for several years following the 1820s.

The 'S' and 'H' in the case were probably either an attempt to make the marks look more legitimate, or they conveyed something about the maker, but in the context of real English marks, particularly the maker's mark, they're meaningless.

Regards,

Graham
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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I want to thank everyone for all the information. It is very interesting to learn the history behind the watch. My great Aunt gave this watch to me knowing that I liked old watches. However, my interest is in Railroad watches and this watch has no family history for me. I would like to either sell it or trade it for a nice Railroad Watch. Is there a website, other than eBay, where I can trade or sell this watch?
 

Wtuck

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Jan 9, 2021
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I want to thank everyone for all the information. It is very interesting to learn the history behind the watch. My great Aunt gave this watch to me knowing that I liked old watches. However, my interest is in Railroad watches and this watch has no family history for me. I would like to either sell it or trade it for a nice Railroad Watch. Is there a website, other than eBay, where I can trade or sell this watch?
want to apologize for this post. I just read the rules in length and found out that implying an item is for sale is a no no.
 

PapaLouies

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The cuvette has the same number as the movement and the back cover is marked 5558 therefore it's likely a later watch in an earlier case.
Regards, P/L
 
Last edited:

Rich Newman

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Wtuck, thanks for posting your watch. Let me just take a moment and put this in context. This is a time when America was a huge destination for quality watches that were shipped from Liverpool. In the 18th century, "London" engraved on a watch movement was automatically assumed to mean high quality. But by this time, "Liverpool" had a well disserved reputation for the best watches and the assay office of Chester was also the "brand" that coincided with Liverpool so that's why imitation hallmarks on cases often have Chester like marks. Many Liverpool-made uncased movements came to the U.S. uncased starting around 1815 - 1820. Surviving letters from the Tobias firm from the early 1840's show that some came without dials, and that casemakers we're even having trouble keeping up with the demand. There has been very little research on these support trades in America but there is actually a lot of information in various discussions on these Forums. Most (not all) casemakers at this time in America were working in either New York or Philadelphia. "S" / "H" are likely the initials for the unidentified case maker. Someone, sometime, may figure out who it might be.

In my opinion, your movement, dial and case are all original. The case is American. The dial, I don't know with certainty (there has never been a study of American-made dials but must would say English-made). It would be interesting to test the gold content as there was no assay office in America and it seems that gold cases marked 18 carat, whether with genuine Chester assay & English made case, or imitation Chester assay marks & American made are sometimes substandard. I think the estimates for date of manufacture are good but could also be a bit later, not that it really matters in my view. Its a lovely watch and would have cost a small fortune when sold. American gold cased watches, especially in nice condition like yours, are very hard to find. I have a similar Liverpool movement watch sold by the Retailer Motts in New York that I really appreciate.
 

John Matthews

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I would add a point of caution.

It is well known that the manufacture of the movements of English watches, passed through many hands. Frames made in Lancashire, may have passed through all stages of manufacture in Lancashire prior to export to America. However, in my opinion it is also probable that some Lancashire frames, were worked on in Coventry and/or London where they were given a Liverpool signature, before returning to Lancashire for export as uncased movements, through Liverpool to America.

I am not suggesting that the latter route is one that this watch followed, but although I think it is very unlikely, I would not dismiss the possibility completely.

Prior to the trade in uncased movements, to which Rich refers, there was a significant trade of Coventry finished and cased watches, carrying both Liverpool and London signatures, being exported through Liverpool to America. With the transition to the uncased trade, I believe it would be unwise, to assume that this Coventry output, ignored this new opportunity.

My point of caution is that some of the uncased movements with a Liverpool signature, may have ventured away from Lancashire, prior to returning to Liverpool and being immediately loaded on a ship to America.

John
 

PapaLouies

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Whether this case 5558 was made in America or England and if made for movement 7067 it's most unlikely that the case would be stamped 5558. So I think this is an earlier re-case.
Regards, P/L
IMG_1016.JPG IMG_1020.JPG
Tobias 31484.
 

John Matthews

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So I think this is an earlier re-case.
P/L you may be correct.

However, my observation is that the percentage of Liverpool signed movements, that were exported to America, and now reside in (frequently ornate) gold cases, having the same characteristics as the watch posted by Wes, is significant. Further, for the Johnson examples I have recorded, having a hinged dome stamped with the movement number, but the inside of the back having a different number, are in a relatively narrow range of movement serial numbers, between #5780 & #7454. I believe there is a need for further research.

John
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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I think PL is correct, according to Oliver´s Johnson file the watch was made between 1825-1835, and I believe the multi-coloured dials were made about that period, and later.

Allan.
 

Lychnobius

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I too believe that this is a genuine Johnson movement. The cock design and styles of lettering look right; the absence of train-wheel jewels is a little unusual but not without parallel, my database showing Nos. 7184, 7675 and 8097 with the same basic jewel count. The date should be about 1825. The number 5558 in the outer set of 'hallmarks' is mysterious, given that the number inside the dome matches that on the movement. Is there any chance of a clearer photograph of the outer marks (those with the number 7067)? From the image already given it looks as if the initials here are not S and H but something different. I wonder if the back was damaged early in the history of the watch and replaced (by a different goldsmith?) with a new one.

Incidentally, the initials S and H are often found at this period in gold cases, presumably of American make, with mock-English marks. Usually there is a 'date-letter' in the form of a roman F in these; I do not remember seeing any other instance where the letter is omitted altogether.

I am sorry to have come so late to this thread. A suspected case of COVID-19 in the house where I work (a false alarm, I am glad to say) kept me out of touch for the first three weeks of the year.

Oliver Mundy.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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The two photographs are from my archive of 2011. They are from a Joseph Johnson pocket sent to America. I put them here to show a clear hallmark, and hope it helps solve the problem. I found initials S&H three times in "American Watchmakers Vol. 3" but I would say none of them fit.
So more research.

Allan.

4-6.JPG 4-5.JPG
 
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