I have to say that I do not feel that No. 6287 is a genuine Johnson watch. Graham has already hinted at some of the reasons for this doubt. To be more specific: –
1. The decoration on the cock (the bracket which holds the balance-wheel in place) is not in the three-dimensional style – carved in low relief rather than engraved – which was usual in Liverpool watches from about 1810 to the 1850s. I shall attach an example of a 'relief' cock, from Johnson No. 15488 which I believe dates from about 1838.
2. As Graham has said, the scale for the regulator is also not in Liverpool style; the central motif and the use of rectangular divisions rather than a row of decorative 'arrowheads' are usually associated with the midland city of Coventry. Again, No. 15488 shows the Liverpool style.
3. If Johnson's serial numbers are truly sequential (which I admit is not established beyond all doubt), a real No. 6287 should date from around 1824. I do not think the shape of cock shown here was in use at so early a date, although examples are found only a few years later. My second image, from No. 5680, shows the usual pattern at that period.
I believe Allan is correct in placing No. 6287 in the 1840s. It is a perfectly respectable English movement, quite possibly as good as Johnson's own although it has fewer jewels than most. A very high proportion of Johnson's output was exported to the United States, where these watches were highly regarded, and the temptation for lesser 'makers' (who were in fact often no more than retailers) to put Johnson's name on their own wares must have been almost irresistible. This piece is slightly unusual in having what appears to be an English silver case; usually the movements were exported without cases, these being supplied on arrival (usually in gold) by New York craftsmen. The engine-turning on the back of the case is unusually clear, suggesting that the watch has had relatively little use. Like the other contributors, I should like to see images of the internal marks.
My policy is to include doubtful items like this in my database (see Pocket Watches
for a link to this), since I may be wrong in rejecting them; Allan's comment, '[Y]ou get what you are selling elsewhere, and fill the order', could well be the truth of the matter in some of these instances at least. No. 6287 will therefore have a place in the next revision, and I am grateful to Jay for bringing it to our attention.
[I must apologise for the small size of the image of No. 15488. For some reason I have not got a larger one, and I cannot re-photograph the movement until tomorrow. 5680 also shows the relief-engraved cock and the characteristic regulator scale.]
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