Josh Johnson

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Keith R..., May 5, 2015.

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  1. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    PapaLouies, thank you for this. I think it was you who originally suggested that the absence of a band of radial decoration around the endstone was one mark of a fake, and I believe this works well as a rule of thumb. However, this is one more instance where a 'fake' Johnson is not demonstrably inferior to a 'real' one.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  2. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #802 Keith R..., May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    Well I'll post the Johnson update here I suppose. I fired up the conventional train 1842
    Josh Johnson, 25 Church Street at 3:45 PM EST. The issue if it has one, will be right
    about 6 PM, when it intersects with the seconds bit. I raised the hour hand and checked
    with bezel lifted, to ensure it now has clearance.

    Items one should note on this watch is the dial is a later replacement. If you look closely,
    one can see the recessed seconds bit, a dial feature seen post 1850. Also, the
    case is a replacement in no correlation with the movement number. Most who follow this
    thread recall my other Josh Johnson, a Liverpool runner also circa 1842, in a replacement
    case that carries the movement serial number. I would place the new dial on the first watch
    around 1860. Josh Johnson #14903 is 19J confirmed.

    Here are both for posterity and both are pre-service old photos. .

    Keith R...

    100_5171 (1600x1200).jpg 100_2355 (800x600).jpg jj811 (800x800).jpg jj173 (500x375).jpg
     
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  3. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Well, it appears at this point I'm at -4 minutes for Johnson #14903 with 6.5 hours to go.
    Knowing this, I'll be able to adjust the reg arm after it shuts down (probably 1 click toward
    fast to cure it). Seems to run fine in all positions.

    Keith R...
     
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  4. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    And it finished at -4 minutes and change. So a slight increase one click toward Fast
    and it should cure the problem for #14903.

    Keith R...
     
  5. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Actually, I felt more aggressive after opening the movement and removing the dust cap.
    The watch was timed slightly shy of full Slow setting on the scale. I'm accustomed to (as
    I should be), having it timed at mid point. But it is what it is and I advanced it toward Fast 3
    clicks. I began at 1:10 PM, even with my my English hack watch and it has not gained or lost.
    All the hands are clearing and I still will watch the hour & seconds hand to ensure there's
    clearance. I may just make this one. I had reset the minute and seconds hand, which both
    dislodged in transit. I fully set it back on the seconds pipe. All these guys will caution folks
    though on Gold hands, setting the time with a key can easily screw the gold hands up.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed. This one, the 1842 conventional train 19J Johnson.

    Keith R...

    PS...........Ray and I compare any finds as usual, not much out there for now.
     
  6. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    It appears using this scale without benefit of a new photo, the arm now one mark past the 2nd crows foot,
    starting from Slow. Given we are 6 hours in and it's even with the serviced test watch, I feel confident one
    adjustment will suffice.

    Since the Simon's duplex was + 5 minutes in 24hrs on it's first test, I'll remove the dust cap and see where
    it's initial timing point is and go from there. These watches came in while my friends were putting the roof on,
    so I'm a bit behind and catching up.

    Keith R...

    jj811 (800x800).jpg
     
  7. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I had to take a second bite out of the apple. After all the hoopla, it still ran -3 minutes
    in 24hrs. I took it 2 more clicks toward fast (close to photo shown in post #806).

    I'm timing it with my old hack watch again.

    Keith R...
     
  8. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    The watch movement below was for sale on eBay, and I did put in a bid, then forgot all about it while watching the football final between Chelsea and Arsenal (4-1). So I will ask the Johnson fans the same questions I asked myself. The barrel plate is very nicely engraved, but lacks the word, Liverpool, though it is quite obvious it was made there.
    The Johnson signature is not unlike others I have seen, but again there is no "J" or Josh. At first, I thought it could be an early Johnson, but the number 8726 is too late for that. The cap is missing too. Is it a fake?

    Regards,

    Allan.

    3-06.jpg
     
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  9. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    My thanks once again to Allen. This one (new to me) is a rather difficult case. The Johnson firm was generally placing its Church Street address on the backplate by this time, but there are exceptions which I see no other reason to reject (e.g. nos. 7116, 7728, 8097, 8514); similarly, 7-jewel Johnsons are fairly unusual but not unparalleled, 8097 (again) being an example. On the other hand, I do not see why Joseph I or his family should cast doubt on their own heritage by omitting the forename – there must have been many other watchmaking or at least watch-handling Johnsons within the Liverpool catchment area – ad so I feel on balance I shall have to apply the red star.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  10. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Oliver, I agree with the 'red star attribute', but while the watch has all the usual characteristics of a Liverpool derived movement, I don't believe you can be certain that the 'Johnson' who's signature is on the movement, was from the the Liverpool catchment area. Do we not see the rosette around the balance cap jewel and the arrowheads on the scale. figuring on watches that were retailed throughout the UK and further afield at the time the movement was made. Some of the other engraving styles, I have not seen before - perhaps others with more experience have - rather unusual and given the output from Liverpool at the time, I thought I (we) might have seen it more frequently, if that's where it was done. I thought perhaps this was not the work of a Liverpool engraver.

    John
     
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  11. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Oliver, I think you right to give the above the red star, until sometime in the future more information comes to light. What I found in this movement was the way the barrell plate is engraved and is in fact quite rare, when not a Liverpool runner. All the watches I own with this type of barrel plate engraving are runners. Maybe this Johnson started a mode, you only find this barrel engraving on the top quality Liverpool watches, and usually with another Liverpool feature, Liverpool windows. That is all that is lacking from the Johnson above, it as a pie crust around the cock, the rosette around the balance cap, the arrowheads, so I will stay with my first impression that it could only have been made in Liverpool.

    Regards,

    Allan

    IMG_7279.JPG

    IMG_7280.JPG

    John Harrison Liverpool
    IMG_7282.JPG
    Robert Roskell Liverpool
    IMG_7283.JPG
    A no-name from Liverpool.
     
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  12. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    Fair point, John. I was using the expression 'Liverpool catchment area' in an attempt to convey, with something less than my usual prolixity, the meaning 'area throughout which components from the Lancashire watchmaking centres, and manufacturing processes carried out in those centres, were embodied in the finished product'; of course it is true that such components were used all over the country (London not excepted), so that if it is legitimate to speak of such an 'area' it must be conceived as being bounded only by the Atlantic Ocean, the Channel and the North Sea.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Hi Oliver, my only point was although we can be almost certain it was a Lancashire product, there is no evidence from which we can infer where this 'Johnson' was based.

    John
     
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  14. Chris Radek

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    I just got done replacing the mainspring, barrel hook, re-pinning the hook on the barrel end of the chain, and servicing a Joseph Johnson, in a silver hunter case, hallmarked Chester 1857

    The case is stamped in 3 places 32487, plates etc are stamped 32487 or scratch-marked 87, back of dial is marked 87, but the main engraving says No. 32478. I suspect this is just an engraver's error, but maybe both numbers should be mentioned in the database?

    It's a liverpool runner, fully jeweled, hole in cock, cut bimetal screwed balance, dial says:

    [red]
    RAILWAY TIMEKEEPER

    [black]
    JOS. JOHNSON
    25 CHURCH ST
    LIVERPOOL

    [red]
    19 JEWELS

    jj1.jpg jj2.jpg
     
  15. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Hi Chris,
    Great watch. Can you put on photos of the hallmarks?
    Regards, PL
     
  16. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I think I have it timed after the 4th attempt. I'm within 2 clicks of mid point and on my 4th timed test
    for #14903. I am even at hour 3 which is encouraging and timing with the Saltzman.

    Keith R...

    jj811 (800x800).jpg
     
  17. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    Keith it looks like we almost have twins! Many things in common. Here are the hallmarks. Whoever wielded the maker's stamp should have had a bit less to drink. None of the three stamps really show both letters well.
    jj3.jpg jj4.jpg
     
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  18. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    The little dot above and below the T looks like it's stamped on purpose. Although it moves around, all three sets have one.
     
  19. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #819 Keith R..., Jun 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Interesting Chris. Here' a Ralph Samuel's case on my 1850 Joseph Johnson of 87 Brownlow Hill.
    I also have him on an 1850 American Jeweler Oliver Gerrish of Portland Maine.

    See thread "Early American watch maker, Oliver Gerrish" for RS case hallmarks on #9030.


    Keith R...

    100_1155 (800x600).jpg
     
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  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Chris,

    Yes, it probably was, and is likely to be the jointer's mark.

    Sometimes the sponsor's marks show signs of wear to the punch but that isn't evident here, so maybe he had spent some of the profits in the pub.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  21. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Josh Johnson 19J conventional train, #14903.

    After the 4th timing adjustment, I am less then 30 seconds after 17 hours in, compared to the
    Saltzman lever.

    I did give it a wind before bed, so as to focus on just the timing. I'd say with roughly 7hrs to go,
    it will be less then or equal to, -1 minute per day. I even carried it a bit through the test.

    Also, I sent an email to Oliver in regards to Chris's 1857 19J Runner and the movement plate
    serial number from post #814..

    Keith R...
     
  22. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #822 Keith R..., Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    The final outcome is, it makes carry status should I choose. It completed at -40 seconds
    in 24hrs, compared to my serviced Saltzman 15J. This #14903.

    I will share an observation that my other 17J runner of 1842 was purchased through a
    UK auction. Besides my 1818 Johnson rack lever, it's my only Josh Johnson of 25 Church
    St. for the domestic (UK) market. I cannot confirm on #14903. I believe the balance cock
    styles should be evaluated for the data base.

    My other observations are balance wheels (solid gold vs split/compensated wheels).
    This case shown is 30 years after movement first made but carries the movement
    serial number. The movement is about circa 1842.

    Keith R...

    100_1192 (800x600).jpg 100_3971 (1024x768).jpg jj173 (500x375).jpg
     
  23. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    At last, Chris Radek's No. 32478 gives us a new fixed point for the dating of Johnsons! The hallmarks are unambiguously Chester 1857. I can see nothing to suggest that movement and case do not belong together (although it would be reassuring if we could know that the keyhole in the dome does not show any sign of having been enlarged or relocated*). I presume the casemaker (or sponsor, to use the term now preferred) is Ralph Samuel.

    Thank you, Keith, for bringing this to my notice.

    *I say this because my No. 15488 also has a Samuel case, well-fitting but with a tell-tale 'hump' on one side of the keyhole showing where this has been filed out to give access to the key-square.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  24. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    How awesome! I will check it carefully for you Oliver.
     
  25. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    Oliver, I don't see any sign of modification to the case. The cuts for the latch and hack fit well, and the dome shows perfectly even reflections with no sign of bumps or dents. They key hole is round, perfectly positioned, and has a decoration around it and could not have been moved.

    Did you see in my original post #814 that the correct serial number is very likely 32487 even though the engraving says 32478?
     
  26. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    This morning I came across this watch movement one of Rays posts. Engraved on the plate H.J.Pilkington, notice no Liverpool on the barrel plate. The resemblance to the Johnson 8726 is easy to see. The working dates in Loomes for Hugh Joseph Pilkington are 1834-58, and I would say they both used the same engraver in Liverpool. The Patent on the cock would indicate a Massey escapement, though it could be an STR?
    Allan.
    PS; On looking at the photograph again, there is something on the Barrel plate-looks like C-R or H O S B Y maybe-Keith could you ask Ray??

    0-3.JPG
     
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  27. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Allan it's Chorley and Hugh Joseph Pilkington was 25 in the 1841 census when he was based at Market Street Chorley. Corresponds to Loomes quoted dates.

    upload_2019-6-5_17-55-43.png

    John
     
  28. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Thanks, John. I thought you would like that one, I will keep my eye open for more. Allan.
     
  29. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I noticed several Joseph Johnson entrees. Thought I'd pull up the thread for them.

    Keith R...
     
  30. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    So while this thread is up, here's two Josh Johnson watches. One is 1842 and a 17J Liverpool runner,
    the other, 19J conventional train Josh Johnson 1842, with both in silver cases. The 19 Jewel is jeweled
    both sides of the center wheel, (there's a jewel window cutout in the cock).

    Keith R...

    103_0459 (800x600).jpg jj811 (800x800).jpg
     
  31. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    According to Dr. Robert Kemp the cutout in the cock is called the "Fenestrated Cock" to define this I took out my Oxford dictionary to see what it said and was very surprised when I could not find fenestrated it in that tomb. I then google it. 1. Provided with a window or windows (the answer) but it goes on with 2. Anatomy. which read, having perforations, apertures, or transparent areas. There is a whole list of other uses, but I left it there before I got educated.
     
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  32. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I generally wait until PL spells it.............he spells better then me.

    Keith R...
     
  33. twwatchdiy

    twwatchdiy New Member

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    I recently got a working movement from ebay, 45mm diameter.
    Is it possible to get a silver case to hold the movement?
    The dial show chronometer balance, What's difference with regular balance?
    470636-8a451f83c64af9116b8a52f0b907ad99.jpg 470637-2d6f6fd5f97dca43badd038a4e6e4c2f.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  34. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi twwatchdiy, and welcome to the forum,

    The cases for these watches were made to fit the movement, but you may be lucky and find a case for sale that fits this. Your movement has the posts for a cap, do you have that as well?

    The 'chronometer balance' marking was really a piece of marketing to distinguish it from the plain balances which were still quite common, because this balance is a straightforward cut compensated, bimetallic type, which became the standard for all watches with any pretensions to a degree of accuracy.

    Although this watch is very typical of Liverpool pieces, with the large 'Liverpool Window' jewels in the top plate, the characteristic engraving style on the balance cock and the balance brake, I'm not convinced that this is by Joseph Johnson as the signature seems slightly different, but other members here, (particularly Lychnobius, who has compiled a list of known Johnson watches), will be able to expand on this. It also has the less common glazed balance cock, with the small window which allows sight of the jewelled centre wheel pivot.

    The dial is slightly unusual in being signed, and the sunk seconds suggests a date sometime after the 1830s.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  35. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    These watches with high numbers and the 25, Church Street address, were in the main sent to America without cases. An example is number 10811 dated 1829. On Oliver´s List he says, silver consular case, hallmarked Chester 1829. (so sold in the UK I would say). After that up to 27113 none are dated, then come 27842 dated Chester 1855. A rogue guess for your watch would be in the 1840s when Johnson´s wife was running the shop. Though I am sure Oliver will be pleased to comment on your watch, its a very nice example.

    Best wishes,

    Allan
     
  36. twwatchdiy

    twwatchdiy New Member

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    Thanks for Graham's detail explain about this movement. It came with the cap. The donate pocket watch case I am looking for outside diameter between 51~55mm? It's difficult to find seller show the inner movement diameter. new05.jpg
     
  37. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Are there any marks, initials for example, on the inside of the cap? If so,can you please post a photograph - we may possibly be able to identify the cap maker.

    John
     
  38. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi twwatchdiy,

    The dial side of the movement, the pillar plate, or if the dial is attached to the movement via a separate plate, the 'brass edge', has to fit quite closely in the edge of the case which has a lip to fit it. The depth of the case has to clear the back of the cap, and even if you can find one the correct size, (getting sellers to measure properly is indeed a problem), it may well have the winding hole in the wrong place, which means you'll either have to open the movement to wind it, or have a silversmith make a new hole and block up the old one.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  39. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    My feeling is that No. 18457 is genuine; for the omission of the 'h' compare Nos. 17471 and 18760. I have not seen the notation CHRONOMETER BALANCE before (although the compensated balance itself is not uncommon on movements made for the U.S. market), but the style of lettering on the dial closely matches several other examples which I see no reason to query.

    In regard to dating, my No. 15488 (another bare movement) came to me with a suggested date of 1839; I do not know of any evidence for this, but it seems credible enough. I have usually thought of dials with sunken seconds panels as being later than 1850, but Graham's experience is wider than mine, and there are indications that the Johnson firm adopted this style (already familiar among the Swiss) a little earlier than most British makers.

    Curious instance of what used to be considered as British modesty and reserve: – Swiss makers habitually mentioned the number of jewels in the inscription on the cuvette, but if you were an Englishman you never referred to this unless (as here) the number was greater than 17. In that case you were allowed to boast of it.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  40. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I wonder if Graham's 1830 was in error, it may be a typo for 1850 - very unlike Graham if it was and so I may be up for an apology. With much less experience than Graham, I thought the sunken dial, but with the second chapter ring on the main dial, was found from the late 1840s on Liverpool watches.

    Apology in advance if I am mistaken.

    John
     
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  41. twwatchdiy

    twwatchdiy New Member

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    Inside the cap has SW or GW? mark, The movement has hack second mechanism. Thank Mundy, Graham, John's great explanation for this watch. IMG_20191016_201628.jpg IMG_20191016_202921.jpg
     
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  42. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    We need a clear identification of the cap maker's initials to be certain. It sounds as if you are confident with the second letter being 'W'. In the middle of the C19th there was a family of cap makers operating in Liverpool by the name of Winstanley - both TW - Thomas and RW - Richard are known. Both of these cap maker's marks have been found on movements that crossed the 'pond' to America. With the Liverpool signature on the watch, it is possible that this is a match - we can never be certain. I have also seen WW on a capped Liverpool movement that was cased in America. It is possible that your capped movement was exported to America where it was cased - was the seller based in America?

    John
     
  43. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    No, not a typo. Although unusual, there are a few English dials with sunk seconds that can be dated to the 1830s or even earlier, but they did become much more common in the 1850s; to quote David Penney, 'Two-piece dial with sunk seconds bit, a feature of enamel dials that started to appear in London work in the 1820’s', when describing a Dutton & Co. watch in a case dating from 1829/30.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  44. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - Thanks for the correction and clarification.

    Is anyone aware of an early 'dated' example finished outside London?

    As a matter of interest can you have single piece dials with a sunken area for the seconds? I have a vague memory of seeing one described, possibly in gold.

    John
     
  45. twwatchdiy

    twwatchdiy New Member

    Oct 15, 2019
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    Yes, the seller in US. I found another interesting piece #709 in youtube, 18K pair Case with clear hall mark.
    May it be help for Josh Johnson research. Thank's for all.
    SN709.png
    18khallmark03.png
     
  46. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    This is a very interesting find.

    The watch case carries what I believe are genuine gold hallmarks for Chester 1815/16 which is compatible with the rack lever movement with slides and a compensation curb - not 1830's as suggested on the YouTube site.

    I am fairly confident that Oliver will be happy to confirm this as a genuine Johnson movement.

    I believe the case carries the maker's mark of Thomas Helsby - see here.

    upload_2019-10-17_7-56-42.png

    The 'TH' maker's mark is found with and without a period between the two letters, without in this case. From memory 1815 is as late as the Thomas Helsby mark is seen - it is also known on a case housing a Morris Tobias movement from the same year.

    John
     
  47. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Correction and apology - Oliver has already recorded this in his database :oops: luckily for me I my comments are consistent with the database.

    As Oliver points out 'Liverpool' is engraved on the main plate and on the plate covering the barrel (as can be seen in the video).

    upload_2019-10-17_12-25-40.png

    Oliver also raises the question whether the watch might have been converted from a rack lever or to a Massey - which might explain the two engravings of Liverpool.

    With the benefit of Oliver's comments, I have stepped through the video and I believe is suggestion is a very good one. I believe that this movement is in its original case - the date of which corresponds to the original rack escapement - but if it has been converted, we have no indication as to when the conversion was done. It is equally possible that it was converted to a single roller. Here is an example of such a conversion from a rack lever to a single roller,

    John
     
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  48. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    The lever pivot hole is visible in the top plate just next to the original rack lever slide, (which would have held the rack pivot), together with the clear 'outboard' planting of the banking pins; rack lever banking pins were usually planted 'inboard' between the lever pivots and the balance.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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