Lest we forget

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by zacandy, Mar 22, 2020.

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  1. zacandy

    zacandy Registered User
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    Nov 6, 2019
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    Occasionally I see pocket watches online that take my breath away as they reach back into history.

    Gulp... dry mouth...

    In a provincial English antique auction on a grey raining Thursday last November a quite pretty otherwise unremarkable Swiss early twentieth century pocket watch is for sale.

    Clevedon Salerooms - Lot 265

    But boy what a provenance as the auctioneers say….

    In a brief respite from the front being gassed, bayoneted and drowned in mud the men & NCOs of a platoon in the World War One trenches get together out of their meagre salaries and buy an expensive Swiss pocket watch (18 carat gold no less) from a French jeweller in Roubaix on 13 January 1918. They take it back to England then engrave it then present it to him in 1919 one assumes.

    Signed

    " Presented to XXX DCM
    By Junior NCOs and men of 250 Siege Bty
    1917 France 1919 "

    A friend into WW1 militaria tells me that that is a siege battery. Heavy duty howitzer stuff.

    At first I wondered what he particularly had done to deserve such a generous item.

    The previous auction lot of his medals explains why

    “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when two officers and some men of the battery were badly wounded and buried in a dug out this gallant officer did splendid work in getting them away under continuous shell fire, showing a total disregard for his own safety. On another occasion he voluntarily went into a camp near his battery to remove some men who were wounded and unable to move. The camp was being heavily shelled at the time. “


    According to Google maps there is still a retailer there on the same premises in Roubaix selling gold etc.

    According to the receipt It was delivered to the

    “ Les soldats anglais pour un chrono … ( can anyone decipher understand that part as it is not a chronograph) or, double cuvette or...”

    Sold for 353 French francs

    On the cuvette

    “ Ancre
    Ligne Droite 10 Rubis
    Balancier Compense
    Levees Visibles
    Spiral Breguet
    4 Chatons “

    Lever escapement - 10 jewels
    Breguet type overcoiled hairspring
    What were / are chatons referred to?

    Can anyone help identify the manufacturer at all – FHF?

    Their descendants just throw it away in a local auction for buttons/ barely more than the scrap value of the gold. One is almost tempted to buy it research it find them on social media Facebook etc (as one can with unusual surnames) then turn up on their doorsteps with the watch asking why? how dare they…

    The lot was passed.

    " They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them. "

    265.jpg 8d63f361-ea6d-45ad-b6c8-aaf800f7d55e.jpg 265_10.JPG 6572d72d-aa0c-46ca-bdf6-aaf800edebc4.jpg 269881e0-5168-44b3-b37b-aaf800f8e119.jpg
     
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  2. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Feb 9, 2013
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  3. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User

    Dec 12, 2010
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    19 jewels on the cuvette definitely, not 10. Don't know how many this watch actually has, but in a watch of this quality it should be accurate (possibly a cap jewel on escape wheel or a jewelled barrel).

    Chatons are screw-down jewel settings.

    Nice watch indeed!
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hi zacandy,

    Chatons are the gold or brass jewel settings on the top plate. The manufacturer was Fabrique d'Horlogorie de Fontainemelon in the town of Fontainemelon.

    The recipient was a Battery Sergeant Major, and the DCM is the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry in the field. During its currency it was second only to the Victoria Cross, and was awarded to Warrant Officers, NCOs and other ranks.

    We should certainly not forget men like him . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    Jul 20, 2018
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    Very interesting post. I can never understand why families dispose of medals, timepieces & other heirlooms. I suppose on account of financial straits, the dying our of a line etc.

    I'm wondering whether the movement is original to the case. The pic of the movement doesn't enlarge for me however it looks like a 17 jewelled one whereas you indicated 10 jewels?

    Looking at the engraved cuvette pic, perhaps the "10" is a fancy "19" ... the movement could have 19 jewels if the lever was capped etc.
     
  6. eri231

    eri231 Registered User

    Jan 13, 2012
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    this movement was built by Zelim Perrenoud of LeLocle. in 1916 he joined Record creating the Record Dreadnought Watch Co.
    regards enrico
     
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  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Thanks Enrico, I misunderstood the OP's comment about FHF, thinking there was a logo somewhere on the movement.

    Graham
     
  8. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    I forgot to mention that until about the 1950, European watches that were considered to be more accurate than normal especially having an adjustable compensated balance with Breguet hairspring etc., were routinely referred to as "chronometres". So given the quality of the subject movement "chrono" likely referred to a chronometer rather than to a chronograph.
     

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