London & Prescot Pocket Watch

neilhutch

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May 29, 2009
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Hello All,

I'm new to this forum but hopefully you can help me out with the following:

I've recently inherited from my late Father/Mother-in-law a London & Prescot Pocket Watch.

The pocket watch in question is made by the “Lancashire Watch Co Ltd – LONDON & PRESCOT) attached are some photo’s of this. If you could shed any further light on the history of this item then I would be very grateful. The condition of the watch is in need of a little attention as there is a slight dent on the reverse of the watch and the glass face has been chipped on the edge. (I'm sure this can be restored easily enough)

Either way if you could give any further details on the history of this watch and roughly what this type of item would retail at today then that would be great. Any info on the watch would be great as I've had little luck searching the internet.

Best Regards

Neil

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Cary Hurt

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Dec 16, 2005
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Neil,

Welcome to the NAWCC message board. We try to avoid giving valuations here, but will gladly give you any information we can about the background of your watch. You can take this information and use it to conduct a completed items search on eBay, or among web retailers, to ascertain a value for your watch.

Your watch is a fairly common type of gentleman's watch. The hallmarks in the case lid appear to be for Chester 1902. The three letters in the center would be the casemaker's mark, but I can't make them out in your image. 1902 is near the end of the era for keywind watches, but the British market was quite conservative, and watches of this type continued to be made up to the WWI era.

The Lancashire Watch Co. was a relatively large scale producer of movements. They were one of the first attempts at American styled watch manufacturing (meaning a single factory, rather than the cottage industry style of manufacturing where different specialists worked on different parts) in the UK. The movement is what is called a full plate movement, and it appears to be a seven jewel movement, which would put it into the more moderate quality range. This may have been made in England, or it may be an imported movement finished in England. I'm sure some of our other posters will know more.

Regards,

Cary Hurt
 
Last edited:

Jerry Matthews

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Sep 20, 2005
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Neil,

The Lancashire Watch Co was in business from about 1888-1911. Their factory was in Prescot, Lancashire, in the north west of England. They also had an outlet in London.

The silver case bears the Chester hallmark for 1902-1903, and it is reasonable to suppose that your watch was made about that time. I can't quite make out the hallmark on the chain fob, but can see it is a Birmingham hallmark.

Values are not discussed on this site, but I can say your watch is not especially rare nor valuable. You can get an idea of what kind of prices these watches go for if you trawl through eBay for similar ones.

Main thing is that the watch has come down to you from the family. A competent watchmaker can put it into good condition (I am assuming there is no serious damage to the watch movement). If properly cared for, it will last for very many years to come, and is something you can pass down to those who come after you.

Good luck with it.

I sent this off before I saw the additional pictures and Cary's reply. The movement does look to be in quite good condition.
 

neilhutch

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May 29, 2009
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Jerry/Cary,

Many thanks for providing me with some history to the Watch, and I do appreciate you not discussing valuations on the site. i was more curious than anything as I do not wish to sell this on anyhow for obvious sentimental reasons. I will have the watch cleaned up and restored and keep in the family for as long as possible.

Once again, many thanks to you both.

Neil
 

itspcb

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Aug 6, 2006
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This one was made in Prescot, and not much, if any, mechanisation was used to make it, it would be finished by hand. Large scale mechanisation similar to the American model never really took off in Prescot, they found it impossible to move from a cottage industry (albeit a very large one) to a centrally organised highly mechanised one. Hence Prescot went downhill as the American model took over. I lived in this area and there was almost nothing left of the watch industry by 1950, certainly at this time you did not know Prescot as horological center.
There was also a very large tool producing industry which also died.

Peter
 

Tom McIntyre

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This one was made in Prescot, and not much, if any, mechanisation was used to make it, it would be finished by hand. Large scale mechanisation similar to the American model never really took off in Prescot, they found it impossible to move from a cottage industry (albeit a very large one) to a centrally organised highly mechanised one. Hence Prescot went downhill as the American model took over. I lived in this area and there was almost nothing left of the watch industry by 1950, certainly at this time you did not know Prescot as horological center.
There was also a very large tool producing industry which also died.

Peter
The factory picture does not look like a hand finishing operation. Are you sure they were not trying to make movements in large scale? I have seen Prescott ebauches in various states of finish and I think that was a piece of their business. It seems like most of the English factory produced watches were sold as private label and perhaps shipped to the retailer for final finishing.

I have just recently gotten interested in this aspect of English watchmaking because of the connection with Dennison and also the American Watch Tool Company, which sold a lot of machinery to the English factory makers.
 

itspcb

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Hi Tom

Here's my 2cents, having read but not studied in depth!
I was aware that Dennison came to England trying to sell equipment and with a vision that the horological industry would develop into a mechanised, automated and centrally managed process that he had observed developing in the usa, hence giving him the business opportunity. He undoubtedly sold machinery, but in the case of Prescot having the machines was not enough, the will to change from a cottage industry involving dozens if not hundreds of suppliers was not there or was deemed to difficult to change, so while some parts may have been made by machine the full benefits were not obtained. The American model on the other hand went to fully mechanised and centralised production which resulted in lower cost and higher quality production. Hence the industry in Prescot withered and died.
For a long time Prescot was the center of the world as far as watch production was concerned and maybe the inertia was too much to change.
There are some papers out there and I will see what I can find.



Peter
 

Les harland

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Apr 10, 2008
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The Lancashire Watch Co made own label watches
A typical example is "The Express English Lever ,JG Graves Sheffield"
JG graves were one of the UK's first mail order businesses
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Hi Neil
nothing to add to the knowledgable comments above,but:I´m affraid the skrew fixing the balance cock is missing(at least I cannot see one)If I´m right don´t wind the watch as damage might occur when the cock comes loose while working(If I´m wrong please forgive an amateur)Nice watch,I have allmost the same!
Burkhard
 

neilhutch

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May 29, 2009
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Guys,

Thanks ever so much for all your knowledge on this piece, it's very much appreciated.

itspcb. Thanks for the Link also, interesting to see the Factory on Warrington Rd, as this is where my Father-in-Law and his Father lived all their lives.

I now feel I know a lot more about the Watch and also the tracking of it's History.

Thanks Again.

Neil
 

neilhutch

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May 29, 2009
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Hi Neil
nothing to add to the knowledgable comments above,but:I´m affraid the skrew fixing the balance cock is missing(at least I cannot see one)If I´m right don´t wind the watch as damage might occur when the cock comes loose while working(If I´m wrong please forgive an amateur)Nice watch,I have allmost the same!
Burkhard
Hi Burkhard,

I Have the screw fixing, I'm sure the one your talking about is the one that holds the casing on the back of the watch. Either way many thanks.

Neil
 

Cary Hurt

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Dec 16, 2005
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Neil,

The screw that Burkhardt is referring to is this one (I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your image for illustration)...

prescot.jpg

which holds down the balance cock. He is right that under pressure from the wound mainspring, the cock could lift or tilt, and that even a slight movement could allow for damage to the delicate balance pivots, which are what the large balance wheel rides upon.

Any qualified watchmaker should be easily able to replace the screw, but it really shouldn't be wound until the screw is replaced.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks,Cary,for making clear what I meant,it would be a shame....
Burkhard
 

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