M. Grossman Repeater

John Cote

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I bought this watch from the estate of a jeweler/watchmaker the other day. I am familiar with a bit of the Grossmann history but have never seen anything quite like this. The Grossmann museum seems to have a strange 7.5 minute repeater in their collection but I can't find movement pics.

The case is 18k. It runs but the repeat is muted and will not finish but it has two gongs and two hammers which seem to be pivoted under the main plate.

I would love to have any info the experts can provide. BTW, I love the family crest but I am sure it is lost to history.

01-GrossDial.jpg

02-GrossMvt.jpg

03-GrossCvt.jpg

04-GrossCs1.jpg

05-GrossCs2.jpg
 

Philip Poniz

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John, it is definitively an interesting watch, but without looking under the dial, it is almost impossible to say much about it.
The coat of arms, I am sure, can be deciphered. Probably, one of German or neighboring barons.
 
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John Cote

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John, it is definitively an interesting watch, but without looking under the dial, it is almost impossible to say much about it.
The coat of arms, I am sure, can be deciphered. Probably, one of German or neighboring barons.
Thanks Philip. I am sending it off to have it tuned up. I will get pix of the dial plate and how the hammers are mounted etc.
 

John Cote

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The coat of arms appears to be that of the "Lords of Wolframsdorf." Wolframsdorf is now a small town in Saxony, which I guess makes sense.
 

John Cote

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Absolutely, congratulations! Seven prongs with pearls indicate a baron (Freiherr). Freiherr von Wolframsdorf. By the age of the watch you should be able to pinpoint the owner.
Thanks Philip,

I guess I might have to re-up a subscription to one of the ancestry sites. It seems this family must have lost their land-hold a long time ago. The Dorff is barely still there. It is difficult to find any 19th century folk with this name on the normal internet. There are a lot of Wolff's and quite a few people with Wolfram as a first name. I will keep looking.
 

Incroyable

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You might try researching the family in a copy of the Almanach de Gotha which listed all the European noble families up until WWII.

Unfortunately the Soviets destroyed the Gotha archives at the end of the war.
 

sternerp

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Hi John!

This repeater movement seems to me similar to the english full plate repeater calibers. And if i know good, these ebauches made in the LeCoultre factory.

Peter
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Peter, I own an 18k hunter minute repeater with an English-style free-sprung movement. It is completely unsigned except for a little trademark no one has yet identified. The case and movement appear to be Swiss. Do you this movement is based on a LeCoultre ebauche?

IMG_4833.JPG MR1.jpg MR3.jpg MR5.jpg
 

Dr. Jon

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LeCoultre made an English style ebauche. It is #44 in their 1903 catalog but it is oriented differently and the top plate screws are in different locations from Ethans. It has strong family resemblance.
 

John Cote

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So, the current version of Grossmann has confirmed that this was built on a Swiss ebauche. They say that they know of only 7 other Grossmann repeaters and all that they know of are 1/8th repeaters which was some weird preference of Maurice Grossmann. I am taking this up to the watchmaker on Friday. We should know what is going on under the dial very soon.
 

John Cote

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Here are some pix from under the dial. There are no marks to indicate the country of mfg or anything else. It is now running fine. It has a very weird repeat. Grossman says that all of their original repeaters were 1/8 or 7.5 minute repeaters. This on chimes the hour then the quarters then a weird added gong. Supposedly this was some sort of inside pet "thing" of Herr Grossmann. The people at M. Grossmann have been very helpful but they can't tell me much about it. The repeat mechanism is pretty well done and it has a very German like escape wheel with big gold meantime screws. BTW, Grossmann could only say that the watch was made between 1870-1885. My guess would be closer to 1880.

M-Grossmann_DialSide_01 2.JPG


M-Grossmann_DialSide_02 2.JPG


M-Grossmann_DialSide_03 2.JPG


M-Grossmann_DialSide_04 2.JPG
 
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Incroyable

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I've never quite understood the 1/8 or half quarter repeater.

They seem just as complex to make as a minute or 5 minute repeater without the precision of either. The English also seem to have made them in small quantities.

Does anyone know the history of it?
 

Incroyable

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From a cursory Google search many 18th century Breguets seem to have them so I guess they were one of his inventions.

They don't seem to have been terribly popular afterwards though I suspect watchmakers like Grossmann favored them as a kind of elitist gesture.

Does anyone know if 19th century half quarter repeaters cost the same as a 5 minute or minute repeater or were they priced like a quarter repeater?
 
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Dr. Jon

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Half quarters were one of the most common types on English work early 1800's.

I think. I suggest the extra ring is on the second half of the quarter.

I think the watch may be closer to 1870 due its early from of Lange lever. This form was introduced in 1854 and later replaced by the mustache form of Grossmann lever, assuming the watch went through production continuously.
 

Incroyable

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Half quarters were one of the most common types on English work early 1800's.

I think. I suggest the extra ring is on the second half of the quarter.

I think the watch may be closer to 1870 due its early from of Lange lever. This form was introduced in 1854 and later replaced by the mustache form of Grossmann lever, assuming the watch went through production continuously.
They don't seem to come up for sale very often. Is that because English repeaters from the early 1800s are overall quite scarce or some other reason?

I ask because early 19th century French and Swiss cylinder quarter repeaters are very easy to find.
 

gmorse

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[Hi Jon,
QUOTE="Dr. Jon, post: 1563012, member: 475"]
Half quarters were one of the most common types on English work early 1800's.
[/QUOTE]

Many of the Stogden pattern repeaters were half-quarter, and I believe that the English were almost the only makers using this very different design, which was introduced early in the 18th century. Richard Watkins, in his excellent treatise on repeaters, (well worth reading if you have any interest in repeating work, and I would say essential if you need to restore an example), places the Breguet repeaters in the same chapter with the Stogden and states that these two types have some features in common.

Regards,

Graham
 

Incroyable

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How late were half quarter repeaters made in the UK?

I recently came across one that was hallmarked 1877.
 

gmorse

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Hi Jeffrey,
How late were half quarter repeaters made in the UK?
I can't say from direct experience, the Stogden I posted recently in response to a thread by Doug Shuman was probably made around 1815, but I believe the design was still being made later in the 19th century, as the Vulliamys continued to use it after most others had adopted more recent designs. A cased example hallmarked 1877 isn't impossible I suppose, but it does raise the question of whether the case is original.

By the 1870s I believe that many if not most of the more conventional repeating work in English watches wasn't being sourced in this country, but was made in Switzerland.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Incroyable

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Hi Jeffrey,


I can't say from direct experience, the Stogden I posted recently in response to a thread by Doug Shuman was probably made around 1815, but I believe the design was still being made later in the 19th century, as the Vulliamys continued to use it after most others had adopted more recent designs. A cased example hallmarked 1877 isn't impossible I suppose, but it does raise the question of whether the case is original.

By the 1870s I believe that many if not most of the more conventional repeating work in English watches wasn't being sourced in this country, but was made in Switzerland.

Regards,

Graham
Were the Swiss making half quarter repeaters by the late 19th century?

It seems like a particularly obscure complication by that period. One wonders why Grossmann insisted on it.
 

Dr. Jon

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I suspect that Glasshutte makers made repeaters to order. They probably had a customer who wanted this.
 

Bernhard J.

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Some customers apparently indeed had a favor for this type of repeater. I have an English one marked 1865 and it might be that the movement is Swiss made, although of pure English appearance.

In the 18th century they were not exactly common in England, but also not extremely rare.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

John Cote

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I think the watch may be closer to 1870 due its early from of Lange lever. This form was introduced in 1854 and later replaced by the mustache form of Grossmann lever, assuming the watch went through production continuously.
Right you are and thanks for pointing this out.
 

Incroyable

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Some customers apparently indeed had a favor for this type of repeater. I have an English one marked 1865 and it might be that the movement is Swiss made, although of pure English appearance.

In the 18th century they were not exactly common in England, but also not extremely rare.

Cheers, Bernhard
I wonder if they had a similar cost to a minute repeater.

Perhaps the type of person who ordered them were either horological enthusiasts or extremely conservative.
 

John Cote

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There is really an extra rack for a minute repeater. The extra repeat every 15 minutes, on this watch is actually accomplished without the typical minute rack the way I see it. So, the cost to make a minute repeater would undoubtedly be more.
 
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Tom McIntyre

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I always have thought that the Stogden half quarter repeater was a minor edit to the quarter repeater. Much less common are the presence of two teeth which becomes a 1/3 1/4 repeater which, of course, indicates 5 minutes.

I am still waiting to find out if the Patek on display in our museum that is listed as a "five minute, minute repeater" strikes like a 5 minute repeater with up to 4 additional sounds for the minutes within the 5. It seems likely it is just an error in the description but if it describes the indication of minutes within the 5 minute, it could also be the only example.
 
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mosesgodfrey

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Peter, I own an 18k hunter minute repeater with an English-style free-sprung movement. It is completely unsigned except for a little trademark no one has yet identified. The case and movement appear to be Swiss...
This one is also interesting. The stamped-over 1st serial number, double maker stamps yet both still unclear/unknown. I read "ER", which could possibly be Eugene Robert. Not J. Eugene Robert, Wittnauer's kinsman & predecessor. But a watchmaker in Chaux de Fonds, active from early 1870s until his death sometime before 1898. His specialty was repeaters.

MR1.jpg
 
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dshumans

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John's watch does have an extra rack to make the half quarter chime. It is under the quarter rack and mirrors it so it can't be seen in this picture, but in the second half of any quarter the lower rack will drop a step and cause the 4th tooth of the quarter rack to engage, which chimes an extra ding after the quarter. In the picture, the 4th tooth is extended after chiming. The next time the repeater is run, it will nestle back to match the 3rd tooth unless it's in the 2nd half of a quarter.
 

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