Marine Centre Second English Fusee

peter2shea

Registered User
Aug 12, 2007
37
0
0
Sunny South Cental PA
Country
Region
Pictured is an inside back lid of a silver case that houses a Marine Centre Second Chronometer. It seems to be about a 18-20 S, and I believe, 11 J. and has a English Fusee/English lever escapement. The movement and case number are both- 281860.

Is it possible to to determine the maker and date and Thanks!!
 

Attachments

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
6,422
820
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
A better view of the hall marks woudl help but 1879 looks like a good possibility.

The center seconds layout was attractive because the seconds hand is always visble instead of being obscured by other hands at 5:30 for example.

If is is fusee lever it would not have been marked chronometer by any English maker.

The large size and mass of a center seconds hand may have prevented it from becoming widely used.

To guess the maker we would need to see the movement and perhaps some very detailed pictures at that.

It could have been made in England or Switzerland.

One likely possibility is that it was a fore runner of the chronograph. There were a lot of center seconds, large English watches made with start and stop devices. They are often incorrectly called chronometers, instead of chronographs, although they really are not chronographs either. The start and stop feature is called hacking (It predates the computer usage) in modern usage. Key wound fusee versions of these are unusual but this is more likely than it being a marine chronometer

If it is one of these, it will be near impossible ot determine its maker, unless some one viewing this board has a similar one that is signed.

A few photos of quality similar to those posted already will determine whether its a more common "hacking" center seconds watch.
 
Last edited:

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,510
142
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
I would say that the hallmarks indicate that the case was assayed in Chester in the period 1887/88. The sponsor's mark seems rubbed but a clearer view of that would lend clarity, although there is no other Chester mark similar within the likely time frame for the watch. They were produced and were popular in the UK over the period (roughly) 1880 to 1910. Some were good quality but most were average and many of the Swiss made ones downright poor.

As Dr Jon says your watch from this period can not truly be described as a chronometer if it has an English lever escapement. I see many of these fairly basic centre seconds 'chronographs' touted on ebay as deck watches or marine chronometers when they are neither. Beware of anything from the Balkans!

With regards to the maker, presuming that it isn't signed, then it may be possible to determine that by removing the dial where there are often initials stamped and this can provide a clue.

I've attached some pictures below, the first two are of one of the better quality watches of this type, by Hargreaves of Liverpool whilst on the third picture you will see from the stamps under the dial that this is a 22 size watch, #89172; the second figure 2 indicates the pillar height and at the top, inverted, you should be able to see the letters SY stamped. This indicates that the watch was made by Samuel Yeomans of Coventry.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

MartyR

Registered User
Dec 16, 2008
11,072
337
83
UK
Country
Peter, it's very difficult to read those hallmarks, but it looks to me like Chester and 1887. But that town mark might just be Newcastle (three castle towers) as opposed to Chester (three wheatsheaves).

I simply cannot make anything out of the maker's mark, so if you can describe that very carefully (the letters, the dots if any and the shape of the surrounding cartouche) then I can look it up.
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
6,422
820
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
Its is center seconds hacking watch. That small thing on the case slides back and forth to stop and start the watch.

Its a good quality watch but it is not a marine chronometer.

It could be used as a comparing watch, to carry time from a real marine chronometer out to the deck where sun or stars measurements were made.

This does not require as accurate a watch, but the British Navy used much better than yours for watches for this.

Yours is a nice one and unusual to find in a fusee version.
 

peter2shea

Registered User
Aug 12, 2007
37
0
0
Sunny South Cental PA
Country
Region
Here are additional pictures of the Marine Centre Seconds Fusee.

The CASE MAKER'S MARK appears to be an oval with the letters- JH. The STANDARD MARK looks like a lion looking to the left, within an oval. The ASSAY OFFICE MARK is three mushrooms ? surrounding a cross within a shield which could denote Chester. The DATE LETTER MARK is the capital letter- D, contained within a rectangle.

Thanks again!!
 

Attachments

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,510
142
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
Peter,

Hallmarks definitely for Chester (3 wheatsheaves with a central sword) and the date 1887/88. The case sponsor's mark looks to be J.H and that is most likely to be for Jesse Hallam, 24 Hertford Place, Coventry, the mark first registered at Chester in 1876. There is a possibility, with the rubbed marks, that it could be I.H. The watch itself is most likely to be Coventry made and the little clue for that is the star shaped motif at the middle of the regulator index, which is generally accepted as a mark of Coventry work, although not a dead cert.

Nice watch and unusual to be marked Marine like that. I wonder, with the Chester hallmarks, if it was retailed in Liverpool which was a major maritime centre in the 1880's whereas Coventry is about as far away from the sea as you can get (here). I have to disagree with Dr Jon about one thing, not unusual to find these as a fusee, certainly in the UK although possibly less common in the USA. Certainly the Royal Navy would not have used a piece like this, but the mercantile marine, where officers were expected to buy there own equipment, may well have used such a watch just as Dr Jon says.
 

MartyR

Registered User
Dec 16, 2008
11,072
337
83
UK
Country
There is a possibility, with the rubbed marks, that it could be I.H.
I don't think the maker's mark has been rubbed, I think the lower part of the mark has somehow been pushed upwards. The J has been distorted, as has the H, and the period has been pushed upward. I've never seen anything like that before :eek: Anyway, I think it's definitely J.H for Jesse Hallam.
 

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,510
142
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
A mark (usually) that has been worn or 'rubbed' by cleaning/polishing.
 

peter2shea

Registered User
Aug 12, 2007
37
0
0
Sunny South Cental PA
Country
Region
In the process of rebluing I ruined the second hand. I found a replacement but the center hub turned out to be way too short to make a connection to the second pinion. The previous second hand hub had a length/depth of 6 mm. Is there a recommendation for a person/source that could helpful with the tail end of this project?

This watch has been in the family for at least 50 years. Before I started collecting pocket watches, I thought it belonged to my Grandfather Shea who was a Yale graduate of Electrical Engineering and worked for the PRR. He worked on both the Philadelphia and Enola Freight Yards.

Thanks very much for all of your help,

Pete
 

Forum statistics

Threads
165,499
Messages
1,440,674
Members
86,270
Latest member
Nacht Kreatur
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre