Minute repeater

jelly1960

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Anyone able to tell me anything about this minute repeater I'm pretty much set on buying?

The movement and dial are unsigned. There is no serial number or other mark. Not able to take the dial off and see what's behind it.
I've seen plenty very similar online. It seems closest to a Le Coultre or a Vacheron. There are very similar models by Jurgensen, but as you can see this does not have the Jurgensen bow for setting the hands, but a large button instead.
Jurgensen did seem to use the Breguet/moon hands.
The winding gear has wolf's teeth and the hammers are jewelled.

Also of interest is the second hand which combines with a date.
I've not seen one like this before.

The case is likewise unsigned, but says 18K and .750

The watch is somewhat beyond my normal price range, so I thought I would see if anyone had any useful information, particularly as to the maker. I'm told the watch is working perfectly and chiming correctly.
 

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MartyR

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I've definitely seen that movement layout before - several times - and I think LeCoultre or Vacheron is a fair bet!

On the other hand I have never seen a combined subsidiary seconds and calendar dial before. I thnk that is a brilliant solution to the problem of taking up space on a dial for a calendar, and I suspect that must be genuinely rare.
 

jelly1960

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Thanks Marty.
I've seen an almost identical movement bearing the name Tiffany, Geneve.
You don't happen to know who supplied Tiffany do you?
 

Nachtmotte

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Like many other brands, also VACHERON CONSTANTIN and PATEK PHILIPPE ordered raw movements from LeCoultre & Cie. Some little changes according to the style/wish of the clients might be seen, but the base is undoubtful made in Le Sentier. TIFFANY watches got mostly the inscription on the movements "Made by xxx for Tiffany".
The combination of the small second together with a date was done by a module, which was made - I assume, by another company / artist like Piguet or Golay.

This movement calibre is a LeCoultre calibre 42 (produced in 1897 and 1899):

lecoultre-42_1.jpg lecoultre-42_2.jpg

Here the old image from an original LeCoultre & Cie catalogue from 1899:
lecoultre-42_3.jpg

The maker of this minute repeater came from west or south switzerland (geneva). The finish is definately extra fine with its red gold wheels and the woolf tooth train wheels. Very nice indeed.

My best regards
Antonios
 

hornbee

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so I thought I would see if anyone had any useful information, particularly as to the maker.
A fine battle it was :)

Some significant details are unclear on all photos (including yours newly taken), nevertheless I participated, too, having certain confidence the movement was made by Louis Audemars.
LeCoultre's ebauches and complete movements look less elegant usually.

Any numbers on the case (besides that four-digit on the inner side of cuvette)?
I guess, you yet to look under the dial...
Close-up photo of the pallet fork may also help.

Your movement dates likely to 1870s - early 1880s. Much earlier than a suggested Lecoultre ebauche.
 
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jelly1960

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Antonios, many thanks!

Amazing information. Really fantastic to be able to tap into this enormous wealth of knowledge.
Hopefully when I have acquired the watch I will be able to post some better quality pictures, maybe even an mpg of the chime.

Very kind regards

Jeremy
 

jelly1960

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Thanks for the reply, Hornbee.

I don't actually own the watch... yet.

I wanted to see if I could identify the maker.
By comparison the closest I could see was Le Coultre, and you'll see that Nachmotte opts for that make and even has a calibre, 42.

I won't be taking the dial off anytime soon, but hopefully when I've acquired the watch I'll be able to post some clear photos.

Kind regs.

Jeremy
 

Nachtmotte

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Dear Jeremy,
you´re welcome! Unfortunately without any inscriptions on the movement side, nor the case or dial, there's only assumption according to our knowledge and experience to identify the maker. But as fas as I can say, some details of the maker where hidden either under a bridge, hammer or at the dial side under the sensitive dial. Better not touch the dial... Keep a service with cleaning and oiling - that's it. Don't risk too much. A cracked dial is mostly a sad end and we don't want this.

@ hornbee,
perhaps I've explained not well about the source of this pocket watch: the base movement was definately either from LeCoultre Borgeaud et Cie (1869-1874) or LeCoultre & Cie (1874-). In both companies the client LOUIS AUDEMARS was mentioned (source Francois Jequier "De la forge à la manufacture horlogère no.73, p.631). That no maker was mentioned is for specialists like us of course a nice challenge, but not a battle, as you mentioned.
I do agree with your opinium, that the finish quality of Jeremy's watch is high, but LeCoultre was - in my opinium, 99 percent the source of this movement. Some parts were a little bit different than this image from 1899. In some cases LeCoultre produced also finished movements, according to their client orders without mentioning of LeCoultre. In that case it would be smart to cross check under the little hammers. If it was from LeCoultre you might see there "LeCoultre", or under the dial. Sometimes under a bridge, but herefor you've to dismantle the movement, risky, isn`t? I won't propose this.
As you surely know, before the swiss patent office was present, many swiss makers were producing similar movement layouts/watch plate design. Swiss watch makers, moved to the US were protecting their inventions with the US patent office. In many cases of them also within europe or switzerland. But not all were able to afford that costy procedere. This mixing of swiss movement layouts makes mostly headaches to identify quiet well, who was the real producer - before the swiss patent department was founded in 1888.
LeCoultre & Cie produced their calibre 42 in 1897 and 1899 (source Jaeger-LeCoultre). Before, there were similar calibre types, but Jaeger-LeCoultre keeps their clients and informations secret till today. But this company was the biggest producer and turntable for watch movements. Please keep this in mind that this company isn't called without reason "the company with over 1.200 different calibre types". Have a look into their amazing museum in Le Sentier: your eyes will be wide opened and the only sound you might make will be "A-haaaa..., I know this calibre type!"
I always welcome your experience to identify this wonderful movement together. Yassou!
My best regards
Antonios
 
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MartyR

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Jelly, I suspect this is a quite unnecessary warning but ... let me echo Antonios' warrning not to remove the dial. I said earlier that the combined seconds/dial is at the least highly unusual, if not close to unique, and you might cause irreparable damage in removing those two hands and the dial. Assuming that you do buy this wonderful piece ;) and if you decide to have it serviced, I think you should have that done by the very best repairer you can find and ask him to attempt to remove the dial :D

If you decide on that, I can recommend someone whom I would absolutely trust with that task.
 

Nachtmotte

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MartyR hit the nail on its head: this combination of a small second and a date makes this pocket watch very interesting. At the same time, the circle of possible makers might be found easier out of the reason for its extra ordinary technic. Let's hope.

Meanwhile I've found some pocket watches in the book from Hartmut Zantke "Louis-Benjamin Audemars" with a combination of a small second together with a termometer, jumping second ("seconde foudroyante") or a moon scale, made by the brothers Julien, Hector and Adolphe Audemars (1860-1870). But no combination like Jeremy's pocket watch. The finished work from the Piguet side should have more attention.

If it was from the house of Louis Audemars, you might find an Audemars counterpoised lever (bishop's crook shape). Hallmarks were found mostly under the dial. Another criteria for an Audemars build or finished movement is the longer fixing block for the chiming gongs. LeCoultre used smaller ones.

Piguet finished repeater movements (Les fils de Victorin Piguet) have sometimes a small hallmark "Piguet" under this fixing block for the chiming gongs. The length for that fixing block was almost the same as from Audemars. Don't forget Aubert frères...

Coming back to the 1870s: in that time the company Louis Audemars bought raw movements from LeCoultre (copied from Audemars calibre) out of an economically reason: 10,- Swiss francs for a LeCoultre build movement or 40,- Swiss francs, build by Audemars themselves (source Hartmut Zantke, "Louis-Benjamin Audemars", p.118). Remember, the families Audemars and LeCoultre where related with each others by marriage.

Enough brainstorming... I hope that Jeremy will have a lot of joy with this very interesting piece!
Many regards
Antonios
 
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hornbee

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That no maker was mentioned is for specialists like us of course a nice challenge, but not a battle, as you mentioned.
Antonios, my remark about "battle" was clearly addressed to Jeremy alone (as I cited him) and his story of obtaining this watch.
It has nothing to do with your efforts on movement identification.
Pretty amazed how one could find a basis to think otherwise.

perhaps I've explained not well about the source of this pocket watch: the base movement was definately either from LeCoultre Borgeaud et Cie (1869-1874) or LeCoultre & Cie (1874-). In both companies the client LOUIS AUDEMARS was mentioned (source Francois Jequier "De la forge à la manufacture horlogère no.73, p.631).
Maison Louis Audemars certainly was Lecoultre's client for simpler products but not in case of repeaters and complicated movements.
(Source: Notice historique sur la Maison Ls.Audemars du Brassus par Louis Audemars-Valette (1922), p46 within the book "The Story of Louis Audemars & Cie" published by Paul Audemars).

Please keep this in mind that this company isn't called without reason "the company with over 1.200 different calibre types"
Thank you for ministrations, although, sorry, I can't say they open something new to me. Among my favourite horological readings are the archives of Revue Chronometrique and Journal Suisse d'Horlogerie (XIX century magazines, as you may aware). I find them a better source of information than retellings of contemporary authors.

Until receiving additional information (which I required above) from Jeremy, there could be only devinations about the movement maker. No trouble to name additional makers of the repeater ebauches lesser known to the wide public - say, de Rochat - but this name juggling brings little help to the matter.
 
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Nachtmotte

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Until receiving additional information (which I required above) from Jeremy, there could be only devinations about the movement maker. No trouble to name additional makers of the repeater ebauches lesser known to the wide public - say, de Rochat - but this name juggling brings little help to the matter.
Indeed! I totally agree on that.

By the way, the maison Audemars with their inventions in calendar watches is very close to the makers source (Source: Notice historique sur la Maison Ls.Audemars du Brassus par Louis Audemars-Valette (1922), p.55 within the book "The Story of Louis Audemars & Cie" published by Paul Audemars). I´ll check for more sources, including contemporary types about those calendar developments with double hands. I´m sure that this double hand will be found. Perhaps through a patent, who knows. The houses of the Audemars and of the Piguets would be in the closer focus.
My best regards
Antonios
 

jelly1960

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Dear Marty,

After weeks of protracted negotiations I have finally acquired the repeater.
The repeat mechanism is working well, but the watch is running about 15 minutes an hour slow.
The guy I bought it from warned me of that before I bought it, but it's such a magnificent watch that I couldn't resist it.
It's running so slow that I wonder if the hands are loose. It doesn't seem to matter if it is lying on its back or upright.

When we last spoke back in March you said you might be able to recommend someone capable of working on this kind of watch.
I'm guessing that it probably hasn't been serviced in 20 or even 50 years, so it may be time to spend a little money on it.
Who did you have in mind?

Meanwhile here's some more photos.

DSCF0265[1].jpg DSCF0270[1].jpg DSCF0276[1].jpg
 

Audemars

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Just picked up on this thread.
1) If ever the dial is removed - and I fully endorse all the warnings in relation to that - and a serial number is disclosed, I may be able to find it in the Louis Audemars archive, which as you all know is not complete. I see a reference earlier in the thread to a number on the cuvette - ?
Are there any markings anywhere which might indicate the buyer?
2) I cannot see clearly if the centre pivot is fixed by a "cotter" pin, or not, which is said to be one of the indications of a Louis Audemars product.
3) In a movement of this quality, I would like to see a - typically Louis Audemars - "internal" click in the winding train; but as you all know I am NOT an expert. I really need a serial number.
But, whatever, it is very very pretty.
Congratulations.
Enjoy.
Paul
www.audemars.co.uk
 
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jelly1960

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Paul,

The outer covers and the cuvette are all marked with the number 2377. Apart from the 18C and 0,755 marks, nothing else.
The front cover has a monogram JAW, but no way of telling if this was the original owner.

Apart from "Fast/Slow" on the regulator there are no visible numbers or letters on the movement at all. Not under the hammers either.

The centre jewel is held in place with a cotter pin.

I'm hoping to get it looked at (by Richard Stenning on your recommendation) so I will ask him to look out for any markings under the dial.

It's a handsome beast, but until it starts keeping good time my joy has to be a little subdued.

Thanks for the info once again.

Jeremy
 

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