Need information on a pocket watch I found in a home I recently purchased. It says Rob Roskell

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Steve Davenport, Jan 2, 2020.

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  1. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

    Dec 26, 2019
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  2. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    I also forgot to mention this watch works flawlessly it loses about 2 min per hr but I don’t know anything about it’s history and hoping for help on this.
     
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  3. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #3 Keith R..., Jan 2, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
    You should show entire movement (pic#2).

    Here is an 1810 Rack lever SN# 7414.

    Steve, yours looks like SN #24328. I'll look it up. Table says Racks 1815.
    Yours will be an early cylinder for Roskell.

    Good eye........earliest cylinder is #24848 until now. See Robert Roskell
    .numbers file. I'm still looking at escape wheels for a cylinder.

    Added a Barwise cylinder 4th pic.

    Keith R...

    JJ357 (800x711) (800x711).jpg jj399 (800x690).jpg jj400 (800x600).jpg barwise5 (800x600).jpg
     
  4. Benjamin E.

    Benjamin E. Registered User
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    That is indeed a lovely watch! Robert Roskell was a watch and chronometer maker in Liverpool in the 19th century. By the looks of it, your watch has a cylinder escapement, unusual but not unheard of for Roskell. Many of his watches were rack or Massey lever watches and are well finished.
     
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  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve, and welcome to the forum,

    Robert Roskell was a well-known and respected Liverpool maker, (the abbreviated name has the final 't' as a small superscript), and this watch is a fusee with a cylinder escapement; the escape wheel is very characteristic with the teeth on stalks. This escapement was perfected by George Graham around 1726, and although it was used in many good quality English movements throughout the 18th century, it's less common to find it in a watch of this date, which is the next subject for consideration. It was a significant advance on the verge escapement when it was first introduced, and by 1815 it was beginning to be challenged by various types of lever, including rack levers patented by Peter Litherland, and detached levers made by Edward Massey and George Savage.

    The hallmarks in the case appear to show that it is 18 carat gold, assayed in the Chester office, with a date letter 'T' which could be for 1815/16 or 1837/38, the distinction being that at the earlier date the leopard's head has a crown, but by the later date that had been discarded. This mark, familiarly used as the town mark for the London assay office, was also part of the Chester mark set until 1838, a fact which has caused much confusion over time! This mark in your case is rather badly rubbed, so much so that it's difficult to tell whether he has a crown or not; this feature would normally be useful in distinguishing which date letter is appropriate, so it's necessary to look at other marks now. The other mark at the top of your picture is for the case maker, (or sponsor), and isn't at all clear. If it's 'TH' then it's probably for Thomas Helsby at Vauxhall Road, Liverpool, in use from 1793 until 1825; the 'L' underneath it doesn't seem to be part of the 'TH' mark, and indeed there are no marks in this format listed in the standard reference, (Priestley). The 'L' may be a poorly placed jointer's mark, and not part of the hallmark set at all. If this is by Helsby, the date is more likely to be 1815/16.

    On the other hand, there is a possibility that these marks are not genuine English hallmarks at all but that this is a US-made case with faux marks. There was an extensive trade in uncased watch movements between the Liverpool makers and the US, driven by US customs duties on watches in precious metal cases, which were cased on arrival. These cases are usually in no sense inferior to the English ones, but many do carry false hallmarks.

    The gold engine turned dial is very decorative, and may have hallmarks on the reverse. The hour hand may be original but the minute hand probably isn't. Hands were vulnerable, being set from the front, often by a finger instead of a key on the centre square, so replacements are commonly seen.

    It's in a pretty clean and tidy state, but it's best not to run it for too long before it's been properly cleaned and overhauled. You have a very lucky find here!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  6. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Does anyone know around what a watch like this is valued at. I’m been looking around but can’t really find any by Rob Roskell in 18k that has this movement. Anyone want to share a guess on value
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    I'm afraid values can't be discussed in this forum, but there is a 'What is it worth' section at the bottom of the main page where you can request opinions, once you've followed the instructions in the blue box. I must stress that any replies you may receive are simply opinions and must be treated as such.

    As Benjamin E points out above, Roskell cylinders are not at all common; I'm aware of only a couple, both of which happen to be repeaters.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  8. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Here is a full picture

    457E3ADE-CEE4-4172-8308-9C1B728A6EFD.jpeg
     
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  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    Even if it didn't have 'Liverpool' in the signature, its origin would be clear, with the small arrow head marks on the regulator scale, ('crow's feet'), and the floral decorations on the balance cock both being very characteristic of watches made in the region.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  10. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Here is a full shot of movement

    7E3ABFF8-C840-4922-B09E-79CA524DAC3B.jpeg
     
  11. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    I’m trying post on “ How much you think this watch is worth” forum but it will not let me post is there a reason why
     
  12. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    What is this WATCH worth?
    This forum provides a place for open discussion of the value of specific items.
    Registered message board users are free to ask questions about and offer personal opinions
    on the value of specific items.
    CLICK HERE to agree to the special Value Forum rules/disclaimers & permission to post .
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    Rob
     
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  13. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    I just want to thank everyone who has helped me. I knew nothing about this watch and now I can honestly look at it and know alot about it’s history and I thank you.
     
  14. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    The crowned Leopard's head abandoned at the Chester office in 1809/10 (Jackson's). I would put a reasonable quantity of amber nectar on this being 1815/16 and genuine.

    Great pictures Steve.
     
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  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    Yes, I agree, having seen the second set of marks inside the back lid, these are genuine English hallmarks. However, in my copy of Jackson's, (page 367), I read:

    "In 1823 the leopard's head first appears uncrowned, and thence-forward the use of Roman capital letters was continued till 1839,
    in which year the cycle ended with the letter U, and at the same time the use of the leopard's head terminated."

    Regards,


    Graham
     
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  16. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    RE, "a pocket watch I found in a home I recently purchased."

    I'm curious(I'm not questioning your integrity) was this a surprise find, did the pervious owner not know
    they left it there? Was it hidden somewhere. This is not usually something
    you hear about with a working heirloom of this quality and value.

    I only ask because you included that information in the title of your thread

    Rob
     
  17. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    I think that we go back to an earlier conversation on a different thread there Graham. I admit to having only looked at the images without referral to the text but and I concur that officially the crown was deleted in 1823. However, from 1809/10 onwards, when the elongated punch of 1806/7 appears to have been replaced, I would argue that it was all but invisible. Additionally, the leopard's head punch of 1837/38 was entirely different
     
  18. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Dave/Graham

    Ridgeway & Priestley - on the Chester Leopard's head

    'By 1794 the mark had become elongated with a narrower face, prominent ears and a larger crown. From 1799 to 1818 the form became less distinct. In 1822 the head was well made without a crown and this style continued until the mark was discontinued in 1837'

    They do however, show it being used in the assay year 5 July 1838 to 5 July 1839 in Table VII (1818 to 1839). It is similarly shown up to 1839 in all three editions of Jackson, Bradbury and Priestley that I own.

    Serial number 24423, a rack lever, is recorded in a 1815 Chester hallmarked case and 24848 is listed as a uncased cylinder movement.

    John
     
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  19. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    So it was, and in this instance the mark is sufficiently rubbed to make it very hard to tell whether the crown is present or not, which I agree isn't that easy even with clear, crisp marks of the later type.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  20. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    To answer the question in this tread I purchased a home where the whole family line had passed away and there is nobody left of that family name. Yea this was a find in the attic and I almost threw it in the trash cause I thought it was fake. But decided not to and I’m glad I didn’t. Lol. The family that lived here was from the Liverpool area I did my research on the family and they moved to US only 50 years ago but there is no one left of that family name. If there was I would return a lot of stuff left behind here in this beautiful home they built
     
  21. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Here is the other side of case

    FEFE17B1-C178-4EB5-8DC6-D6937ECAF26D.jpeg
     
  22. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hello Steve, I have just arrived back from my holidays in North Germany, and I am catching up on the topics on the board since the 26th Dec. 2019. I am sorry for those above, who did not point out there is a Robert Roskell file on this board which would have told you the date of your watch by just looking at the serial number on your watch 24228 was made in 1815. You will find that Robert Roskell used a consecutive serial number, which is very reliable, no matter what some people might tell you. The remarks by Davy G.are correct as far as the hallmarks go, and now having seen the marks on the backplate, it is quite clear your watch was made by Thomas Helsby in Liverpool 1815/16. This in total makes your watch very rare indeed, it has its original 18K gold case and the rare cylinder escapement. When you look at the Roskell file you see the earliest watch known so survive 172 A Rack lever invented by Pater Litherland and you will find the more cylinders as you look through the file. (c1800) I have attached the file for you, and later I will enjoy putting your on watch on this file,
    thank you for sharing and enjoy your watch.

    Best Wishes, Allan
     

    Attached Files:

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  23. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Post #3 Allan, welcome back.

    Keith R...
     
  24. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Thank you and to think I almost threw it in the garbage but had a feeling and kept it. Do you recommend me taking the watch to be serviced and cleaned and oiled or should I just not take the risk of someone damaging it
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    It's certainly well worth having it overhauled, but you may have trouble finding someone in your area who's willing, (and competent), to undertake this work. It isn't in any danger of disintegration as far as I can see, so take your time in the search and make sure you talk to the person actually doing the work, not the corner jeweller's shop, and getting references if possible.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  26. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hi Steve, I suggest you do nothing with the watch till you are sure you don´t want to keep it, find out all you can in the next few months, and if you do sell it. tell the buyer it needs a clean and service, collectors will understand that, and will be prepared to have it done, they know the people to go to for such a nice watch. Like Graham says, time is on your side, play it cool.

    Allan.
     
  27. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    It works great and keeps time, it’s a lil slow it lost 5 min in 12 hrs I don’t think that’s terrible. But I didn’t want to adjust anything on the slow and fast meter. I have only wound it up twice just to make sure it work. But that was before I knew exactly what it was. You guys have been great and I will post more pictures of other Roskell and Hamilton watches that I have also recently found in the house I purchased.
     
  28. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    Actually Allan, Steve has posted on the Roskell thread (#123) and received no response. As a novice he didn't immediately grasp the import of the information on the DB - he does now.

    Blywydden Newydd Dda

    (Happy New Year :emoji_thumbsup:)

    Dave
     
  29. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    That will be great, and it's best if you start a new thread for each watch, to avoid confusion!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  30. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Dave, and the same to you. I missed that post from Steve and had moved onto the pocket chronometer Travert posted. I only got back this afternoon from Norderney. Nice find though that watch and all original. I made it up later without knowing.

    Allan
     
  31. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    DaveyG I sent you a package with a few surprises in it I was going to send pics but I think that would kill the surprise it’s a couple movements and couple 18k cases but I think the surprise is in the serial numbers. I would rather someone have them that would appreciate them more than I would. And thanks. Again
     
  32. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    I have seen just on this forum the people on here are very knowledgeable and willing to help I really appreciate everything. I’ve learned a lot about this watch and a few others I have. Now I have to find out where a forum is to learn about these vintage German Cuckoo Clocks I have.
     
  33. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Maybe Blwyddyn Newydd Dda? Sorry to be picky!

    Pob hwyl.

    JTD
     
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  34. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    #34 JTD, Jan 4, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
    You can post your questions in either 'General Clock Discussions' or 'Clock Repair'.

    JTD
     
  35. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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  36. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    I have found after some looking with a magnifying lens a signature that says (Roskell) and beside it a date well I think it’s a date but it reads 23 4 16 I’m going to take it to a place that can magnify it and take pictures of it so I can post it but it’s at the bottom by hinge on outer case. Has anyone ever seen that.
     
  37. Steve Davenport

    Steve Davenport Registered User

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    Here’s a pic but not a clear one

    image.jpg
     
  38. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    These tiny scratches are very common and are repairers' marks, mostly in private codes, put there so that watchmakers can identify when they last worked on the watch and possibly referring to a work book entry. Since the codes were mostly private, they're no longer decipherable, but if yours is in clear rather than coded, it's in a minority.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  39. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    Digital dyslexia :) comes with advancing years. Not picky Rob - correct. Ond, yn Gogledd Cymru - hwyl fawr, fel arfer. ;)
     

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