No, this is no fake watch from the 18th century, but a real "Caspari, Leyden"

Bernhard J.

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Hi All,

Here is a watch purchased just recently. :excited:It is not English, but I can justify this somehow ... :D.

Often discussed are watches with apparent English signatures, which in fact have been made on the continent, presumably mainly by the Swiss. And are aimed not to the English market, but others, like Holland, and implementing typical "Netherlands" style features on dial and movement.

Now here is a very rarely seen real watch from the Netherlands, presumably made around 1740-1750. I still need to research the maker. The quality of make is imo exceptional. The price was very moderate, perhaps because most collectors turn away upon first glance and think "Bah, and another of these awfull fakes". But see yourselves.

I believe that this is fully authentic, including original cases and hands.

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John Matthews

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Here's a possible start ...

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If so I think date a little later as suggested by the seller.

John
 

Bernhard J.

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The dating is my guess, the seller dated it later. Since I am no expert in watches from this region, I might be wrong. But the style of the movement would seem quite old fashioned if it was made in the 1770s or even later. This weekend I will strole through my library.

Cheers, Bernhard

P.S.: The person of your link seems to have had a son with the same name, being born 1779. The archives, however, have nothing about his father and mother, and it is not unlikely that the father might also have been named Hermanus.
 
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Bernhard J.

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Dates given on ebay..

Oignon Repousse SPINDELTASCHENUHR um 1760-1780 HERMANUS CASPARI

John
Yes, I should review descriptions once more before posting, I corrected my posting ;).

Dating by vendors rarely is correct in my experience (but may be in this case), often 50-100 years off. Nice example was my Knox clock, where the vendor thought it to be mid 1800s. It actually is about 1760.

P.S.: I do not mind, if it is from about 1780 "only", the quality of the movement decoration is nevertheless outstanding :cool:. I agree that the repousee would suggest around 1770.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Bernhard,

I wonder if this gentleman set out to confuse 21st century watch collectors with this homage piece?

The last watch I handled with a false pendulum was made around 1715.

Regards,

Graham
 
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VinSer

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Very nice watch congratulation :)

Ciao
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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I have been looking at mock pendulum watches since you posted Bernard. It looks like they were first seen at the end of the 1600s, and most are early 1700s. Another thing I noticed about these watches, was, they had the pendulum on the dial, and very few indeed had the pendulum on the inner cock like yours. The one above is an English watch by May of London c1720. It does look like your Dutchman made his a little later, one thing is sure it is not a fake, and probably made for someone who asked for this type of watch, and It is a superb example. People in England were still buying verge watches as late as the 1850s, probably from Vale & Rotherham.

Allan.

PS; There is always Reinard Meis´s "Taschenuhren" there are three or four in there.
 

VinSer

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Actually mock pendula on the inside of the watch were a very usual feature of dutch watches starting in 1720 until 1770: when the opening for the false pendulum has the shape of a kidney, the coq is known as a Rotterdam coq; normally a motto is present on the lower side of the opening.

The mock pendulum was so popular that it is present also in Swiss watches for the Dutch market.

If you are interested in Dutch watches there are two books I can advice:

- Hollandse Horloges from Cees Peeters; and

- Horloges van Nederlandse Uurwerkmakers from John Beringen

Ciao
 

Bernhard J.

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Actually mock pendula on the inside of the watch were a very usual feature of dutch watches starting in 1720 until 1770: when the opening for the false pendulum has the shape of a kidney, the coq is known as a Rotterdam coq; normally a motto is present on the lower side of the opening
Yes, this also my state of knowledge.

What makes this watch imo different from the "average" dutch or dutch style Swiss watch is the superior execution of the pierced portions on the top plate. Absolutely above average and this, aside the applications to the pillars, immediately caught my attention. See in particular the last photo.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

John Matthews

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The verge escapement is clearly English and not continental.
Bernard given you have the watch in hand would like to speculate as to the origin of each component and the manufacturing journey it might have been through, i.e. as to the manufacture of the frame, verge escapement, train, components of the back plate, engraving, cases ( are there any marks?) and dial.

John
 

Bernhard J.

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Hi John,

I have it in hands.

I speculate that a lot looks very English, the frame, the escapement, the setup of the barrel (this tangential worm-like screw for setting the barrel arbor under load, I do not know the appropriate English term), the escapement, the train.

Not English look the balance bridge (of course), the simple square pillars with the fancy applications, the pierced cover of the top plate.

Without taking the movement apart, I do not see any marks. The cases both are not marked in any way.

Comparing with an English watch of about 1765 from my collection showns that the train and the pillars are arranged very similar. But the height of the movement is higher, a total (without dial and dial plate) being about 20 mm.

In total, it might well be that the frame and the complete train were made in England.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

novicetimekeeper

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John May was of Dutch extraction. I have a longcase by him with Dutch striking.
 

John Matthews

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Bernard

The fancy applications on the pillars, I have seen before on watches dating from 1730 to 1760. All, shall we say 'with continental influences', most frequently in the style of the dial. The use of silver for the cock and the pillar appendages, is not uncommon. At this time some English makers, notably Ellicott, were known for their elaborate pillars, of a pattern not dis-similar to this movement. They were made from a single piece of brass.

John
 
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novicetimekeeper

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And what does that suggest in respect to the Dutch Caspari watch (sorry for being obtuse)?
It adds to post #13 above where the watch by John May was described as English, but much of John May's output was heavily influenced by his Dutch background. He collaborated with some of the best of Dutch makers.
 
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Bernhard J.

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I am glad that the rule changes were applied only recently. Because otherwise someone else could have already posted the then active offer on this watch, and the seller might not have responded positively to my quite cheeky offer, the acceptance of which actually surprised me ...

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This weekend I will try to make nice detail photos for posting here. I get excited every time I look at the movement :excited:. Accuracy is within about two minutes per day (dial up).

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Incroyable

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Bernard

The fancy applications on the pillars, I have seen before on watches dating from 1730 to 1760. All, shall we say 'with continental influences', most frequently in the style of the dial. The use of silver for the cock and the pillar appendages, is not uncommon. At this time some English makers, notably Ellicott, were known for their elaborate pillars, of a pattern not dis-similar to this movement. They were made from a single piece of brass.

John
Would those be the Egyptian pillars?
 

gmorse

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Hi Jeffery,
Are the silver parts sterling silver or steel?
They're probably silver, although not necessarily sterling purity. Steel would be harder to make and subject to corrosion. These applied pieces look as though they were cast and then tidied up.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Bernhard J.

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Correct Graham, indeed probably cast, and silver (of unknown grade).

Remarkable is that each one is different. What an effort, if not more than one watch like this was made.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

gmorse

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Hi Bernhard,

Casting small one-off pieces like this would be a routine task for a silversmith, probably using simple sand-casting.

Regards,

Graham
 
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John Matthews

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Bernard/Graham

It appears to me that these silver appendages have the characteristics of sand castings that have been little worked. I suspect that many sand moulds were formed from ’well defined masters’. I wonder if the masters might have been original brass pillars etc.

John
 
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Incroyable

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There must be a high percentage of other metals in these silver castings since they don't seem to tarnish.

I've noticed regulator scales on high grade English watches also seem to be made out of this silver alloy.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Jeffery,
I wonder if this would have been a separate task than the casemaker?
Most case makers would have been able to do this themselves, but I expect that this work could also be bought in from other silversmiths. It would come down to economics mostly.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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There must be a high percentage of other metals in these silver castings since they don't seem to tarnish.
I would anticipate the silver content would be less than Sterling and a lower silver content will slow tarnishing but remember tarnishing will be inhibited inside the case(s) due to less exposure to the atmosphere. I don't know whether silver alloys used in casting at the time this movement was decorated, used additional elements to improve the casting properties. In more recent times trace amounts of silicon and boron are used. Zinc which improves fluidity and acts as a deoxidiser, I suspect the advantages of zinc will have been known.

John
 

gmorse

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Hi John,
Zinc which improves fluidity and acts as a deoxidiser, I suspect the advantages of zinc will have been known.
I wonder whether at this relatively early date, zinc would have been added as a metal or as the ore, calamine, (zinc carbonate), since zinc's melting and boiling points are so low, so direct smelting wasn't developed until later. Early brass was certainly produced by this method.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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Hi Graham

You caused me to do some checking. Although ~200BC the Romans were heating zinc oxide with charcoal in crucibles, to produce zinc vapour that was 'disolved' by copper to produce brass in significant quantities, it appears that the pyro-metallurgical process of obtaining metallic zinc commercially, was not discovered until much later (C14th), it was imported into Europe from India and China by C16th. A works using a vertical retort was erected in 1740s in Bristol by J Champion to extract zinc from calamine. I have not discovered whether the Romans obtained the oxide by roasting carbonate or from the more common suphide (ZnS - sphalerite).

So given the knowledge of forming brass by the reaction of zinc vapour and copper from BC times, I would have thought that the process would also have been tried with other metals, including silver.

I had read that the oxidation of silver was caused by the presence of copper in the alloy.
Yes, I have also seen this, I was reminded of the appearance of over polished silver plate.

Here is a conservator's explanation Tarnishing of Silver: A Short Review.

John
 
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gmorse

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Hi John,

I was surprised to see the Silver Dip mentioned as a conservation material; if it's the same as some I still have, (but don't use any more), it contains thiourea, a substance which some conservation workers have deprecated as having undesirable effects, such as degradation of the surfaces.

The coppery appearance on solid silver can be due to fire-staining, caused by migration of copper to the surface after soldering. On old Sheffield plate it's just the copper substrate showing through.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Incroyable

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Hi John,

I was surprised to see the Silver Dip mentioned as a conservation material; if it's the same as some I still have, (but don't use any more), it contains thiourea, a substance which some conservation workers have deprecated as having undesirable effects, such as degradation of the surfaces.

The coppery appearance on solid silver can be due to fire-staining, caused by migration of copper to the surface after soldering. On old Sheffield plate it's just the copper substrate showing through.

Regards,

Graham
I'm always surprised how watchmakers on Youtube use the tinfoil and baking soda method to clean silver cases. From what I understand this is one of the worst ways to clean old silver.

Antique silver dealers tell me that something like Goddard's silver foam or one of those colored polishing cloths is ideal since overpolishing actually removes the metal. This is why antique silver often have very faint hallmarks or faded monograms: over enthusiastic polishing by past owners or more likely their servants.

Another thing is that these dip methods remove all tarnish which makes the entire thing too shiny. The appeal of antique silver is the contrast of the oxidation in the nooks and crannies.

Some people also advocate the use of Renaissance Wax to prevent tarnishing.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Jeffery,

Goddard's SIlver Foam removes the tarnish, which is mostly silver sulphide with some other compounds, auto-electrolysis just converts the silver sulphide. As far as I know, neither method 'polishes' by removing metallic silver, in fact it's important to make the distinction between cleaning and polishing. I don't like over-polished cases, but there's a difference between that and a clean case; when the cases were made, they were certainly polished, but years of handling have left a soft glow which is certainly attractive, but I'm afraid I don't regard any black sulphides as part of the attraction. I don't use the term 'patina' because I feel it's widely misunderstood and misused.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Incroyable

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Hi Jeffery,

Goddard's SIlver Foam removes the tarnish, which is mostly silver sulphide with some other compounds, auto-electrolysis just converts the silver sulphide. As far as I know, neither method 'polishes' by removing metallic silver, in fact it's important to make the distinction between cleaning and polishing. I don't like over-polished cases, but there's a difference between that and a clean case; when the cases were made, they were certainly polished, but years of handling have left a soft glow which is certainly attractive, but I'm afraid I don't regard any black sulphides as part of the attraction. I don't use the term 'patina' because I feel it's widely misunderstood and misused.

Regards,

Graham
The silver expert Jeffrey Herman regards all these dips as well as the auto-electrolysis method as dangerous; they apparently etch the silver from the copper present in the alloy which causes surface damage and pitting:


I suppose there are different schools of thought on "patina"; some dealers/collectors seem to prefer leave a bit of tarnish in the crevices to accentuate the designs.

I own a tall Edwardian period solid sterling silver table lamp in the shape of a Corinthian column that seems to look more attractive with a bit of sulphide in the crevices than without though I do prefer a completely clean surface for 18th century silver flatware and things like tumblers.
 

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