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Not, M I Tobias Liverpool, not, M J Tobias Liverpool but "Morris Tobias London"?

Omexa

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Hi, I didn't pay much for this movement; it is a rather strange Bar setup with what looks like Liverpool Jewels. Was it Sold By Morris Tobias? Who Knows. Morris Tobias & Co (Biographical details)
Morris Tobias & Co (clockmaker/watchmaker; British; Male; 1792 - 1848)
Also known as
Tobias & Co; Tobias, Morris; Tobias, Michael Isaac
Address
London (Wapping) and Liverpool
Biography
Clockmakers, watchmakers, chronometer makers, silversmiths. Morris was succeeded by his nephews Levitt, Isaac and Morris.
Bibliography
Loomes, B. (2006). "Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World", N.A.G. Press, London. From British Museum. Morris Tobias Died in 1848, so is this movement from before that Date? Regards Ray 311317.jpg 311318.jpg 311319.jpg 311321.png
 

Omexa

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I found this on German Wiki, Translation:M. Tobias & Co. "M. Tobias & Co. also Morris Tobias & Co. was the company of Morris Tobias and his nephew Meyer Isaac Tobias . The company was active in London and Liverpool. In London, the store was in High Street no. 68, Wapping. In Liverpool, the company was represented at Poole Lane no. 5. Morris Tobias had already worked as a watchmaker from about 1794 , first at the Bell Dock Yard. 68, Wapping, London. The company was founded around 1800 and existed until 9 October 1810 , but it was only mentioned in the London Gazette of 1814! Both companies separated. Tobias received a patent for a dial and clock which, in addition to the time, also showed the number of GLasen. The glazing unit (30 minutes) was created on the basis of the glass body of the hourglass. Man called these watches "Tobias Binnacle Clocks", the minute hand turned round in a half hour.
Morris Tobias later became Levitt's business partner at Morris Tobias & Levitt in London, Wapping and Minories. Business partner Levitt was Lewis Levy Levitt , who existed until July 20, 1824 . Lewis Levy Levitt, actually Isaac levy came from brigton and was married to Morris Tobias sister Yetta. The company of Morris Tobias was taken over by the nephews Isaac Levitt and Morris Tobias Levitt . The company I. & MT Levitt Chronometer manufacturer in Minories has kept several pocket watches. By Morris Tobias & Levitt, a marine chronometer is known No. 104. Two eight-day marine chronometers and No. 823 and No. 1226 are signed Morris Tobias, Minories 31. Marine Chronometer no. 1344 is signed with Morris Tobias, Minories 31. Maker To The Admiralty. He is not a Morris Tobias chimetic but Morris Tobias Levitt who used the name of his uncle as a mark. The company I. & MT Levitt went bankrupt in 1861 .
Morris Tobias worked until his death in 1846 , his testament was published on December 22nd". Regards Ray
 

MartyR

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Obviously it's a Swiss watch, but a very unusual layout and one I find very attractive! The jewel collets (which look like chrome to me) suggest high quality.

Certainly Morris Tobias was a high quality maker, probably more so than his nephew, and although I haven't read of him operating as a retailer, there is no reason to believe that he didn't.

Morris operated at Wapping until about 1817, then moved to 31 Minories (City of London) until 1846. Meyer had worked with his uncle from 1804 until 1814, when he moved to Liverpool and set up his own company. Around that time Morris brought another nephew, Lewis Levitt, into his business, and Lewis in turn left the partnership to set up his own business in about 1825. Morris was born in 1762/3 and his company ceased trading in 1846 when Morris died.

Many of Morris's watches are signed simpy "Morris Tobias" amd the title "Morris Tobias & Co" would suggest that your watch would date to the period 1804 - 1824 when Morris was in partnership with Meyer, and then Lewis - although in the latter period the title of the company was "Tobias & Levitt". During that lpartnership it is possible that the "& Co" usage might have been used for imported watches. Bear in mind that the actual nomenclature used by Tobias was pretty variable, so this method of dating is not entirely reliable!

So the question is ... what is the date of your watch? Could it be as early as 1804-1824? I don't know enough about Swiss movements to suggest a date, but the movement layout is certainly one I have never seen before, and maybe it is!

Is the case gold, Ray? And does it have a dial?
 

Lychnobius

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it is interesting that the cuvette inscription on Ray's movement follows English practice in spelling DETACHED as DETACH'D; I do not remember seeing this before on a Swiss cuvette. Is this perhaps evidence, however slight, that this piece is not a commonplace 'Swiss fake' but really was sold under Tobias's patronage?

The 'binnacle clock' mentioned in the German Wikipedia article sounds like an item specifically intended for use on board ship. A sailor's spell on watch usually consisted of four hours, divided into eight half-hour portions which were called 'glasses' because they were timed by a thirty-minute sand-glass (hence the use of the word Gläser, meaning 'glasses', in the German text). As each half-hour period expired a sailor would strike the ship's bell; the number of strokes (called 'bells'), from one to eight, indicated how far the four-hour spell had progressed.

Oliver Mundy.
 

John Pavlik

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Interesting to say the least.. the binnacle clock reference is also in the NAWCC article on the Tobias family by Michael Edidin... Here are my points of interest... the pillar plate has the number 172, but the serial number appears different on the dust cap.. A usual Swiss feature is the setting on the cap jewel on the pillar plate has a plate with 1 screw... That the dial is held in the typical Swiss fashion with 2 screws, but these screws have a circular cutout to line up with the dial feet when removing..Usually these screws are just squared off.. It appears the hairspring stud is typical, but on close look, it may be a rather unique way to hold the spring. The piece holding the spring is help with a screw from the underside.. as the balance jewel setting appears to held.. the Balance cock is marked S F Hmmm... Lastly the lift spring for the dust cover has 2 screws holding it to the rim... ... Nicely blued screw heads that are not usually seen on a Swiss product.. The escapement appears to be a lever, difficult to see.. Marty The chrome reference jewel settings appears to me to be lightning.. ?? I guess what I am saying is, there appears to be some higher grade features and finish..
 

Omexa

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Hi Martin and the rest of the Crew, "Is the case gold, Ray? And does it have a dial?" I would say that the Gold Case along with the maybe Gold Dial has gone to the "Happy Hunting ground of the Scrappers". I only paid AU$29.30 for the movement as is; it has the under Dial Wheels. I have never seen anything like this movement and a search of the Internet has proved fruitless. As is, it is about American 18 size so the Case would have been a real attraction to the Gold Scrappers. It has a good Balance and will go with a bit of prompting. I could not resist it! Regards Ray
 

gmorse

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Hi John,

...It appears the hairspring stud is typical, but on close look, it may be a rather unique way to hold the spring. The piece holding the spring is help with a screw from the underside...
I'd like to see the underside of the balance cock before deciding on this; the friction fit stud is characteristically Swiss. The small motion work wheels and the Geneva stopwork on the barrel also hint at a Swiss origin. It's certainly true that there are some Lepine calibre movements known to have been made in Prescot, but I'm not convinced that this is one of them. Martin's "chrome" settings are just highlights I think.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Pavlik

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Graham,

I agree with you...Its just so Un - Swiss like in a few ways.. I too would like to see the hairspring stud, as I am only guessing.. Just seems to be a higher finish than usually seen..
 

eri231

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IMHO I have some doubt that this movement is Swiss or French.
Such great jewels I've never seen on the continent, strange. Balance counterweights have a form never seen.
Even the dial side is unusual.
Perhaps it is not French but built in England with a raw French movement.Maybe Graham's hypothesis is right?
In the second photo from the book "La Montre Francaise" a Lepine type II bis caliber.

311376.jpg

Hairspring seems to be inside the stud.
an enlargement of the escapement wheel?
311377.jpg

regards enrico
 

Omexa

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Hi, I know that "M F" does not stand for Massey Ferguson in the Pocket Watch World; someone must know who it is? Regards Ray 311375.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Enrico,

This is an illustration from the chapter by Alan Treherne in "Your Time", the publication supporting the exhibition in 2008 at the Prescot Museum, and shows a Lepine calibre frame made in Rainhill near Prescot.

Regards,

Graham 311395.jpg
 

Omexa

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Hi Graham you have got me thinking and I have been searching the internet. "Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, London, Code: mrim, 1833

Multi cocked, Lépine-type (caliber II), gilt brass cylinder movement (38mm diameter), steel escape, gold balance. Cap jewels on balance and escape. Steel spiral balance spring. Signed 'Vulliamy LONDON'. (1)
It is unusual to encounter a continental Lépine movement of this type used by an English workshop. There is a big probability that the use and the construction of this movement has been greatly influenced by Sylvain Mairet (1805 - 1890) a Swiss who in 1831 went to London and worked for B. - L. Vulliamy and for the firm of Hunt & Roskell before returning to Le Locle in 1834. He then adopted the style of Jacques - Frédéric Houriet for his own production." Published in: Clocks Magazine, June 1984
Ex private collection Vaudrey Mercer (UK)
311453.png If famous Makers like Vulliamy used Lepine II, I wonder how widespread the use was? Regards Ray
 
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DaveyG

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and for the firm of Hunt & Roskell before returning to Le Locle in 1834.
Hunt & Roskell did not exist until 1843 Ray so the above statement must be incorrect. Following the retirement of Robert Roskell Snr in that year his son (Robert Jnr) left Liverpool and joined John Samuel Hunt in partnership.
 

Omexa

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Hi DaveyG, I wondered about that, maybe they (Published in: Clocks Magazine, June 1984) transposed the 4 and 3 by mistake when typing.
Hunt & Roskell did not exist until 1843 Ray so the above statement must be incorrect. Following the retirement of Robert Roskell Snr in that year his son (Robert Jnr) left Liverpool and joined John Samuel Hunt in partnership.
What do you think of my Strange movement? Regards Ray
 

DaveyG

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I don't know Ray, that's why I haven't chimed in. Any one of the speculative comments could be the right one - but whoever made it did a good job.

From the British Museum:

Watchmaker, born in Les Ponts. He studied Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics with Mathurin Bresson in Le Locle. Between 1831 and 1834 he lived and worked in London making watches for Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy. He then returned to Le Locle where he set up a workshop making very high grade watches to his own designs. He invented a double-stem winding system.
 

MartyR

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There is no doubt that English makers made Lepine calibre movements; here is an example by James McCabe dated 1827.

But is there any reason why Morris Tobias would make such a watch? My understanding, from Edidin's article, is that he was largely concentrating on marine chronometers in the first quarter of the 19th century, although also making some pocket watches - but why would he move away from more "standard" designs?
 

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Omexa

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Hi Martin, you could ask the same question about your James McCabe? He also made Chronometers. Regards Ray
but why would he move away from more "standard" designs?
 
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MartyR

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Hi Martin, you could ask the same question about your James McCabe? He also made Chronometers. Regards Ray
But McCabe's main concentration was on pocket watches - I know of only two chronometers he ever made, although I guess he did make a few more than that.

Also McCabe is famous for his roving mind, always seeking to do something new. He made duplexes, Savages and Lepines, he made a variety of movement plate patterns all around the same period, he used a variety of regulators, he used silver, gold and enamel dials of great variety.

I'm not saying that Mrris Tobias didn't have a roving mind ... I'm just saying that I don't think he was known for that.
 

novicetimekeeper

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But McCabe's main concentration was on pocket watches - I know of only two chronometers he ever made, although I guess he did make a few more than that.

Also McCabe is famous for his roving mind, always seeking to do something new. He made duplexes, Savages and Lepines, he made a variety of movement plate patterns all around the same period, he used a variety of regulators, he used silver, gold and enamel dials of great variety.

I'm not saying that Mrris Tobias didn't have a roving mind ... I'm just saying that I don't think he was known for that.
On another part of the MB McCabe is known for his clocks, rather than as a watchmaker. He and his descendants made substantial numbers of them and always high quality. Roskell's name also appears on a fair few clocks but I've never seen a Tobias.
 

DaveyG

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Ray, given that your research has led you to Sylvain Mairet and that the connection has been made, for unknown reasons, with Hunt & Roskell, I wonder if he supplied Hunt & Roskell from Le Locle. It is my belief that Hunt & Roskell were jewellers and goldsmiths and not watchmakers in any capacity; they did however, retail watches from a large variety of sources. If he was supplying Hunt & Roskell is it reasonable to conjecture that he also supplied Morris Tobias? As Martin points out, Tobias' efforts after c1820 were reportedly concentrated on the making of marine chronometers, but the Edidin article does point to him making some watches, although he says that he did not 'produce or sell many watches after 1825'. Those that he did sell are reported to be in two serial number batches #1852 to #2657 and #5333 to #8052. The serial number on your watch falls into the bracket of the second group defined by Edidin.

I understand that serial numbers are, generally, an unreliable source but - just a thought. There, I have entered the world of speculation :chuckling: I will leave it to you and your terrier like research brain to follow up on that if you wish :)
 

DaveyG

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I should have added that the only dated watch within the second serial number batch in the previous post, is in a case dated for 1847 which is after Morris Tobias' death in 1846. However, contrary to Martin's view, Edidin indicates that the marine chronometer business was bequeathed to his two great nephews Isaac Levitt and Morris Tobias Levitt and they continued the business until c1861, signing the firm's work Morris Tobias until some time in the 1850's
 

Omexa

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Omexa

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Hi, it is finally on its way to me and maybe my curiosity will be sated. I still do not know who or what "M F" stands for but all comes to him-her who tries. (Maybe) Regards Ray
311374.png
 

MartyR

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Could that possibly be for Montandon Freres? Did they make "ebauches" for Tobias?
 

Omexa

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Hi Martin, could be, I am not sure when Montandon Freres started? Did they make Lepine II movements? I think that Montandon Freres was a collection of Watchmakers? Regards Ray
Montandon Freres
 

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