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Oliver Cromwell Attributed Watches & Makers

aucaj

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Feb 2, 2021
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I recently acquired a scrap movement by Jacob Collomby (serial number 434). According to Britten, he supposedly produced a watch owned by Oliver Cromwell (Ambrose Phelps). This seems impossible considering that Collomby's years of operation would've been too late. This seems further supported by the example shown below.

I am curious to know the origin of the claim that Collomby made a Cromwell watch. However, I haven't been able to find any original reference other than Britten and a Cromwellian Society document that supports my original assessment.
http://www.olivercromwell.org/Cromwelliana_Archive/2004.pdf (page 102)
Please does any one have further information on which particular watch was associated with this claim?
Any further information on Jacob Collomby?


There seem to be a few watches that were claimed to have been owned by Oliver Cromwell. I am curious how many are authentic and how many are simply incorrect claims by past owners wishing for some notoriety tied to their collection pieces?


Then I came across this recent article that seems to identify a watch with the most supporting evidence as having been owned by Cromwell. In fact, I remember bidding when this watch was auctioned a few years ago. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive my attempts to acquire it.


Regards,
Chris

1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG
 

jboger

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I see you wrote the following:

"In fact, I remember bidding when this watch was auctioned a few years ago. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive my attempts to acquire it."

It's good to exercise caution sometimes; you wouldn't want to lose your head just because a watch may have been owned by Oliver Cromwell at one time.
 
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aucaj

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I see you wrote the following:

"In fact, I remember bidding when this watch was auctioned a few years ago. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive my attempts to acquire it."

It's good to exercise caution sometimes; you wouldn't want to lose your head just because a watch may have been owned by Oliver Cromwell at one time.
I see you wrote the following:

"In fact, I remember bidding when this watch was auctioned a few years ago. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive my attempts to acquire it."

It's good to exercise caution sometimes; you wouldn't want to lose your head just because a watch may have been owned by Oliver Cromwell at one time.
I completely agree and I am very conservative in my bidding. I was just surprised to learn that an "expert" evaluation has put its value due to the association with Cromwell to be £180,000 which is ten times the previous purchase price! I will be interested to see if another collector would be willing to lose their head over it at that extraordinary price.
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Chris,

Consider this; Cromwell died in 1658, and the balance spring was introduced around 1675, so the watch in your first post, with its evident spring stud is an obvious mismatch. Even if it was converted later in its life to a balance spring, the whole style of it says second quarter of the 18th century. Mid-16th century watches didn't look anything like this! Ignore the name and look at the watch.

Regards,

Graham
 

aucaj

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Feb 2, 2021
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Hi Chris,

Consider this; Cromwell died in 1658, and the balance spring was introduced around 1675, so the watch in your first post, with its evident spring stud is an obvious mismatch. Even if it was converted later in its life to a balance spring, the whole style of it says second quarter of the 18th century. Mid-16th century watches didn't look anything like this! Ignore the name and look at the watch.

Regards,

Graham
Absolutely, the movement and maker are too late for the Cromwell period. There is no question that either their was an earlier maker by the same name or the Britten notation is completely false. I wish I could find Britten's source for the comment.

Thanks,
Chris
 
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rstl99

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I completely agree and I am very conservative in my bidding. I was just surprised to learn that an "expert" evaluation has put its value due to the association with Cromwell to be £180,000 which is ten times the previous purchase price! I will be interested to see if another collector would be willing to lose their head over it at that extraordinary price.
If I read the article correctly, the "expert" in this case is the guy who struck his neck out to buy it at 18,000, and is now hoping to cash in on his daring purchase by re-selling it at 10-fold profit? Well, there's a (rich) fool born every day (look at outlandish prices for what passes to be "modern art" in some cases) so who knows, he may find a buyer for it. Although it seems to me that watch would be better located in a museum featuring a good Cromwell exhibit...
Thanks for sharing this story.
Robert
 
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