R. Stewart, Argyle & Buchanan Streets, Glasgow

jplotkin

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Writing to share some images of a nice movement from Glasgow. And to ask about the providence of the Ebouche.

Lovely movement, especially the details on the lever and (solid gold?) escape wheel:

IMG_2117.jpeg IMG_2036.jpeg IMG_2054.jpeg IMG_2045.jpeg

I'm particularly interested in figuring out who manufactured the plates. The bottom plate contains the same serial number as on the top of the movement. But it also shows an indication "D KEYS". As well as in indication "12 x 0" with a "J" beneath it, partly cutout -- was this originally "JP" (Joseph Preston)??

IMG_2006.jpeg
IMG_2035.jpeg

Thanks for your input!
 

John Matthews

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David Keys & Son 'Chronometer & Watch Manufacturers' 15 Craven St, Strand, also with a retail shop in Piccadilly at one time. Patentee of keyless work and finished watches based upon Lancashire frames. I have an unfinished movement that is based upon an Edward Scarisbrick, Prescot frame, stamped [E.S]. He finished movements with both standard and inverted double roller escapements (see first 3 photographs here). Note in that description I indicated that the frame was that of D Keys - this was an error. Keys purchased frames from Lancashire and I now believe that he added his stamp prior to commencing his work. In your example the 'J' is probably part of the frame maker's mark.

John
 
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jplotkin

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Thank you very much, John.

Just so I understand: you believe the "frame maker" (maker-mark J in my example) was likely from Lancashire (possibly even Prescot -- do you know what frame maker used "J"?). The frame maker produced the plates. But the keyless works were then installed by David Keys & Son, who added their stamp to the plates. And, finally, R. Stewart completed assembly of the entire watch in Glasgow? Is that the basic idea?
 

John Matthews

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I believe Keys would have purchased an unfinished movement from Lancashire, I cannot say what state it was in with certainty, but given the state of the unfinished movement that I have it is probable that the train was present with arbors left long and without the escapement. The keyless work and motion work would probably not have been present. I suspect the movement would have been completed and finished by Keys including the Stewart signature. It is more than possible that Keys would have had it cased in London and it was a finished watch that Stewart ordered and received ready to be sold.

John
 
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gmorse

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Hi Joshua,
Lovely movement, especially the details on the lever and (solid gold?) escape wheel:
The screwed gold safety dart is definitely a quality feature, but the escape wheel looks like gilt brass, as are all the other wheels. A gold escape wheel is a nice cosmetic notion, but given its density, the less dense brass is technically preferable.

I notice that there are only two dial foot holes, does it still have a dial?

Regards,

Graham
 

jplotkin

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Hi Joshua,


The screwed gold safety dart is definitely a quality feature, but the escape wheel looks like gilt brass, as are all the other wheels. A gold escape wheel is a nice cosmetic notion, but given its density, the less dense brass is technically preferable.

I notice that there are only two dial foot holes, does it still have a dial?

Regards,

Graham
The escape wheel gilding looks different from other wheels to me, but you're likely correct.

Yes, there is still an intact dial, but there are no markings or serial numbers on the dial.
dial.jpeg

By the way, Graham, I had some trouble pushing the center pin out from cannon pinion on this movement (and I ended up cracking the shiny washer that usually surrounds in the pin on the movement side in the process). The difficulty was that the pin itself has a very small diameter, and I don't have any stakes thin enough to fit through the sleeve of the cannon pinion to push out the pin. (I ended up using a stake from a jewel press instead, supporting the washer with a punch from below). There may have been some rust that exacerbated this problem.

This is a common problem for me. I am attaching photos of the Stewart cannon pinion and broken washer, and a photo of a *different* movement that shows an example of the difficulty (thin center pin). How do you safely push out the pin from a cannon pinion like this?

broken-washer.jpg example.jpeg
 

John Matthews

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Can you post a photograph of the roller and balance? I have seen examples that have been finished in a Swiss style.

John
 

jplotkin

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Balance wheel.
balance.jpeg
bal.jpg

Note the unusual weights.

IMG_2160.jpg
weight.jpg

Any advice on safe removal of center arbor from cannon pinion for movements like this?
 
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gmorse

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Hi Joshua,

Quarter screws like this which are effectively nuts on bolts are usual on better quality movements, as are the screws with shorter heads for fine adjustments of the compensation.

Any advice on safe removal of center arbor from cannon pinion for movements like this?
If there's enough protruding, it can be easier to pull the pin out rather than pushing it. Damaging the pin in removing it shouldn't be a concern since all pins should be replaced with new ones on assembly. If all else fails, cut the pin off flush on both ends, then you can at least remove the cannon pinion and worry about drilling out the stub afterwards!

Regards,

Graham
 

John Matthews

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I am afraid the quality of the roller photographs does not allow an definitive conclusions to be drawn, but on the basis of what I see, I don't see any evidence that it is Swiss.

Graham - I think fitting a dial with only two feet is more likely to be due to the space being restricted by the three-wheel rocking bar keyless mechanism and is not an indication of continental origin. I have a record of a partially finished movement based upon a JP frame with a similar three wheel mechanism that appears to have been drilled for a dial with two pins.

For clarity, the drilling of the holes to accommodate the dial would be in the finishing process and the hole would not be present when the unfinished movement was received by Keys - as a result the dial hole has been drilled through the frame makers initials There are numerous frame makers with a mark beginning with 'J', but there is a good chance that this is the mark of the firm of Joseph Preston & Sons.

John
 
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jplotkin

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Thanks, both John and Graham.

I recall inspecting the roller and thinking it looked like a typical English. I might be able to find a better photo or video. Here is one:

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 6.24.35 PM.jpg

Graham: for pin removal, are you suggest using levers or stiff tweezers to pry it out from the top plate, if there is enough clearance? Or could I alternatively use levers to pull off the cannon pinion from the pin, from the back plate, if there is clearance underneath it? I would have though that this approach would fail, because these English cannon pinions are usually stuck on very very tight.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Joshua,
If there's enough protruding, it can be easier to pull the pin out rather than pushing it. Damaging the pin in removing it shouldn't be a concern since all pins should be replaced with new ones on assembly. If all else fails, cut the pin off flush on both ends, then you can at least remove the cannon pinion and worry about drilling out the stub afterwards!
My apologies, I was thinking about the cross pin retaining the cannon pinion on some English watches, not the central pin that you referred to. Your centre pin is best punched out from the dial side with the top plate supported. You may need to make a punch of the correct size to do this, suitably hardened and tempered, made from steel rod of a size that fits in one of the hollow flat punches in the staking set. Trying to lever it out from the top plate side isn't as effective and may result in damage, as you've discovered!

Regards,

Graham
 
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jplotkin

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Hi Joshua,


My apologies, I was thinking about the cross pin retaining the cannon pinion on some English watches, not the central pin that you referred to. Your centre pin is best punched out from the dial side with the top plate supported. You may need to make a punch of the correct size to do this, suitably hardened and tempered, made from steel rod of a size that fits in one of the hollow flat punches in the staking set. Trying to lever it out from the top plate side isn't as effective and may result in damage, as you've discovered!

Regards,

Graham
Thanks. That makes sense.

That is basically what I did, actually, using a press. It still led to a broken washer on the movement side, perhaps because the supporting stub was contacting the washer, or the pin was stuck due to dried oil…
 

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