Robert Roskell Liverpool movement...perhaps later 1880s?

John Pavlik

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My thoughts are trying to understand the reasoning for recasing a movement today, verses a time, when in all likely hood, the watch case was worn out and recased for practical use.. I believe, even in the the situation of gold melting, the watch movement, if reused, was for a practical purpose.. What is a real purpose of of putting that movement into a case that is generally a poor fit with a wrong date mark ? Either altering the "new" case or altering the movement to fit.. many of the older recases were custom made to fit the original and often have movement number in the case..
 

John Matthews

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I agree with Allan, the issue of re-casing is worthy of further discussion - possibly as a separate thread.

As relative novice, one of the pleasures I take from collecting, is researching the provenance of individual watches. So I ask myself, if I acquired a watch that had a carefully engraved mark 're-cased 03/11/16 by jem' would I regard it as an 'disfigurement'? No, I don't think I would. Not only would it alert me to the non-original nature of the case at the point of purchase, but it would also inform me that 'jem' thought that this was a movement worthy of spending time and money re-casing. Surely, the re-casing is an event worth recording/advertising to all who take enjoyment from collecting watches and not just left to those who have expert knowledge to identify such events. I want to know as much about my watches that I can, and I'm in favour of anything that helps.

John - who is this 'jem' anyway?
 
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Omexa

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Hi, I agree with Martin "I think that marking a case "Recased" would be an unnecessary disfigurement." As I stated previously about 50 to 60 percent (my estimate of very early Pocket Watches that have been re-cased). What would we do with the Pocket Watches that we thought (and I mean thought, not necessarily so) were not re-cased? Mark them "not re-cased?" There are too many Cases for error sic. Regards Ray
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Folks,

Just a quick note- I forgot to mention the Barwise has no number, though the case has 87472.(Never a Barwise number). It also has the address for Barwise St. Martins Lane, not often used by the firm, probably to long, when you could just add Cornhill.

Regards,

Allan.
 

John Pavlik

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Ray,

I disagree wit the 40 - 60 % recase number.. Maybe American watches are that way because of inter changeability, but certainly not English watches... I have only 2 watches that were re-cased and those were period done.. Meaning the case was made by a later maker to fit the movement.. One is the Barrauds from an earlier thread and the other is a pair case cylinder redone in a gilt pair case, by Thomas Grignion. This particular movement also had the larger dial and dial plate fitted as that was the newer style...
 

Omexa

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Hi John, I have many English early Pocket Watches going back to c1690 some that have been re-cased, if you read carefully what I stated: "As I stated previously about 50 to 60 percent (my estimate of very early Pocket Watches that have been re-cased). This is only my estimate of re-cased Pocket Watches, nothing is set in concrete. I have not included American made Pocket Watches in my estimate only English. There is no way of knowing exactly how many English Pocket Watches have been re-cased. I have about 60 English Pocket Watches in Cases and in my opinion about the number that I estimated have been re-cased and not by me. This is similar to asking "How long is a Piece of String?" Have a nice day John. Regards Ray

 

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I have to jump in here. I think cases made for English watches generally indicate respect for the watch, not an attempt to deceive. Here is a case that I think Cedric Jagger had made by Martin Matthews to house a movement he was very fond of. I personally wish that Martin had had the case hallmarked, but he did not. Presumably that was at Jagger's request or perhaps it involved an additional charge that was deemed unnecessary. The case was made in 1984, I think.

Since I "believe" in the Internet, I do not think any further identification of the case and its history is required. At any time in the next few hundred years a request to the master information store will produce the watch's history.

Back.jpg OuterCaseIn.jpg InnerFront.jpg InnerBackOut.jpg InnerBackIn.jpg
 

John Pavlik

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Tom, with the cases not being hallmarked is in itself an indication of re-casing... spending the necessary money to do this type of purpose made recase is well worth it, very nice.. I was refering to using an existing hallmarked case and making it fit..

Ray, replacing an outer case on a pair case, again, it is evident it will most likely have 2 sets of hallmarks, indicating a re-case.
 

Omexa

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Hi John, "Ray, replacing an outer case on a pair case, again, it is evident it will most likely have 2 sets of hallmarks, indicating a re-case.", that is how I came up with my loose percentage amount. I will be posting my French Verge c1760's today (it has just arrived at the Post Office.) It is in the original Case. Regards Ray 7.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi Tom,

... I think cases made for English watches generally indicate respect for the watch, not an attempt to deceive...
I wholeheartedly agree. I've recently handled 18th century watches by Mudge & Dutton, John Leroux and John Ellicott, to name three good makers, all of which had been "updated" when the fashion for larger watches was current in the middle of the 19th century. This inevitably involved re-casing to accommodate the larger dials with their associated brass edges. Their owners at the time clearly valued them sufficiently to have new cases made for them.

Regards,

Graham
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Tom,

Love that watch, and the story that goes with it. That was my point, if the history goes along with the re-case then I don't see a problem. It's some of the dealers you have to watch out for.

Hi Ray,

Thank for the Mathews film, I looked at it twice, I decided making a pair-case is a doddle.

Regards,

Allan.
 
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Omexa

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Hi Allan, "It's some of the dealers you have to watch out for." How about a lot of the Dealers on you know where. I recently informed a Dealer that the Pocket Watch that they had for sale was not a Chronometer and as a matter of fact was far from being a Chronometer. They acknowledged my email and went on to sell to an unsuspecting purchaser. Regards Ray
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Ray,

I know what you are saying- so far, money as not been mentioned in this thread in regard to re-caseing watches or clocks if it comes to that. Though we all know, when money can be made by a simple re-case there will be people who will abuse the system. There are also sellers in the market that know nothing about what they are selling-and I had to laugh at one not long ago- he was selling a Swiss pocket watch, which he said was made by the firm Advance & Retard.

Regards,

Allan.
 

MartyR

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I know what you are saying- so far, money as not been mentioned in this thread in regard to re-caseing watches or clocks if it comes to that. Though we all know, when money can be made by a simple re-case there will be people who will abuse the system. There are also sellers in the market that know nothing about what they are selling-and I had to laugh at one not long ago- he was selling a Swiss pocket watch, which he said was made by the firm Advance & Retard.
:excited: ... that's a new one for me, Allan. I have seen hundreds of watches made by that prolific firm "Remontoir", but "Avance & Retard" were obviously a more specialist maker!

On the subject of cost of a recase, I'm not sure that economics controls a decision to recase an English watch. Buyers can relatively easily recognise a recase for all the reasons I gave earlier. Most high-end English watches are in gold cases, and most of those in turn are 18 carat, and my experience is that retail prices being achieved for those watches are very little above (and in some cases even below) the scrap value of the gold case. So a dealer would have to buy a "close fit" case for a price very close to what he will achieve for selling the whole watch in its recase, and he has all the hassle of fitting the movement in the case!

If you add to that equation that there is a reasonably strong market in movements (just look at Ebay!) and I see no evidence that the process of deliberate deception is economically viable ... unless you assume that the potential buyers are total idiots :rolleyes:

That is especially so in the very high end watch (and chronometer) market, where watches are priced in the £3000-10,000 range. The buyers in that market are almost by definition experts, and would never be fooled for an instant into believing that a recase was original.

A decision to recase is valid (I believe) for any watch which either has no case currently, or else is in a very badly damaged case which is beyond repair. It's interesting to ponder whether a "repair" results in an "original" case anyway :) As a collector who does not collect movements, I always think hard about buying a superb movement in a poor case ... and I certainly downgrade the price I am willing to pay; and I feel exactly the same about a recase. So no seller will ever make money from selling a recase to me - he will more likely wish he had left it alone!
 
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John Pavlik

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The thread is now about the money, which was never intended... The initial point was about research and dating movements.. Dating when certain features, improvements, escapment styles were first seen, ect... so my intention was not about buyers being idiots, but about makers and the history of change... Look back at many of the threads on this board and see how often we date something or someone by a correct case date... If someone feels to recase is to make money, so be it, as said, it's is difficult at best to accomplish.. Correct cases with proper hallmarks has helped many become the experts... Yes, down the road a huge information trove will be avalible, just how was all of that information assembled ?
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi MartyR,

What you say is all very interesting and on a level table all very good. The upper market though is in the main, run through the auction houses, and when they spot something wrong I believe they are obliged to say so in their catalouges. You see very few watches on Ebay that fetch thousands of pounds or dollars. (Bulgaria excluded) The USA market for us over here, makes life difficult in so far, 1. The Postage, but more importantly 2 the VAT. I look though and have bought watches from the US, and every time I say to myself never again, but you you should never say that. Example 100 Dollar watch then between 20 or thirty dollars Int. signed for postage, 19% import charge for Germany. I then have to travel to Münster to pick it up (nearést big City) after they have held it for a couple of weeks. Though going back to your remarks I did once buy a pair-case with a Richard Hornby 41 Pool Lane in it, from what I thought was a reliable dealer in London, but the case was HM 1816. I sent it back. Just for the record Richard Hornby did not move to Pool Lane till 1819, and it could have been a little later. (1821) At the time that watch would have cost about 150 pounds in a consular case. for the pair-case the dealer wanted 280. So it does happen. One last point on that I told the dealer I was sending the watch back, and why, he then still insited I was wrong, and was most rude.

Regards,

Allan
 
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Omexa

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Hi all, just a couple of points "It's interesting to ponder whether a "repair" results in an "original" case anyway" seeing as almost all Verge and movements of similar age have been repaired or up-graded at some stage could they be called original, well the answer is no! The other point is that finding a Pocket Watch where both inner and outer Case have been replaced, is in my opinion not often though not unheard of. Most times the Outer Case has been replaced because of damage or wear. My policy is that it is all part of the story-provenance of the Pocket Watch, just like the many owners that a Pocket Watch may have had. Regards Ray
 

Allan C. Purcell

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HI Ray,

You are more than right, if you work in a museum. You know of course from these threads I gave a Hornby movement to the BM. When I asked them if they would like it, I sent them photographs, which included the so called Hornby escapement. Fine they said they would like it, so off it went. I must admit here I was pleased they excepted it, and I put on the watch a new set of gold hands, the original hour hand was brocken. The watch arrived at the BM, and they sent me a letter saying thank and such, then asked if I still had the brocken half of the hour hand. Lucky for them I did, it was in my scrap gold box. They had of couse seen the brocken hand on the photographs. When they recieve a watch it then stays in the condition in came in. So now you know what they do with the four thousand watches they got from the Ilbert collection. (Nothing). Did I get my hands back Ray?? No.

Here are a few pics, that fit this thread. I think you will like this Ray.

IMG_1993.jpg IMG_1994.jpg IMG_1997.jpg IMG_1998.jpg IMG_1999.jpg

It has a Hack too, it is also a so called Liverpool runner, and a form of bimetalic uncut balance.

Regards,

Allan.
 

Omexa

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Hi Allan, the BM does have policies but it is still up to the person who handled your Pocket Watch, another Curator may have acted differently. I am very wary of Museums, many years ago a friend donated a lot of Marine related artifacts to a Small Museum, when the person who was in charge moved on (Died) the new person in charge decided to sell off the Marine related stuff to purchase more popular stuff to bring paying tourists through the door. Ah well. Regards Ray
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Ray,

I found your piece on the Joseph Penlington watch today, I have posted some remarks on that maker for you.

Regards,

Allan.
 

Dave Chaplain

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Hi Allan, another for your list:

9896, C1825 (Thomas Helsby, pair case), Rt. Roskell, Liverpool, Rack W/H (near the movement release of the inner pair case is a thin hack lever that snaps to a side and prevents / frees the balance wheel from turning - I assume this is what is meant by W/H?)

Dave

sn 9896 case mark2.JPG sn 9896 dial2.jpg sn 9896 mvmt2.JPG
 

DaveyG

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That Leopard's head appears to be wearing a crown Dave, which would make it 1803/04 rather than 1825 (no crown) although that doesn't seem to fit the serial number profile. Lovely watch, obviously with a 30T escape wheel and with slide (WS)
 

gmorse

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Hi Dave,

Certainly has to be 1803/4. Perhaps this is yet another serial number anomaly?

Regards,

Graham
 

Dave Chaplain

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DaveyG, Graham: thank you for your comments. Do you think the case maker is Helsby? The case looks very similar (as does the Litherland signed movement layout, dial and secs register) to the one attributed to Helsby (Chester hallmark, 1806) on page 2, figure 3, of Philip Priestley's "Watch Case Makers of England", and also has no case number.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Dave,

I don't think this is Helsby, because the cartouche shape is wrong. It's more likely to be Thomas Harrison in this shape and style. The one in Priestley is incuse with a full stop.

Regards,

Graham
 

Dave Chaplain

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Hi Graham, I saw that as well. But in addition, on page 189 of the same Priestly reference a cameo type 2 [TH], in addition to the incuse T.H mark, was registered by Helsby ... so I was leaning that way ... but agreed, the example I have does look like a type 1 cameo and Thomas Harrison has one of those listed, somewhat earlier.
 

gmorse

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Hi Dave,

The cartouche could be interpreted pretty much equally as either a type 1 or type 2 without too much difficulty. However, the date isn't in question, so the matter of the serial number remains unsolved.

Regards,

Graham
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Dave,

I have added your watch to the lists-thank you for posting it. I thought too Thomas Harrison, but correct me if wrong-there are no dates for him after 1784? Thomas Morrow-not after 1795?You will notice there are not to many watches on the lists in the 9000 range, we could do with a few more, then we may get a better picture. W/H with hack.
[pdf]457663[/pdf]
 

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gmorse

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Hi Allan,

If you're trying to open it inside the browser, it may be due to the severe slowdown problems the MB is experiencing at the moment. Try just downloading it and then Adobe will open it, there's nothing wrong with the file itself.

Regards,

Graham
 

Dave Chaplain

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Hi Alan,

Thank you for including 9896 in your list. But about the data: DaveyG suggested that based on the seconds register shown it has a 30T escape wheel. And what is the distinction between W/H (with hack) and W/S (with slide)?

Dave
 

gmorse

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Hi Dave,

... DaveyG suggested that based on the seconds register shown it has a 30T escape wheel. And what is the distinction between W/H (with hack) and W/S (with slide)?...
The 30 tooth escape wheel would rotate four times per minute. "W/H" refers to the balance brake, and "W/S" refers to the adjustment slide and screw for the pallet depth in the top plate, (there's the same arrangement in the pillar plate as well), which is unique to the rack lever.

Regards,

Graham
 

Dave Chaplain

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Thank you for the explanation Graham, and I think with that, 9896 qualifies for all of 30T, W/H and W/S descriptors!
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi, Graham and Dave,

First thanks for the explanation too Graham, and Dave your seconds dial is maked 0 to 15. ie: four times a minute. I know it matters little about the case maker, (Except fot the owner)
but I looked again at Priestley and in 1794 Helsby used the number 2 cartouche. Looking at the cartouche on the photograph it looks to me like the corners are rounded,
if so I must go for Thomas Helsby. You were right too about the Roskell list Graham, I need to be patient. Thanks again.

Regards,

Allan.
 

gmorse

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Hi Dave,

..."W/S" refers to the adjustment slide and screw for the pallet depth in the top plate, (there's the same arrangement in the pillar plate as well), which is unique to the rack lever...
What I should have added is that although it's only found in rack levers, not all rack levers have this adjustment, so it isn't an infallible identifier.

Regards,

Graham
 

DaveyG

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It might be worth a mention that the 30T escape wheel would work in conjunction with a 3 wheel train; if a 15T escape wheel were to be installed it would whizz round so quickly as to be pretty useless.
 

John Pavlik

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An addition to Grahams point about the slid, the 15 seconds dial and 30 tooth escape wheel is also not positive indicator of a rack lever escapement, as a few detached levers had this feature..
 

John Matthews

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Hi Allan - many thanks for posting the updated list.

I opened a thread on a converted rack lever recently - https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?141428.

Although it is signed McMaster, Dublin, it is clearly of Liverpool origin. I postulated that it might have been made by Roskell and it carries what I suppose is a maker's serial number of 2638. I would be grateful for your thoughts.

Thanks

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi John,
I think you were spot on with your comments on the Dublin watch, and the remarks by Graham too. It is not conclusive, but might help-the little flower at the bottom of the cock is very typical of early Roskell watches. You will notice Ray has some-how put my 172 in his reply plus the other watch for the list. So we have three watches on this page alone with the small flower. Roskell had PL in the same place when he started to make Rack Levers- Peter Litherlands Patent. John I will put your watch on the new pages at the end of the lists-you may have noticed- but it will take a day or two- I have another six or seven to had. By the way Ray how about a pic of the hall-marks.
Best wishes to all Roskell fans,
Allan.
 

Omexa

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Hi Allan, "Ichabod Prall of New York" was a person who had property in New York and was well known at the time, 1816. This particular movement has strong connections to early New York, 1816 and a large Dutch family who settled there. Ichabod Prall was a "New York State Assembly", member in 1809 and later he began military service in 1815 as a Lieutenant Colonel, 106th Infantry, NY. The movement would have been cased with a solid Gold Case which has gone the way of lots of Gold Cases so I got hold of an 1815 Case and put the movement into it. I just thought that he would have carried the Pocket Watch with him when a soldier. Regards Ray
 
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John Matthews

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Hi John,
I think you were spot on with your comments on the Dublin watch, and the remarks by Graham too. It is not conclusive, but might help-the little flower at the bottom of the cock is very typical of early Roskell watches. You will notice Ray has some-how put my 172 in his reply plus the other watch for the list. So we have three watches on this page alone with the small flower. Roskell had PL in the same place when he started to make Rack Levers- Peter Litherlands Patent. John I will put your watch on the new pages at the end of the lists-you may have noticed- but it will take a day or two- I have another six or seven to had. By the way Ray how about a pic of the hall-marks.
Best wishes to all Roskell fans,
Allan.
Many thanks Allan - your observations are much appreciated

John
 

John Matthews

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Allan - pleased you thought it was worth including ..

John
 

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