Santiago James Moore French

John Pavlik

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Would any one have information on this English maker... Looking to possibly get dating information on his serial numbers.. Any help would be appreciated.. I understand he is listed as being active 1810-1844 or there about.. would he have any possible successors ?
 

Tom McIntyre

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I think French of the Royal Exchange included him but possibly others.
 

MartyR

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French was a watch, clock and chronometer maker and became a freeman of the Clockmakers Company by redemption in 1810 and remained a member until 1844. He was trading at 15 Sweetings Alley from 1808 until about 1838. A London trade directory dated 1829 has a listing for J. M. Moore advertising as a chronometer maker at 14 and 15 East side of Royal Exchange (i.e. Sweetings Alley). By 1839 he had moved to 18 Cornhill and was there until 1842. In 1839-40 he was also at 86 Cornhill and in 1841-2 he was at 80 Cornhill.

It seems that in 1825, for a short time he was in partnership with Mr. Mitchell at 5 Clerkenwell Close and they traded as Mitchell & French.

James Moore French appears in a couple of trade directories:- French, J.M. of London appears in the 1822-3 trade directory in the watch and clock Makers section as trading at 15 East Side, Royal Exchange, London and in the 1841 trade directory in the watch and chronometer makers section trading at 80 Cornhill, London.

A gold hunter pocket watch signed French, Royal Exchange, London is in the collection of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London.

After the death of James at the end of January 1842 at the age of about 62, with his burial on 3rd February 1842, in Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London, the business was supposedly continued by his widow and the man she is later said to have married, who had worked for her late husband - Jose Rodriguez Losada.

The business continued to use the name of James Moore French after his death and at one time were at 9 Royal Exchange, London.

Known watch numbers & dates.
433 hallmarked 1817
4208 hallmarked 1826

I have recorded #11548 HM dated 1847 and #10494 HM dated 1855. The latter is a duplex
 
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gmorse

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Hi John,

Britten's has Santiago James Moore French working 1808-1842, at 15 Sweetings Alley (1808-38), 18 Cornhill (1839-42), 86 Cornhill (1839-40), 80 Cornhill (1841-42). These addresses are mostly from trades directories, so may be subject to a degree of error in original typesetting or later transcription. He had a partner, Mitchell, in 1825, and was a watch and chronometer maker of some note.

His son, John, working 1843-47, from 80 Cornhill (1845) and 9 Royal Exchange (1845-47), was also a watch and chronometer maker.

Regards,

Graham
 
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John Pavlik

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Thanks Graham & Marty... the example I have is marked French Royal Exchange London.. and is numbered 4637... the case is marked L C in an oval with letter date 1840.. case maker, I assume, would indicate Louis Comptesse, 10 East Street, Red Lion Square.. interesting case, rear dome is hinged and movement is held to the case center band by 3 set screws along the front... Front glass is hinged to facilitate hand setting.. Dual lift springs for front cover... Appears to be a duplex, but confirmation when I remove the movement from the case...
 

John Matthews

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Hi John

I just found this which may be of interest - a description of chronometer 424 and includes information regarding the maker.

http://bhi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/HJ-August-2016-Article-of-the-Month.pdf

Also Mercer 'Chronometer Makers of the World' has a section which lists his addresses as follows:

14-15 Sweetings Alley Royal Exchange 1811-1839
86 Cornhill, Royal Exchange 1839-41
80 Cornhill 1840-1845
32 Cornhill 1858
16 Northampton Square 1862-1865

Additionally ...

Pocket chronometer in Guidhall Museum.

Admitted CC in 1810. A fine clockmaker who sold clocks to New York and advertised in Spanish. He succeeded T W Morrice ~1843. Made pocket watches for the Admiralty and made some barometers.

Mercer records watch 4480 was sold to the Admiralty and lists, among others, as 'also known' 4477, 4580 and 4922 - these being the closest to yours.

John

Sorry _ forgot to add a link to one of Ray's posts which has a further example 30974 .... where are you Ray :D

https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php...re-French-62-Cornhill-CITY-OBSERVATORY-LONDON
 
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SKennedy

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I have French movement 3035 which I had reckoned to be 1821-22 when I looked up numbers of those I could find that were datable.

I believe mine started life as a duplex and was converted to lever. However the conversion is of absolutley top notch quality and I suspect (but obviously could never prove) it may have been done as an 'updating' job by French themselves when it was perhaps 20 years old. I think the compensation balance and the sunk seconds dial were fitted at that time. An example of the workmanship is the way the lever escape wheel is colleted to its arbor. The banking pins are up near the balance end of the lever.

This alteration also provided a slightly odd lever since it operates at about a 135 degree angle instead of the more usual 90ish degree. I think the lever has been planted in the original duplex escape wheel jewels so the new escape wheel ended up where it would fit. The new jewelling that must have been added for this wheel also looks contemporary.

313462.jpg

313461.jpg

313463.jpg

313464.jpg
 

John Pavlik

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Well upon removing the movement from the case, a pleasant surprise.. the escapement appears to be a spring detent.. a couple of photos attached.. Not knowing much about detents, comments welcome.. a few movement facts, a typical falt hairspring with regulator.. split compensated balance.. the escape wheel is jeweled and caped.. as I mentioned earlier, the movement is not hinged to the case, but has a locator pin and 2 screws which go thru the dial seat of the case to the dial plate of the movement.. The dial plate does have a cut out for the typical latch and spring but appears to never have been used.. it appears to be the movement was in stock for awhile and cased in the 1840 period, indicated by the case hall marks.. I do believe this to be an original case and movement as the movement and case are numbered the same.. Check out those neat screw heads ! Any opinions welcome.. 313525.jpg 313526.jpg 313527.jpg 313528.jpg
 

Omexa

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That certainly is a pleasant surprise John. I have a few movements by French somewhere but only run of the mill movements. Regards Ray
 

gmorse

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Hi John,

These were very much a toy for the well-off, so this could well have sat in stock for some time before the right customer with the necessary cash came along when it would have been cased to order. I assume it's in a gold case?

Louis Comptesse cased some very fine watches; he was used by Louis Recordon, (successor to Josiah Emery), amongst other top makers.

The practicality of a spring detent in a pocket watch is limited, since they have a tendency to set if jolted, but a beautiful piece of work to wear on special occasions.

Regards,

Graham
 

SKennedy

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Very nice! I'd be interested to see what the balance looks like at rest, and the dial.
Regards,
Seth
 

Halda Sweden

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Dear Horological Friends!

This pocket chronometer made by James Moore French London is a bit special. The silver case is gilded inside, diam. ca 58 mm, weight, ca 162 gram

Movement no 2735. Is there any similar chronometers from James Moore French known?

Best rgds
Peter B.

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