Serial Numbers on Watches made by Thomas Tompion

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Frank Menez, Jan 2, 2006.

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  1. Frank Menez

    Frank Menez Registered User
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    I have started to record Serial Numbers on watches made by Tompion, This includes Tompion & Graham- Tompion and Banger.

    If you have a Tompion Watch I would appreciate you providing the Serial Number etc.

    The purpose of this project is to attach a date of manufacture to each serial number.

    Case Hall Marks would also be usefull
     
  2. Frank Menez

    Frank Menez Registered User
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    I have started to record Serial Numbers on watches made by Tompion, This includes Tompion & Graham- Tompion and Banger.

    If you have a Tompion Watch I would appreciate you providing the Serial Number etc.

    The purpose of this project is to attach a date of manufacture to each serial number.

    Case Hall Marks would also be usefull
     
  3. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Jeremy Evans published an article in AHS quite a few years ago on the Tompion/Graham numbering sequence and marks.

    I understand that Jeremy is about to publish a definitive work on the subject.
     
  4. Frank Menez

    Frank Menez Registered User
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    Tom
    I am in the process of reviewing all my AHS Proceedings dating back to the late 50s. Hope to find a great deal of info on Tompion. I am sure I will come across the Jeremy Evans article. Perhaps my research on the subject can supplement his book. Thomas Tompion his Life and work by R.W. Symonds contains some material on Tompion watches including serial .numbers/dates etc. It has been reported that Tompion produced about 6000 watches. A review of horological literature and auction catalogs should provide info on Tompion watches.
     
  5. igc

    igc New Member

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    Dear Frank, I do have what in all respects including dial signature looks like a Tompion's watch and I'd gladly provide the serial No., but unfortunately I can't find one!
    I assume you might be interested all the same, so I'm attaching a coupla photos.
    I'm no professional in this trade nor an experienced collector, and I'm welcoming any info you (or anyone) might volunteer, such as if unnumbered Tompion's watches do exist or if it's a fake, or whatever. Thank you.
    Gabriele
    Orologio da persona - 17.jpg

    Platina con coq e cassa.jpg

    Miniatura su controcassa.jpg
     
  6. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Frank,

    I moved your topic to the European section. Thanks
     
  7. Frank Menez

    Frank Menez Registered User
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    Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns by Jeremy Evans Page 87

    Early Tompion Timepieces Watches Which Do Not Bear Serial Numbers.Made During The Period C.1674-C.1681.

    There are several watches with info on the Case, Case Marks,Dial and Reference.
     
  8. amboyna

    amboyna New Member

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    Hello
    I am an auction room and have a watch movement by Tompion signed and numbered by Tompion 3895
    It has a fusee movement. Any idea how I can date it with some accuracy?
     
  9. Frank Menez

    Frank Menez Registered User
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    Thomas Tompion at the Dial & Three Crowns by Jeremy Evans

    S/N 3618 Hall Marked 1704
    3949 Hall marked 1706

    It looks like S/N 3895 would be Circa 1705.
     
  10. zoltanberg

    zoltanberg New Member

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    Can some one tell me something about watch number 2257?
     
  11. Tom McIntyre

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    The definitive work on Tompion is Jeremy Evans' Thomas Tompion 300 Years which was published on the 300th anniversary of Tompion's death in 2013.

    Serial number 2257 is not recorded as an observed example, but 2171 (1695) and 2304 (1696/97) are both in the list.

    There are many forgeries of Tompion watches, so if you have pictures of the dial and mechanism, we can probably provide more information with at least a guess at authenticity.

    The nearest watch to your serial number pictured in the book is this one. it is serial number 2934 dated ca 1699.
    240F613E-BC12-47D0-BFD3-FAB6A3630D9E.jpeg
     
  12. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hi Tom there are two books by Jeremy Evens "Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns" publish by the AHS in 2006. He publisjed in there his finding to that date. The new book "Thomas Tompion 300 years" inproved those lists. In the first book on page 90 2171is listed as missing-(Now found no doubt?) there is 2196 in the British Museum if Frank Menez wants a look at it-Gold Pair case. If Frank wants to check numbers I am willing to help him-all he needs to do is ask.
     
  13. Tom McIntyre

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    Unfortunately, Frank died about 10 years ago.

    I have both of Jeremy's books and he recorded my Graham on his list about 25 years ago when he examined it at the British Museum Student's Room. :)
     
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  14. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Sorry Tom-I did not notice:( the date on the above posts- we did though go through this before-but I remember not, when., it was this year. :oops:
     
  15. Omexa

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    Hi, should Rich Street be included in the Tompion watch numbers? There are about 10 known; I have one movement. Street made Cases and Repeaters for Tompion. Regards Ray
     
  16. onesues

    onesues Newbie
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    i own a Tompian / Bangor pocket watch similar to the pictures included in this forum. The serial number is 5241. Any information about this would be very much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Sue
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Sue, and welcome to the forum,

    Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, (who was one of Tompion's apprentices), were in partnership for only a few years, from c1701 to c1707/8, but it isn't known why they parted company. I don't have a reference handy for Tompion's serial numbers, but please post pictures of your watch, which may tell us more, and in any event will be most interesting to see.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  18. onesues

    onesues Newbie
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    0427120737.jpg 0427120740.jpg

    Here are pictures of the tompion /banger pocket watch that i would like information about. The case is engraved with the name of my 3x great grandfather James Holloway of North Mymms, Herfordshire. In 1851 he farmed 36 acres and although successful he was not affluent. He probably acquired the watch somewhere between 1830-1850 but this is purely speculation. He was born in 1783
     
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  19. Tom McIntyre

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    The serial number 5214 would be late for Tompion and Banger. If the first digit were 3 instead of 5 (an easy misread) it would be in the correct range of numbers.

    Would it be possible for you to get better photographs on the inside of the watch? In particular the hallmarks inside the case(s) are important to confirm the date and some good pictures of the movement itself would be great.

    Tompion and Edward Banger watches in Jeremy Evan's book start at 3122 end with 4119. After that there are additional Tompion numbers but soon they become Tompion and Graham and then George Graham after Tompion's death. All the numbers above 5000 are signed George Graham except for a small number that were finished after Graham's death.
     
  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Tom,

    With a watch this early, it's unlikely that there will be a complete set of hallmarks in the case which would enable us to ascribe a date. With any luck there may be a maker's/sponsor's mark, but probably nothing else, although in any event, the pendant doesn't appear to be typical of the period and the outer case joint has only three knuckles, so that makes dating even more problematical. It's not unusual for a watch of this age to have had various parts replaced, and the outer case was obviously exposed to the most wear, so not unusual to find a replacement. Plus Tompion's watches were always so highly regarded that their original, often gold, cases were swapped for silver or even gilt brass when times were hard but the owner wanted to keep the movements.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  21. Allan C. Purcell

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    An intriguing watch onesues, the information so far is sound, and it is important to see this watch and its movement from the inside. You say the number is 5241, could you please send us a photograph of the number and any marks at all on the cases. We can then help you better, if Tom is correct about the first digit, you would have a very important time-piece.

    A quote from the book "Thomas Tompion 300 Years".

    C,1707/08 Edward Banger apparently departed from the business, because, it is assumed, of some misdemeanour, and items were again signed with Tompions name alone. Some stock clock dials and movements (not All ) had their joint signatures covered by Tompion´s alone, but there is no recorded instance of a watch signature being covered or re-engraved. Any stock watch dial centres with joint signatures would likely have been scrapped and there are, indeed, instances of Tompion and Banger movements having dials signed Tompion alone."

    I think the authors have been a little overgenerous, saying it was just a misdemeanour, but there is no factual documentation as to what Edward Banger did, to lose his partnership with Tompion.

    Though one point is clear, Banger never argued his case, and or spoke of it. He must have done something that was fare more devious than a misdemeanour.

    Allan.
     
  22. John Matthews

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    For information Tompion & Banger #3842 is illustrated and described on p. 139 of Camerer Cuss 'The English Watch'. In its original silver pair cases with a maker's mark WS with a coronet above - said to be that of William Sherwood senior. The dial is virtually identical to yours and the watch is dated as 1704/05.

    John
     
  23. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi All,

    For those who have access to the AH archives, the issue containing Jeremy Evans' article on Tompion's numbering system is Volume 14 number 6, from June 1984.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  24. John Matthews

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    Here is the critical table from the 1984 article that Graham has posted ...

    upload_2019-10-17_14-24-8.png

    John
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    That watch retains its original 'stirrup' bow and what should be a rotating pendant. It also has the period correct tulip pattern hour hand. Hands were often damaged when owners set them with a finger rather than using the winding key, as intended, because, although made of steel, they were quite fragile.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  26. Tom McIntyre

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    I am not sure he needed to "do" anything. George Graham very likely was "better" for the partnership and he did marry into the family.

    Webster's name does not appear on any of Tompion's pieces but he did advertise somewhere that I saw years ago that he was successor to Tompion. :)

    I have the impression that it was not at all difficult to make Tompion angry. He may have been conditioned to be an angry man by Hooke who treated him atrociously.
     
  27. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi Tom, I think a look at the Tompion family tree for Edward Banger would be of interest. The numbers published above are no doubt there to help members, but they have been updated twice since then by Mr Evans.
     
  28. onesues

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    Tom McIntyre is correct. On closer inspection the serial number is 3241. I have attached more photos of the pocket watch and hope to keep learning more about it from the posts on this forum. Many thanks to everyone who has responded. I will post more pictures if these are insufficient. ---- Susan
    IMG_0001.JPG IMG_0002.JPG IMG_0004.JPG
     
  29. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Susan, its looking very good-more photographs please, is the number on the watch somewhere?? Allan
     
  30. onesues

    onesues Newbie
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    The first picture shows the serial number on the inside of the case, or at least that is what i believe is the serial number. I can certainly take more pictures.
     
  31. John Matthews

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    #31 John Matthews, Oct 17, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
    Susan - you have a beautiful watch - of which many on the forum will be very envious.

    Unfortunately as you can see there is some damage and I believe it has been modified in a way which has disfigured the balance cock by removing a portion of the edge ...

    upload_2019-10-17_22-22-54.png

    It should look more like this ...

    upload_2019-10-17_22-31-49.png

    Graham Morse will be able to explain this far better than I am able ...

    The hallmark you show is WS with the coronet above - said to be William Sherwood. The number on the case appears to me to be 3221 with the 2 modified to give 3421.

    upload_2019-10-17_22-30-34.png

    You do indeed have a very important watch ....

    John
     
  32. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #32 gmorse, Oct 17, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
    Hi Sue,

    Everything we've seen so far does point to this being a genuine Tompion & Banger watch, and regardless of whether the number is 3441 or 3241, both fall into the known range for this partnership, implying a date between 1702 and 1703. The excellent quality of the ornate engraving on the top plate, especially the grotesque mask at the base of the cock and the lovely female one on the opposite side, the sweeping 'streamers' at the base of the balance cock table, the elaborate pillars holding the plates together, known as 'Crested Egyptian' types, and the decorated screws all confirm this quality and the dating. There may be a serial number hidden inside the movement somewhere, Tompion was known to do this.

    William Sherwood, whose mark is the 'WS' under a coronet, is believed to have been frequently used by Tompion to make the cases for his watches, and as mentioned earlier, it wasn't usual to fully hallmark watch cases at this date. The making of cases, as well as many other components, was a specialised craft; Mr. Tompion would not have made an entire watch all by himself, but it would have required the combined efforts and skills of many people. Does the outer case have any marks inside it similar to those in the inner case?

    John's comments about the balance cock relate to some old damage which is probably due to an earlier repairer altering the arrangement in the watch which prevents the balance wheel underneath it from rotating too far if the watch is jolted. As originally made, there would have been some tiny studs inside the movement which functioned as a sort of buffer, but later practice was to put a vertical pin in the edge of the balance wheel. This unfortunately required that the edge of the balance cock should be cut away to provide clearance for that pin. This is quite commonly seen in these older watches, even in the very best pieces such as this.

    There is some evidence of corrosion to some of the steelwork, but I can't see anything too serious.

    Please, on no account should you attempt to wind the watch, as it quite clearly hasn't been inspected or serviced for a considerable time. There's no reason on present information that it shouldn't be capable of running one day, after a proper cleaning and lubrication, but with a watch of this importance the priority should be to conserve rather than restore it.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  33. Tom McIntyre

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    The number in the case back is interesting. It could be intended as 3241 or 3441 depending on which was the "correction."

    If the numbers are in places they are on later Graham pieces you may find them scratched into the flat area on the inside of the joint as well as both case pieces. As I recall there were 5 places where the number might be repeated.

    I need to read Jeremy's articles over the past 20 years now that I have renewed my AHS membership.
     
  34. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Tom,

    Often under the cock foot and on the pillar plate. Another feature was the use of square pins in the stud, both something continued by George Graham..

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  35. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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