This 1814 Barwise pocket watch has some unusual and rare features

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Jon C., Sep 15, 2013.

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  1. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    I recently acquired this 1814 Barwise pocket watch, which has some unusual features.

    First of all, it has a black enamel dial. I haven't yet come across any other dials like this. Would I be correct in assuming that it's quite rare?

    The watch
    has a fusee with a cylinder escapement, and the engraved balance cock has a diamond endstone. The movement shows a couple of unusual features - the 4-arm gilt balance is oversprung and the regulation is through a slot on the balance cock. Once again, I understand that this is relatively rare.

    The silver case is hallmarked for London with the date letter for 1814, and it's engraved "WJ." Based on that date, I believe the maker is William Jackson (6 King Street, Clerkenwell). Priestley shows Jackson as having an entry date of April 6, 1809, which sounds right. Although there's also a listing for William Jasper, his entry date is Dec. 24, 1819 (which is too late for this case).

    The dial, movement and dust cover are all engraved "Barwise." Although Loomes lists several watchmakers named Barwise, I'm assuming this was [I]John[/I] Barwise, based on the dates. Would you agree?

    If anyone has anything else of interest to add about this watch, I'd love to hear from you!


    Regards,

    Jon


    Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 dial.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 dial open close-up.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 movement.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 fusee.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 case hallmarks.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 dust cover.jpg Pocket watch - Barwise 1814 dial open view.jpg
     
  2. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    Beautiful dial. That is pretty cool, Jon. Congratulations.
    I really like the coin edged case too. It's a beauty.
    My guess would be it is John Sr.'s work.
     
  3. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, I have a couple of "Barwise" movements somewhere, but your one is beautiful, and the "Black Dial" is unusual. Regards Ray
     
  4. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Thanks, Shiny. Yes, I also like the coin-edged case - it's a nice finishing touch.

    I think this watch is my "new" favorite! :D

    Best,

    Jon
     
  5. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Thank you, Ray!
     
  6. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    JohnBarwise Sr was a very highly reputed chronometer maker about whom I have found very little information. Tony Mercer's book Chronometer Makers of the World says that John Senior (the son of James) was born 1752, died 1842. So this may have been made by John Senior or his son John although I suspect Graham is right that it is by Jr.

    Your watch, Jon, is unlike anything I've seen by Barwise for all the reasons you have identified. It's altogether a fabulous watch and you certainly didn't pay too much for it ;)
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,

    What can I add? You have acquired an exceptional and unusual watch! The case, the pendant and bow, the dial, the balance wheel layout and the balance cock are all out of the ordinary. It looks as though it has a hack feature. Am I also right in thinking that the escape wheel is steel? (Some English cylinders have gold escape wheels). The endstones on the escape wheel are an added quality touch.

    You're spot on with the casemaker. No two makers could be registered with the same mark at the same time.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    #8 Jon C., Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
    Hi Marty,

    I found this information about John Barwise Sr and his family on the website of The British Museum:

    Watchmaking family. A well known dynasty of watchmakers, descendent of Lott Barwise of Cockermouth (q.v.). John Barwise senior had his business in St Martins Lane and took his sons into partnership in 1819.
    John Barwise 1790-1843
    John Barwise & Sons 1819-1823
    John Barwise & Weston Barwise 1820-1842
    John Barwise 1845-1875

    As you can see, it mentions that John Barwise Senior did not not take his sons (including John Junior) into partnership until 1819. Since this watch was made in 1814, might that lend some credibility to the theory that the maker was indeed John Senior? By the way, according to Loomes, John Sr was the son of Lot, who lived from 1726-1799.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  9. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Graham,

    If by a "hack feature" you mean a stop/start lever, the answer is yes. I was told that this type of [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]watch is sometimes referred to as a "doctor's watch," as it is assumed that the stopwatch facility was used for timing pulses.[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]

    I think the cylinder escape wheel is made of gilt brass.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  10. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    #10 Jon C., Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
    Hi Marty,

    That's wonderful to hear, since I really value your opinion! I especially enjoy collecting watches that are out of the ordinary.

    I certainly hope that I didn't pay "too much" for it. However, while it would be nice if some day this watch proves to have been a good investment, the main reason I bought it is because I liked it! :D

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  11. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    #11 Jon C., Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
    Hi Graham,

    I'm very happy to hear that. I thought this might be a special watch when I bought it, but it's always nice to get confirmation from people like you who are far more knowledgeable than I am!! :D

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  12. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    It is worth mentioning that Barwise is a very important chronometer maker. Barwise, Brockbanks and Barraud were mature makers, well established at the time of the great Arnold/Earnshaw fight for credit for the detent chronometer. They were on the jury that tied to apportion credit for the invention. In Earnshaw's Appeal, they are named as scoundrels as I recall. I will go back and reread a bit. There is also discussion in Vaudrey Mercer's book on Arnold & Son. Barwise chronometers, cylinders and duplexes are all very fine watches that I have seen.

    I have never been able to buy one, but I have admired many of them.
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,
    That's the only valid reason as far as I'm concerned!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,

    Some watches by Barwise, especially the chronometers, were made by the Penningtons, (father and son, both Robert), who also made movements for Arnold and Frodsham amongst other of the very best makers. Robert senior was linked to Thomas Mudge junior, whose father made the first lever watch for King George. Robert senior is also credited with the invention of the screw-adjusted balance wheel. Interestingly, they sometimes made the balance cock with a slot for the index pins . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  15. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    That was my obscurantist way of saying that I think this could be a very valuable watch :D

    There is some confusion around on genealogy. Loomes says:

    Lot Barwise b.1726 d.1799
    James Barwise working 1726-1740s

    That makes James possibly the father of Lot, but certainly older than Lot.

    Next he gives John Barwise b.1755 d.1842 which probably means that John was Lot's son and James's grandson.

    However Mercer says that John was the son of James. Mercer could be wrong, of course, but when in doubt I always prefer Mercer's data to Loomes' ;)

    John Barwise & Son was indeed formed in 1819 and apparently dissolved in 1823 according to both sources. However, the likelihood is that the "& Son" (according to Mercer) or "& Sons" (according to Loomes) would have been added when the son(s) became members of the Clockmakers Company - they would probably have been making watches for the father for some years before that. So your 1814 watch might have been made by father or son, although it would have been under the aegis of the father.

    Incidentally, the only candidate I can find for the "other" son of John Sr is Nathaniel Barwise given in Loomes as working in London c.1810.

    Mercer's entry for Barwise is very confusing.

    He starts with the John Barwise and Son period of 1819-23, continues with John Barwise 1835-42 at St Martins Lane, moves to John Barwise 1856-72 and ends with John Barwise 1876-90. He gives no explanation for the gaps in dates.

    The extensive text which follows refers (as you would expect) exclusively to Barwise's acivity in chronometer making, but I think he is then referring to John Senior and not Junior. At the end he lists chronometer numbers and dates, and these range from serial #7061 in 1816 to #9249 in 1825. The highest serial # is 9486 undated.

    These bear no relationship to your watch #3007 but it seems to have been commonplace for makers to use an entirely separate range of numbers for watches and chronometers.

    I think you should send your photos to the British Museum and ask for their comments. They are very helpful people!
     
  16. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Tom,

    Well, that certainly sounds like a fascinating story all by itself - I'd love to hear more about it. I've always enjoyed good courtroom battles, going back to the days when I used to watch Perry Mason on TV!
    Scoundrel or not, at least I think everyone will agree that Barwise made some very fine watches! ;)

    Best,

    Jon
     
  17. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Ah, the plot thickens...
     
  18. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Oh great. In addition to my having to research the definitions of various watch components, now you're forcing me to look up the meaning of words like obscurantist!! ;)

    Best,

    Jon
     
  19. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Marty,
    Thanks a lot for the extremely detailed - and interesting - analysis!!

    I've been using my copy of Loomes as my "Bible," but now I learn that you prefer Mercer's data. Is there a book by Mercer that you recommend I purchase, or do you think Loomes would continue to suffice for me?

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  20. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Marty,

    That's a great idea - I think I'll do just that! By any chance, do you have an email address that I can use to send them my photos? If not, I'll check the British Museum's website for their contact info...

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  21. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,

    One question I forgot to ask: what's the cylinder made of? I'd expect a watch of this quality to have had a ruby originally, but these were often replaced later with steel ones if they were ever damaged.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  22. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Shiny, here's a close-up photo of the coin-edged case. :)

    Barwise - coin edged case.jpg
     
  23. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    F J Britten Old Clocks and Watches and their makers has :-
    Barwise Nathanel London Clockmaker 1770
    Barwise Lott Cockermouth 1770
    Barwise John 29 St Martins lane 1790
    Barwise John jnr & Weston 1820-42
    I am not sure if this helps
     
  24. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    Wow! It's super nice. Look how thick!
    You really did well, Jon.
    Question is, are you going to leave any for the rest of us? ;)
     
  25. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Graham,

    The gentleman who sold me this watch can't remember whether the cylinder is steel or ruby. Is this something that I can easily determine myself by looking at the movement (with your guidance!), or is it more involved?

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  26. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Sure thing, Shiny. In fact, I think I'll have no choice but to leave at least some for the rest of you. I'm paying university tuition bills for three of my five children this year, so I'm afraid that I'm quickly running out of extra spending money!! ;)

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,

    It's not easy to see the cylinder without removing the balance, but as you won't be doing that, (I hope not anyway . . . ), you might be able to see it from the edge of the movement with some good lighting. The ruby cylinder (A) is mounted in a frame like this, but if the cylinder has been replaced by a steel one, the banking pin (B) may also have been changed from the position shown to the edge of the balance wheel.

    English Cylinder Frame.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  28. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Les,

    Yes, it sure does - thanks!

    My gut feeling is that John Sr was the watchmaker because of the high quality of this timepiece. However, it's certainly possible that it was made by one of John's sons (either John Jr or Weston) under his supervision.

    Following Marty's suggestion, I'm going to send photos of the watch to the British Museum and request their comments. With some luck, maybe they'll be able to settle this!

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  29. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Graham,

    Rest assured that I won't be attempting to remove the balance!! However, I'll take a look from the edge of the movement and will let you know if I can see the cylinder.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  30. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    Jon, I have Chronometer Makers of the World by Tony Mercer. It does deal only with chronometers and that makes it useful to determine whether a maker of a standard pocket watch also made chronometers, which helps to determine the skills and quality capability of that maker.

    It also gives more detailed data on the makers than Loomes, and dscribes much of the technical work they did and gives examples of their chronometers wth serial numbers and dates.

    There is also an extensive section dealing with the history of chronometer making.

    I think the book is readily available and still in print. Not expensive and very useful for a collector of English watches.
     
  31. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,

    Just found a better picture of a ruby cylinder:

    English_Ruby_Cylinder.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  32. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    You should do what I did about 30 years ago when I wanted to know more about my Tompion and Graham recent acquisitions. Catch a plane to London and make an appointment to visit one of the Docents at the Horological Student's Room. Since I did not know to call ahead I was told to come back in two days (which I did) and was escorted by Jeremy Evans who not only examined and discussed my watches with me but also opened the cabinets to show me some very fine examples by J. F. Cole that I was interested in seeing and quite a few others that came up in the course of our 2 hour conversation. :D

    If you ever get interested in Chronometers, you will receive equally splendid treatment from the staff and volunteers at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and most other English museums.
     
  33. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Thanks for the info, Marty. I just ordered Mercer's book and look forward to reading it.
     
  34. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Tom,

    You know, I just may take your advice and visit the British Museum some time over the coming months. I haven't been to London for many years, and that would certainly give me a good excuse to make the trip.

    I mentioned the potential visit to my oldest daughter, the only one of my kids who is really interested in my collection of antique pocket watches. She's thrilled at the prospect of tagging along!

    If we do end up catching a plane across The Pond, I'll be sure to call ahead to the Museum a few days beforehand!! ;)

    Best,

    Jon
     
  35. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Thanks, Graham. This is quite helpful. I'll let you know what I find!

    By the way, I read up on how a cylinder works, but I'm not sure I understand the advantage of using a ruby instead of plain steel. Was it a matter of less friction or of greater durability?

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  36. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, a photo of my "Barwise" Movement. Only 2 serial numbers from your one. Regards Ray 2.jpg
     
  37. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jon,
    Being harder, I guess it was a bit of both, although the hardness came at the cost of brittleness, and the difficulty of replacement if it did get cracked.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  38. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    Here's another picture of a ruby cylinder, courtesy of DaveyG :)

    90366 13 Unknown.jpg

    You can just about make out the pink tint of the ruby.

    If you decide to come to London, Jon, and want some company on your trip to the British and/or Greenwich Museums, do let me know. Whilst I have seen both collections (or at least what small part they display) a few times I have never yet arranged an organised visit such as Tom has suggested.
     
  39. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Ray,

    Wow - what a coincidence that the movement of my Barwise watch is only 2 serial numbers from yours!! I bet it would be fun to calculate the odds of that happening - maybe you and I should both play the lottery! ;)

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  40. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Thanks, Marty - I'd definitely like to take you up on your kind offer if I do decide to visit London. I'm sure your knowledge and expertise would prove invaluable. For example, although I've of course heard of the British Museum, I'm not familiar with the Greenwich Museum.

    By the way, I happen to be personal friends with the new U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., Matthew Barzun. Maybe you can join us for tea and cucumber sandwiches at the Ambassador's residence! ;)

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  41. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    The Royal Maritime Museum is located in Greenwich. It is also the location of the prime meridian and the Royal Greenwich Observatory that marks the Prime Meridian "Where Time Begins." You will want to read up on those facilities before going to get the most out of the trip.

    Of course if you are going to get seriously interested in time, you need to bring your daughter to the Ward Francillon time Symposium in Pasadena in November on Time for Everyone where all aspects of time but in particular precision timekeeping will be discussed. Many of the folks who are key players in English Horology will be there and it promises to be an outstanding event.
     
  42. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Tom,

    Oh, that's good to know. It would be interesting to see the spot that marks the prime meridian. Along those lines, I'm planning to take my family on vacation next summer to the Galapagos Islands. While we're in the area, we'll be stopping by the monument in Ecuador that marks the location of the equator.

    I'm afraid I won't have time this November to go to the Ward Francillon Time Symposium, but next year is a possibility. Is the Symposium held every year?

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  43. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    The theme next year is French Horology but the location has not been set. It will most likely be in Florida the third week in October.

    This year's event is one of those international extravaganzas that only occur every 20 years or so. The last event of this magnitude was the Longitude Symposium held at Harvard University in the 90's. This event will mostly be held at The California Institute of Technology.
     
  44. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    Hi Tom,

    Oh good - Florida!! I can combine it with a trip to Disney World. That would be about my 30th visit to Disney over the past 28 years - we've taken our kids there at least once every single year (sometimes more than once!). I know, we must be crazy, but we do it for the kids... :screwball:

    Best,

    Jon
     
  45. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    What is the opposite of an oxymoron? :excited:
     
  46. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    You get all sorts here don't you :p

    Tautology gets my vote Yoda

    The Yoda is apropos of nothing - just always wanted to use it :coolsign:
     
  47. Omexa

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    #47 Omexa, Sep 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2013
    "Tautology" is that a measure of how much tension to apply to a Fusee Chain? Regards Ray
    Actually tautology would be the study of tautioning chains. Usually we call that tautness but that can be confused with the ability of a student to learn from a teacher.
     
  48. Jon C.

    Jon C. Registered User

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    You horolophiles are just too funny!! ;)
     
  49. Louis Christina

    Louis Christina Registered User
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    I really like the hands, perfect for that dial, to me, it makes for a very attractive look.
    I notice that the process for making the dial must have been very similar to the way Howard black dials were made, where the white enamel is cover with a black layer of enamel, with the black layer removed as to form the numbers and lines.
    I guess it's a much more difficult process, explaining why there are few black dials seen like yours.
     
  50. MartyR

    MartyR Registered User
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    Wow, Louis, how did you deduce that?

    And Jon, is he right about that? I wonder why anyone would do it that way.
     

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