Thomas Perry, New York, 1763

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Keith R..., Sep 25, 2018.

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  1. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Thomas Perry,1763 New York Verge, #1403.

    Upon first communicating with John Matthews, his thought was case maker John
    Bingley 63/64. I have since discovered by the seller, a slip of paper from the owner
    stating Jasper Brooker. I vote with John M. (what say you)? I say this, as the executor
    of the estate, indicates the watch owner was a relative, who independently collected
    watches. I generally follow John, Graham and Ray on this board, so I will lean with
    Bingley. Much will depend on what notes from the collector I can decipher and pass
    on to the team.

    Ray (Omexa) found through the AHS, watch papers out of Rhode Island that include
    a jeweler named Thomas Perry. This is not an uncommon practice, for in 1763, 200
    miles distance to New York, they would sign it New York. This same AHS site has 6
    of my watch papers for Oliver Gerrish watch, Portland Maine.

    Graham Morse had the duty to tell me the champleve dial was long gone, as were
    the beetle & poker hands. Guys, teach me how to spell the name of that dial.

    The most that I can tell about the watch looks authentic, with a Tompion regulator,
    pierced cock, and what appears to be a gold balance wheel. Now we know the case
    is English, movement English, but it appears to some extent, finished in America.
    At this point, pending observations of more knowledgeable collectors, I'm calling
    this an American Colonial Verge, (in working order I might add). I down loaded
    the AHS watch paper, but will have to see if I can publish their watch paper with
    this Find. I almost forgot, it has a calendar function, with a viewing port below the
    pinion and above the 6, currently showing day 30.

    The watch should arrive by Friday, at which point I can take our own photos of this
    old New York verge. Ray or John, could probably tell you how nervous I was upon
    finding this old watch, that nobody was watching. I can say at least one other bidder
    thought like me and left me with a thank you moment, (as under bidder).

    Please feel free to discuss this watch, as we build consensus on this English/American
    Verge pocket watch. The outer case is about 2.25 inches, the dial plate about 45MM.

    Note, Tom M. has mentioned we might take advantage of what Tom has worked on in
    our Media section of the board, split between the Colonial and Federal periods. This
    will allow other collectors to place photos of their American Colonial examples, for
    educational viewing.

    As you folks know me, more to follow:

    Keith R...

    jj763 (800x600).jpg jj750 (800x600).jpg jj752 (800x600).jpg jj753 (800x600).jpg jj751 (800x600).jpg
     
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  2. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Keith,

    I have been able to track down your Thomas Perry to New York, late of London. First reference 1749. By 1767 associated with Mervin Perry, his son, who continued until at least 1776. Thomas died in 1774. Attached are pages from AHS publication by Carter Harris, compilation of adverts from the American Colonies and States [1707 to 1800].

    John

    Thomas Perry American Advertiser 343.jpg Thomas Perry American Advertiser 344.jpg Thomas Perry American Advertiser 345.jpg Thomas Perry American Advertiser 346.jpg
     
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  3. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi Keith, John has done a top job of research on your Pocket Watch. Regards Ray
     
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  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Keith,

    I believe I'd said that the dial damage was typical of the positioning of the case bolt through a slot at 6, which was a design hangover from champlevé into enamel dials, but not that this watch would ever have had a champlevé dial. It's rather too late for that to be a possibility. The hands though certainly would have been beetle and poker.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Graham

    I don't ever remember seeing an enamel dial with the date visible through an aperture in the dial, which is often the case with champlevé dials having date functionality. Do you agree it is somewhat unusual?

    Also, with this design is there a facility to advance the date, apart from rotation the hands through 24 hours?

    John
     
  6. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #6 Keith R..., Sep 25, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
    John................WOW!!! It does not get any better than reading post #2, from left to right. It's as if we
    are living in that History! John, this is quite amazing. It states that Thomas moved here from London
    was making and importing watches from England in the period. His son right there with him.

    After all the drama on the home front, having this, wipes all bad out with one sweep!! John Matthews
    is a Knight for sure!

    I'd most definitely say American Colonial!!!! Graham, Champleve dials must have been early 1700's,
    (see what these guys put up with from me). Team, you've made my day!!!

    OH.............Other good news, the 1828 Vale & Rotherman cased watch came in. I was just getting
    ready to remove the dust cover and thought, wait a minute, guy said it was untested, no key. So pick
    through about 5 keys, found one, gave her a wind counter clockwise...............and here I wait till it
    shuts down, (this also the one with Patent on cock foot, but seller left dust cap on).

    Today is like Christmas, in September!!!! John, we were typing at the same time.

    Note, Thomas Perry was living in New York in 1749 and forward.

    Keith R...
     
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  7. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi, Like John, I have never seen an enamel dial with the date visible through an aperture in the dial. Regards Ray
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    The movement does match the case dating, and I'd be extremely surprised if this did originally wear a champlevé dial at this late date. Enamel dials were being fitted quite widely from the late 1730s onwards following George Graham's lead. I know one should never say 'never' in such matters, but by the 1760s they were very much out of fashion. I agree that the window for the date is indeed unusual but again, we're constantly surprised by anomalies. In the absence of a setting lever or pin holes in the date disc, the date could only be advanced by moving the hands round a day at a time.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  9. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    You beat me to it Graham, I was just going to write that the Enamel Dial may be the original. Regards Ray
     
  10. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    I just thought that you should wear appropriate clothing when you wear this Pocket Watch Keith; suggestion for a Cap. Regards Ray

    Kentucky Cap.jpg
     
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  11. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Graham - interestingly, when I went to the English Watch ...

    In the introduction to The Fourth Period 1725 - 1775

    'Enamel dials became increasingly popular and were probably in the majority by about 1740.'
    but then I found a George Graham example with a champlevé dial dated 1750/51

    'Although he had been fitting enamel dials for some time, it would seem some of Graham's customers had a preference for metal ...'

    So if it originally had a metal dial, that was subsequently replaced by an enamel dial that looks 'in period' would it be possible to tell? I have never handled a watch with a champlevé dial, so I don't know whether the method of fixing would have left traces if the dial was replaced. Looking at the dial, the only thing I noticed was that the central aperture looks oversize, but I assumed this was because it would have been that size to accommodate the original hands - so that does not help.

    John
     
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  12. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    They were fixed in exactly the same way, with feet pinned into a brass edge, so there's no trace as a rule, unless the positions of the dial feet have been moved. The only slight difference is that the central reserve with the signature was usually a separate disc held in place solely by the brass edge. The central hole wouldn't be so apparent underneath the larger hour hand boss.

    DSCF3942.JPG

    As I said, 'never say never' . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Thanks Graham - so now it's wait and see until it can be examined.
     
  14. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Thanks team, home run yet again!

    I would assume this one will be in line behind the Lawrance rack lever, in restoration. The good news about
    the Perry watch, is it runs.

    Keith R...
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Keith,

    I believe you've been lucky with this, in the sense that if you wind a watch without having a good look at the movement first you are taking a certain risk. Did you take the cap off before winding it?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  16. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #16 Keith R..., Sep 25, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
    Nope, but I only gave 2 winds. If I can get it too shut down by 5 PM EST, I could get pics in before
    midnight your time Graham. Two being 1/2 and 1/2 = 1 full wind.

    Keith R...

    Edit, pulled the cap, Mich Watson, 7J New Castle, #343. Lever.
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Keith,

    I tend to take a more cautious approach, especially with fusees, because it's all too easy to damage the chain or the fusee if, for instance, when wound it isn't seated properly in the groove and jumps over into the next turn. I try and follow the rule of looking carefully before moving anything. You could end up giving extra work to your watchmakers!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  18. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Keith

    Michael Watson, Newcastle upon Tyne 1801-1829 (Loomes). I also have him listed as a watch & clock maker in a trade directory of 1801 at Denton Chaire, Newcastle - a narrow alley that still exists - see photograph.

    upload_2018-9-25_23-24-23.png

    By 1827 he had moved ...

    upload_2018-9-25_23-33-17.png

    From the case I suspect that this watch was made by Vale & Rother(h)am engraved, either by them or locally, with the name of Watson and retailed in Newcastle.

    John
     
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  19. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Thanks much John. BTW, tried my spare outer case and thought I'd save it for something higher end.

    Keith R...
     
  20. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    The good news, the watch arrived, the other good news, it ticks.

    The bad news, there's no way to flip it out of the inner case without
    using the dial. The sellers photo had the leftover metal piece to grab,
    evidently they broke that off to flip it out and take auction pics.

    So since it ticks, I'll just wait until sent in and serviced and that issue
    can be addressed then.

    Keith R...

    100_3275 (800x600).jpg
     
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  21. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Still dark, I need more light.

    Keith R...

    100_3279 (800x600).jpg
     
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  22. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi Keith, I know that you are in the deep Dark South of the USA; how about on the Veranda of the Log Cabin? More light. I take a lot of my photos on the Balcony in the Natural Light. Regards Ray
     
  23. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I sent you a reply to your email Ray. I should get some time tomorrow to fiddle with it.

    Keith R...
     
  24. Rich Newman

    Rich Newman Chair
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    Keith, thanks for sharing. Unfortunately I don't get to spend as much time as I would like on the MB but so glad I saw your posting. Some background information & articles on American colonials can be found on my research website, colonialwatches.com. There is also a decent list of references (link on the top of the home page) that may be helpful. I'm always glad to share like so many NAWCC members. Here is some additional information...

    Firstly, I think that the information you have already received is spot on - - so many great experts on the MB. The number of surviving American-signed watches that are truly colonial period are few.

    I agree that the dial is original and I am quite sure because I recalled seeing a similar dial with date showing through the aperture and surprise, surprise, it's on another Thomas Perry watch that I saw auctioned on eBay many years ago in 2005. That was number #1426 and has the same case hallmarks (London Assay, Maker & Date Letter) and same dial, but the movement layout, that is also original to this other watch, is different than yours. The eBay pictures are attached (sorry for the poor quality but that's all I have). The listing said:

    "rare important watch! hall marked for london in 1763 the watch was made by thomas perry who was originally from england & moved to new york to operate there ~ my references tell me he was active from 1749 till his death in 1774 ~ a rare watch for many reasons ~ first off it was all above the boards with the taxes being paid on it ~ must have belonged to an important person in the day as it has a calendar function as well ~ outer case measures 52 mm diameter ~ most of the button to open/close is gone but otherwise in fine condition with several watch repair papers in the rear ~ one from watchmaker newton of newton mass & another from a member of the luther goddard family of watchmakers in ashland mass ~ 5 knuckles on the outer case with 7 on the inner which originally had a moveable plate over the winding hole in the rear ~ glass bull's eye crystal is good ~ nice enamel dial with a repair at the movement catch down by the 6 ~ great gold hands ~ the fire gilded verge fusee movement is signed tho perry ~ New York ~ 1426 & was recently serviced & is in good running order running the full length of the chain & keeping relatively good time for a verge (about 10-15 minutes a day fast) ~ the movement is bright& clean with deep purple screws~ a bice ornament & squared pillars ~ calendar function works correctly as well "​

    From what I can see from your pictures and information I've recorded on the other Thomas Perry, I think its very likely to assume that he imported a batch of watches from an unknown agent in London who supplied these watches. Having his name engraved on the back plate may indicate that these were his top of the line watches that he offered to his clients. I think one angle of research that could be very interesting would be to try to hunt down more about these very unusual dials. They show that Perry wanted the now popular enamel dials and the supplier was perhaps able to use-up movements that were at one-time intended to have a champleve dial to a maker/retailer located far away in the British colonies. Fun to speculate....

    You can see from the advertisements in Carter Harris' book (posted above) that his son, Mervin was also in the business. You can find some wonderful information about another recorded colonial, this one from his son, Mervin Perry, that was published in the research section of the December, 2002 Bulletin. That short article has a few additional references that will be helpful to you.

    dial 2.jpg dial 3.jpg inner case hallmark.jpg movement.jpg paper george goddard.jpg paper newton.jpg side.jpg signature.jpg
     
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  25. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Rich, thanks so much for the info on another Perry watch observed from about 2005.
    The movement layout would be in "opposite hand" to Perry #1403, with the Tompion
    disk on the opposing side, as well as movement internals in general.

    Rich, I would be well pleased with plus ten minutes per day after service on this old watch.
    Odd that I already have a serviced verge from 1807 with a calendar function, but I was
    more interested in having one of these colonial watches in a serviced and working state.

    Thanks so much for the additional information that I can follow up on, in research of this
    watch. John Matthews had provided us with a wealth of advertisements regarding him and
    his son Mervin, in post #2. I look forward to researching this watch maker and his son.

    Thank you again for your valuable input Rich. Here is my working calendar verge that will
    satisfy my calendar needs, if one were to prod me on the Perry date showing in the
    view port. Graham explains the issue in post #8, with the date following the evolution of
    the hands on a 24 hour basis.

    Keith R...

    jj544 (800x800).jpg jj546 (800x800).jpg
     
  26. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    I figured if Rich could take the time to do a write up, I could attempt
    a few photos with better light. I owe it to Ray if no one else.

    We are trying to get ready for the annual Richmond Hill farm party
    set for Saturday.

    So, thanks to all for the participation and having horological interest
    that reaches back about 255 years.

    Keith R...

    100_3281 (800x600).jpg 100_3277 (800x600).jpg 100_3288 (800x600).jpg
     
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  27. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi Keith, those photos are a definite improvement. "It's a little Fatty with a short Neck" Regards Ray
     
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  28. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    We're moving the "Little Fatty with the Short Neck" up in my schedule, with CWCo NH.
    I'm sending it to NH tomorrow.

    Keith R...
     
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  29. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    A very desirable item! I am glad to hear that the evidence is now in favour of the originality of the dial; as Graham has said, it is perfectly in keeping for the period.

    I remember reading in an old NAWCC magazine (which I still have in theory, but it has buried itself in one of the industrial-archaeology spoil-heaps amid which I live) that the earliest known American watchmaker, as opposed to watch-retailer, was Thomas Harland of Norwich, Connecticut. I believe that no watches by him survive (although some clocks do), but the article reproduced newspaper advertisements in which he expressly declared that he supplied watches of his own make as well as those he imported from England. This, however, was not until the 1780s, so that Thomas Perry in 1763 was taking the only available route whereby an American tradesman could offer a brand-new (if we discount the time it had spent at sea) watch for sale.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  30. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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    Hi Keith, I think you should Name this Pocket Watch; "Oliver Hardy". I am getting over yesterdays celebration after the decision by my Doctors to discharge me from Hospital as no sign of Cancer after nearly 5 years. They want to see me again in 5 years. My surgeon Mr Patrick (Paddy) Bade asked to email him more photos of my Pocket Watches; over the years we have become friends. Regards Ray
     
  31. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    Wonderful news, Ray!

    I once dubbed an enormous Swiss verge 'Mrs. Gamp', after Dickens's drunken nurse, because it was fat, overblown, unreliable and (since it professed to be English) thoroughly dishonest. What sort of watch could one call 'Stan', I wonder?

    Oliver Mundy.
     
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  32. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Ray told me the news last night. I no longer drink and glad of it, but I chased down
    about 3 big glasses of blue Gatorade, then stayed up half the night getting rid of it.
    So hat's off to the Doctors that have been banging on him for years!

    Maybe ole Hardy gave him luck. I sent "Hardy" in this morning and Denis took note
    about the chip in the dial and that the calendar function works in conjunction with
    rotation of the hands. Having a watch you might run twice a year, the calendar date
    is irrelevant. While I'm on this watch, I believe that Perry would have at least finished
    the watch, as he and his son were watch makers according to what's been recorded
    about them.

    Carignan Watch Co. is moving forward on the Lawrance rack, as a dial has been
    found they can work with. So Ray's good luck is rubbing off.

    I'll keep us posted on "Hardy" and the Lawrance rack.

    Keith R...
     
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  33. Tim Fitzgerald

    Tim Fitzgerald Registered User
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    Hi Keith
    Congratulations on your Important historical find. I'm sure happy for you. Also a great story.
    TimFitz
     
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  34. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Thanks Tim, Ray named this one appropriately (Hardy), Like Laurel & Hardy............:)

    CWCo. NH will get this one by Tuesday.

    Keith R...

    View attachment 497433

    100_3281 (800x600).jpg
     
  35. Rich Newman

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    Oliver, I know of 4 or 5 watches signed by Thomas Harland. One is in the collection at Winterthur, the rest in private hands. I have also started to record occurrences of Harland-signed watches in surviving 18th-century repair account books to try to get a better understanding of the number of watches he sold and dates. Most recently, Andy Dervan presented his analysis of an account book at the Ward Francillon Time Symposium (held at the Henry Ford Museum) which included a Harland watch repaired in 1793. Good fun...
     

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