Tobias London silver pocket watch (expertise wanted)

yantarev

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Apr 23, 2012
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Hello!

I want to share my Tobias (?) watch with this community and ask for any information on my pocket watch.
They come from my grandma and this is all what i know.

Text on back side:
Tobias London
Detach'd lever
hands
13 jewels

#37449
parachute & compensator

Please tell me anything you know.
 

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richiec

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Feb 24, 2007
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A picture of the movement would be helpful. This looks like a Swiss movement, likely a bar type or lepine style which Tobias would not have produced but the company would have imported.
 

Dr. Jon

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Really interewsting watch. Does it have any date letter stamped in the case. The watch looks like it might be a very early lever. It i smarked that it has a compensated balance and parachute. The compensation is a bimetallic rim on the balance wheel for most watches made after about 1800 but yours has compensation curb. is that arc shaped piece with two parallel pieces. PArachute is a very early form of shock resistance invented or ata least popularized by Breguet.

It has a lot more decoration than usual for watches sent to the UK market. It is very unusual.

The marking "hands" marks the hole for inerting the key to set the watch.

Today detached lever is largely redundant, all levers made today are detached. This means that, except when powering the balance, the lever is detached from the balance. From about 1810 to 1820 some makers were using a rack lever. This had gear teeth with connected the balance ot the lever through the power and rest parts of teh cycle. This suggest this period for the date.
 

yantarev

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Apr 23, 2012
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Thank you, im surprised, really.
Yes, it have marks on every part. But some need good zoom to be deciphered. But no dates, as i can see. Only "logotypes" and some numbers, like serial on dust cover (start with same numbers 37)
What photos i should provide to get more info, if it possible?
 

Dr. Jon

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My bad communications!

If the case was made in the UK and is Sterling silver it has English hallmarks. These are stamp[ed into it. There are different setd for the different places it could be hallmarked. If you see letters thay re probably date letters. The letter and font as well as a city mark determine the year of manufacture.

If the case was Swiss made, and sold as SIlver UK law requried that it be hallmarked on import, This law was ignored more than obeyed, but the thing to look for is a letter, stamped into the case in several places.

The serial number, if it matches the movement, is nice but all it says is that the case is either original or was special made later fo rthe watch. I have no doubt yours is in its original case.
Thus tihs number provides no additional information.

BTW, welcome to the NAWCC message board. Giving watch and clock owners information is something we do hopefully to attract memebrs and enthusiasts.
There is a lot of material on the net on English Hall marks
 

DaveyG

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Mar 21, 2005
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The term detached lever was commonly applied, in the UK, to movements with the Massey type escapement which was, probably, the first of the widely used escapements that were truly detached. The rack lever was introduced into English watchmaking following it's patent by Peter Litherland in 1792, although it was devised many years earlier in France. The rack lever is not truly detached but was often marked as such. I would wholeheartedly agree that the watch is of Swiss design and construction but whether imported by Tobias or one of the many 'copies' can't really be determined from the pictures, although I would suspect imported by the family. The lever escapement has never been patented and there is no evidence that I know of that will positively determine, how, by whom and when it was developed; the year 1825 has been put forward as a date that saw the lever escapement appear but this is one of those 'nobody really knows' finger in the wind facts. The Swiss, to the best of my knowledge, didn't produce either rack or Massey lever escapements so unless the escapement was fitted in the UK I would suspect an early lever escapement and I would estimate the date at perhaps a little later than Dr Jon, between 1825 - 1840. Certainly a very interesting watch. The parachute shock system and compensated curb pins was a system used by Breguet, I believe initially, to protect not the staff & pivots but the ruby cylinder of which he was so fond.
 

yantarev

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Apr 23, 2012
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This morning i made better pics, so experts can clearly see each logo and mark.
Please take a look and give me more details. You all (im really excited) already give me a lot. But i want to specify what year, where and how.
Please help me to gather more info on grandma watch.

On movement i can see same ID or serial, as on dust cover. Also you can see Tobias logo on movement too.
On back 'door' i clearly see logo ARGENT and PFH 11399.

Biggest surprise about this watch – it still working and correct!
This is my desktop item No1 now – always on my desk showing time.
 

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Dr. Jon

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Lovely engraving on the watch. That small chevron with the notation "Argent" is the Nuechatel hallmark for silver.

This link http://www.silver-collector.com/topic2315.html states that the fineness was .812 which is why the watch has no UK hallmark even if it had been imported into the UK. The minimum standard for UK silver was sterling at .925. The mark was in use for too long to make is useful for establishing a date. Minimum in many palces was 0.800 so this case, although not sterling, is still pretty good.
 

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