What can be told about my pocket watch?

Cona

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Apr 18, 2021
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Hello. I inherited this Eardley norton pocket watch from my late grandmother and it would be relly nice to know a little about it. I think I'll let the pictures do the talking. Unfortunately it seems to be in pretty bad condition please let me know if you think it could be worthy of some expert maintanence. Thanks alot in advance!

IMG_20210418_123654.jpg IMG_20210418_123716.jpg IMG_20210418_123840.jpg IMG_20210418_123951.jpg IMG_20210418_124013.jpg IMG_20210418_124025.jpg IMG_20210418_124040.jpg IMG_20210418_124059.jpg IMG_20210418_124303.jpg IMG_20210418_124508.jpg IMG_20210418_124659.jpg IMG_20210418_124756.jpg IMG_20210418_124811.jpg
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Cona,

The case hallmarks, as far as I can tell, are attempting to represent English marks, but they are poor copies and are not genuine, which throws doubt on the validity of the signatures on the movement and dial. The layout of the top plate is rather odd, and the quality of the engraving is modest to say the least. The real Eardley Norton was a well-regarded watchmaker working in London 1762-92, and was quite widely faked at the time and later, and I'm afraid that I believe your watch to be one of those fakes.

If it was a genuine Norton I'd say that it would be worth restoring, but as its origins are in doubt, I don't think it would be worth spending the money, even allowing for the fact that it's a family piece.

Regards,

Graham
 

Cona

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Apr 18, 2021
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Hi Cona,

The case hallmarks, as far as I can tell, are attempting to represent English marks, but they are poor copies and are not genuine, which throws doubt on the validity of the signatures on the movement and dial. The layout of the top plate is rather odd, and the quality of the engraving is modest to say the least. The real Eardley Norton was a well-regarded watchmaker working in London 1762-92, and was quite widely faked at the time and later, and I'm afraid that I believe your watch to be one of those fakes.

If it was a genuine Norton I'd say that it would be worth restoring, but as its origins are in doubt, I don't think it would be worth spending the money, even allowing for the fact that it's a family piece.

Regards,

Graham
Thanks so much Graham for the reply!

After reading all threads on similar items on this forum I also had my doubts but really nice to get things clarified, thank you.
I Will hold on to it for coming generations, as it still is a really cool, older than one can imagine item. I just wish someone knew the owner history behind it and who all those people were that it has helped keeping the time through the times.
 

MrRoundel

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Graham is one of the ones to listen to here, especially on British (or perhaps copies of British) watches. But I have to say that this one would have fooled me over on this side of "the pond".

This fusee has a nicely pierced balance-cock, with a small arrow quiver icon, nicely made dust-cover, and a calendar function. I don't think the calendar was a common feature, but I'm not sure. The silver hallmarked case looks like many other cases I've seen from the time period. But I admit that I don't know didley about Eardley.

It does seem to be missing the fusee chain. Those are available in what I believe are pretty standard-ish sizing. But they do take a bit of a specialist to work on them successfully, methinks. And you don't know what else it might need. One thing to note is that people who work on such watches aren't growing on young trees and who knows who will be left to work on these watches many years from now. If you have the spare money to spend on making the heirloom functional, you might consider getting an estimate on the repair. If not, who will? I'm having a case worked on by a case specialist right now for the same reasons. It's a real specialty craft, that takes specialty tools. JMHO. Cheers.
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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Apart from the points Graham has made regarding the movement and particularly the fact that the signature should always set the alarm bells ringing, as it is one that regularly appears on movements of dubious origin, the hallmarks on this case are exceedingly poor attempts to deceive.

1618810178864.png

Here is a genuine set of London marks from the period ...

1618811028979.png

Note particularly what a genuine Leopard's head should look like (London assay office), The maker's mark <AP> has never been registered by a marker in that form at the London Office, according to the references I have (all marks not just those of case makers). For the period that Norton was working, duty marks were only used between 1784 & 1788 and the date letters for that period were lower case 'i', 'k', 'l' & 'm'. The second example is for 1786/7 and shows the correct form of the right facing duty mark.

John
 
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gmorse

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Hi MrRoundel,
This fusee has a nicely pierced balance-cock, with a small arrow quiver icon, nicely made dust-cover, and a calendar function. I don't think the calendar was a common feature, but I'm not sure. The silver hallmarked case looks like many other cases I've seen from the time period.
I have to disagree with you about the balance cock; the piercing has left a lot of obvious drilled holes, which aren't evident in good work, and the engraving is very sketchy. The slide plate, which carries the regulator disc, is here made in one piece with the barrel bar where the signature is, and English watches almost always had these two parts separately constructed; they had entirely different functions. From the signs of green corrosion evident, the gilding is probably quite thinly applied as well.

The cap is adequately made, but is not quite in the style of the period, and it also has an unnecessary opening cut to show the 'endstone' on the balance cock. The regulator square is so close to the domed area that it would be impossible to fit a key on it with the cap in place.

Calendar work is not uncommon in this period although still in a minority.

John has covered the hallmarks very well in his post; hallmarks have to be read in the context of the whole set. Pair cases were the standard at this time but some of the detail contributes to the 'wrong' feeling. The Swiss makers of these things were capable of producing some very plausible copies of English (and Dutch) work, which would fool most of the people most of the time!

Regards,

Graham
 
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John Matthews

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One point I forgot to make. Watches like this were made principally for the foreign markets, not for the English market. In such markets, comparison with genuine English made examples, it was anticipated, would not be readily made. As a result examples like this today are more likely to be found outside the UK.

John
 

Cona

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Apr 18, 2021
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Actually even the word "London" seems exotic to me! And unusual shape of the pair case spring.
Regards enrico
Hi, and thank you all for the interesting inputs so far. Even now that we have established that the watch probably is a fake, could anyone dare to take a guess around what year and where this forgery might have taken place? Graham already mentioned that the Swiss might be the guilty ones? Also very interesting why put down so much effort on making something so detailed like this when they maybe could have done their own thing? But I guess the branding thing was the point and where the money lied as the case with many things are still to this day.

Thank you John, that makes sense since there seems now to be at least 2 threads just on this forum on similiar watches started by people from Finland same as me. Althought the names engraved on the back of the outer "shell" of my watch does not sound finnish but then again, Finland had been part Sweden prior to this and then came to be part of Russia around this time (1809). By the way, is there someone with an eye for such thing dare to try and decipher what those names are engraved on the watch (picture no. 2)?

Thanks again for all the quick replies and interesting discussions, much appreciated.

Regards,
Conny
 

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