Saturday, 10 May 2014

Rotherham, 19J Keyless, 1891 - But did they make it all?

This is the earliest size 12, 19J Rotherham I have seen, it is not signed by them but the serial number matches that of the case which carries their hallmark and the date code for 1891/2 which is consistent with Rotherham serial number on watches I have seen from this period. The top plate is typically Rotherham and is shown on the right.

But when the dial is removed the bottom plate turns out to be in two pieces which is typical of the smaller makers in Coventry who were using ebauché (kits of parts) from the Coventry Watch Movement Company.

 If you compare the pictures below you can see that these two are the same apart from:
  • The fixing of the winding and setting gears and
  • The left having 15 Jewels and the right 19 jewels - note the 4 extra screws on the lever and escape jewels on the right hand movement bottom right, these are securing the end jewels whilst with the movement on the left you can just see the end of the pivots which the end jewels hide, click the image for a larger view.
But the one on the left is signed on the plate by Newsome.

3/4 plate S12, Keyless
by Rotherham 1891
3/4 plate,S12 Keyless
Signed by Newsome 1894

Newsome is know to have been using CWMC ebauché whilst Rotherham are recorded as being "self contained" with their own plate making capacity when the CWMC was formed in 1888.

But it would appear that for this watch Rotherham bought in the plates or an ebauché, perhaps whilst they were still developing this size of keyless movement or less likely, I think, they subcontracted the entire manufacture to one of the smaller Coventry makers and had them use the Rotherham style top plate and setting mechanism.

Who ever made the plates etc. it is still a cracking watch!

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