Saturday, 25 October 2014

Naughty Mr Ehrhardt.

This is a 1910 series by Wm Ehrhardt branded "The British Watch Co" one of their trading names after 1921. They come up very infrequently and this was the first one that required some work on the winding and setting mechanism and what did I find?

Ehrhardt. had ripped off the design of the shifting sleeve setting mechanism from the Waltham 1899/1908 models. They are in fact identical and to fix this watch I used a small piece part from a Waltham.

Not that it did them much good as they stopped manufacturing not long after this example was made whilst Waltham continued making pocket watches until just after WWII and wrist watches until 1957.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hunter vs Open Faced construction:

You may think it is a trivial change to turn an Open Faced watch to a Hunter by just changing the position of the winder. However on a keyless watch there is normally rather more to it as these photo's of Rotherham 19 jewel movements from 1896 demonstrate. Although many of the internal components are the same (if the watches are the same size) you can see that the Hunter on the right is a near mirror image of the open faced on the left.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

How not to clean a movement

An unsigned Benson "Bank" type
cleaned with metal polish.
(Click for a larger view)
In a previous post I explained in some detail how I clean a watch movement, here we have an example of what can happen if metal polish is used too vigorously.

This movement is a recently restored unsigned J.W. Benson "Bank" type which I believe to have been made by P & A Guye as explained here.

At some time in the past, probably fairly recently, metal polish has been used to clean the top plate, this has removed the gilt finish.

Although it looks rather better than the picture would suggest the top plate no longer matches the balance cock or the bottom plate and the value of the watch has been substantially reduced.

You have been warned!

Watch Identification

Many English and Swiss manufacturers did not mark their products when they were to be sold on by another maker or a re-seller.

I am sometimes asked how the maker can be identified, frequently of course they can't be, particularly when the movement was from a small English maker or from many of the Swiss makers, when, particularly in the late 19th century,  several makers made what was essentially the same movement.

The task is not helped by some makers imitating the cosmetic features of a more famous maker such as Omega or Waltham. Others movements were deliberately made to appear to be a classic English 3/4 plate or a Waltham 1883 model with the normal French markings of A / R for fast / slow removed so as not to give the game away.

On some occasions identification it is down to experience and comparing an unmarked example with a movement that is marked, although perhaps under a different name such as Vertex which was a trade name of Revue Thommen.

Just occasionally a movement marked for a re-seller slips through that does have a trade mark or name on it. This high grade Benson just finish restoration is, I think, only the second example of a Revue for Benson that I have seen which does have a trade mark.