Friday, 4 September 2015

J.G. Graves The "Express English Lever"

The "Express English Lever" signed by
J.G. Graves and hallmarked 1902.
John Graves was an important man in Sheffield owning a substantial department store and mail order company later part of Great Universal Stores. Originally apprenticed as a watchmaker he also sold a lot of watches.

This is one of the most common found today, branded The "Express English Lever" and signed by him. Although it used standard full plate movements of the early 1890's it does have a couple of interesting aspects.

Firstly although it is English and does have a lever movement it is not an "English Lever" but has a "Swiss lever" escapement laid out tangentially in the manner of the "English Lever".

LWC version engraved for Graves. The model was
referred to by the LWC as the "Dummy" for the
additional wheel to give anti-clockwise winding.

Perhaps more interesting is that movements were supplied, at times concurrently, by the Lancashire Watch Company in Prescot, The Errington Watch Factory (Williamson from 1896) based in Coventry and by William Ehrhardt Ld which was in Birmingham (considered to be part of the Coventry trade). Although externally the watches looked the same the three movements were of different designs.

This picture clearly shows how different they are:

Left = LWC, Centre = Errington/Williamson, Right = Ehrhardt
The LWC and Errington movements have dummy fusee wheels to give anticlockwise winding whilst the Ehrhardt uses under dial gearing to achieve the same result.

Cases were supplied by the movement makers and are normally hallmarked as such but a few (from 1900 & 1901 if memory serves) have a Graves hallmark normally used for their general silver wares.

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