Monday, 3 December 2018

A 16J Errington for Yeomans for Perry.

It would appear that Samuel Yeomans could sell more watches than he could make. A quality mid sized Coventry maker Yeomans was also the first Chairman of the Coventry Watch Movement Company. This is the second watch I have had that he bought in and sold on. The first was an 1896 watch by the Lancashire Watch Company and sold on to Tustain of Leamington as explained in my post Lancashire Watch Co for Yeomans for Tustain.

This watch has a 16 jewel movement by C.H. Errington of Coventry but the case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1894 and the mark of Samuel Yeomans. The case has the same serial number as the movement so the two belong together and is not a marriage. The movement is signed by John Perry of Nottingham, the dial would also have been signed but that transfer print has long since gone.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A rare and interesting Stauffer

Size 14 Stauffer Pin Set watch, 15J c1900 or a bit earlier.

Apart from being pin set, at first glance this could mistaken for an Omega - I wonder who copied who? But it has a trade mark on it that shows it is by Stauffer of Switzerland.

and when the dial is off it is quite different.

The trade mark was registered in 1880 but had been in use from about 1835, it consists of two "S"'s and a very small "c" in a shield, not the later and far more common 3 triangles etc.

A feature I have not seen before is the way the Banking is adjusted, by far the most sensitive and precise I have seen but you do need to take the balance off to make an adjustment to the one on the inside:

It gets really interesting when you look at the dust cover where is says "Kew Certificated"

A Long case clock by W Harrison of
Hexham c 1825 and insert the dial from
a Coventry made chronograph 1882 by
W.E. Harrison Stockton-On-Tees. 
and "Harrison and Son, Darlington.

Kew (Later the National Physical Laboratory) was the standards agency for watches and clocks, was responsible for certifying chronometers and ran what was effectively a competition for top quality watches. Although certainly not a chronometer this is a good quality watch from around 1900.

Harrison was one of a widespread watch and clock making family in the North East of England, they are most probably descendants of the Harrison of the Longitude prize who came from the area. It is very difficult to work out family relationships from the clockmaking records as there were a lot of them about in the 19th century and they kept moving about.

The last record I can find of Harrison in Darlington is 1905 but they might have continued for sometime after and not been recorded in Loomes or elsewhere.

English Fusee leaver watch signed Harrison & Son Darlington 1877.

Monday, 15 October 2018

A very unusual Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 1889.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate", 11J 1889.
This is a very unusual watch! It is London finished almost certainly from a Prescott ebauché, a Coventry Watch Movement Co ebauché is a slight possibility as they opened in 1889 using a Prescott ebauché as a starting point, but those that I have seen have been rather different. I suspect but can't prove it was finished by quality maker Nicole, Nielson & Co who are known to have supplied Benson.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate", 11J 1889.

The face 2 piece plate is typical of Prescott ebauché of the period.
The unusual thing is that the Keyless Ludgate of the period, and I have had examples from the previous year and several from later years, are completely different being made in-house and incorporating Benson's patented dust ring construction also used on "The Field" watch and others. Further the engraving on this watch is identical to the "normal" version including having the Patent number believed to be for the dust ring that continued to be used for some years after this watch was made.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 13J 1893
Made in-house with the patented thick dust ring.
J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 13J half hunter, 1888
Made in-house with the patented thick dust ring.
It can only be assumed that Benson were short of Keyless Ludgate watches and so bought some in but it must have been confusing for customers to see such different watches being sold under the same model name.

More information on the Ludgate can be found in my post Benson "Field", "Ludgate" and "Bank of England" watches. or by selecting "Benson" from the list of tags below right.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Dawson "Railway Lever"

For watch anoraks this is a an interesting watch.
Although branded the “English Railway Lever” don’t confuse it with American Railroad watches, the British railways had signalling and token systems to prevent train collisions and did not rely on timekeeping to prevent collisions as the American railroads did. This is a fairly basic 7 jewelled size 18 movement albeit one that was very well made and with Geneva stop gear to control mainspring pressure. And being in an expensive case it was probably never intended for use on the railways except perhaps by station masters and management. .

Apart from the rocking bar winding and setting mechanism, the movement could be a very early going barrel movement having a bridge for the 3nd and 4th wheels, as was normal for Fusee movements[i] from the 19th century and which was retained in early going barrel movement allowing the same trains to be used for both forms. The lower balance jewel securing mechanism of a brass wedge is that used in the 17th and early 18th century watches.

But this movement was made in 1911.

It is signed by Dawson a Liverpool based watchmaker but marked “London”, the watch was however almost certainly made in Coventry, and probably by one of the last remaining small makers, Jos H Bird who’s initials are on under the dial.

The very heavy case has Chester hallmarks and is probably by Charles Harris of Coventry.

[i] The bridge was required on a Fusee to help fit the chain which was done with the 3rd wheel out of the watch which could then be replaced by removing the bridge.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Waltham “own label” movements.

Waltham “own label” movements are very rare in UK – I have only seen them for Russell of Liverpool and Preston’s of Bolton, but they are somewhat more common in the USA. They come in two varieties. The first have different specifications to mainstream models, such as this 1908-641 branded the Preston’s senior which appears to be a 1908-PSB with the addition of a double roller.
Waltham 1908-635 The "Russell Model"
The second more common own label, is a standard model with engraving added to brand them as “own Label" The Preston's junior is of this type as is the Russell model above which includes the Waltham name on the movement and this 1899-630 marked for jewellers Harry A Dillon of Gloversville New York but without the Waltham name although in this case Waltham is on the dial.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Benson signed for Queen Mary, 1922.

J.W. Benson, "Best London Make",11J, 9 carat gold, 1922.

When I first saw it on the web this watch had me fooled, being engraved “To H.M. The Queen” I initially assumed it was a Victorian movement re-cased by the maker in 1922 or that someone had the case date wrong.

Then when it arrived I realised that the engraving was not the usual “By Special Warrants to H.M. the Queen” (or by Special Warrants to her and the Prince of Wales jointly or to “The Late Queen” etc.). From over a hundred English made Bensons this is the only one I have seen with this engraving or anything similar.

The case was definitely made for this movement as they have the same serial number and it has London assay date marks for 1922/3.
When I opened the movement I found it consistent with one from the 1920s and the movement serial number has an alphabetic serial number which also indicates early 20th century. As usual the character on the top plate “K” is different to the one on the top plate “C”.

So, for some reason, Benson briefly marked at least one watch for Queen Mary even though they did not have her warrant. Having done a little research I can’t see any particular reason for it, other than perhaps for her 55th birthday or the marriage of her daughter.


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

An Errington watch signed by Newsome.

This watch was made by Errington in 1893 and signed by them ("CHE" plus patent marks) under the dial. But under the face plate it is also signed "Newsome" and the original case, which has the same serial number as the case, has Newsome's maker's or sponsor's mark.

Newsome was a fairly important high quality, albeit relatively small Coventry maker. Prior to c1889 they used Prescott ebauche after that date he became involved with the newley formed Coventry Watch Movement Company and used a similar ebauché by that company.

The watch would have originally been signed by the retailer but it is interesting that they went to Newsome for a watch they could have got rather cheaper direct from Errignton.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Watchmakers Service Marks.

I am sometimes asked what the meaning is of the small scratched numbers and letters  often found scratched onto the inside of the back or dust cover of a watch. They are service marks put there by watchmakers.

In America the prefix will usually tell you who last serviced or sold the watch, IIRC a practice originally a legal requirement to try and prevent (tax?) fraud but now done on a voluntary basis and organised by the American Watchmakers – Clockmakers Institute.

In UK we are not so lucky and the marks are normally just a ledger or job number and some codes only meaningful to the watch repairer who made them. Just occasionally however you come across something different.
Inside the back of this watch by Review, signed by Jewellers Sharman D Neil Ltd of Belfast and in a Swiss silver case assayed in London in 1926 there are 4 “normal” marks that mean little, except perhaps that one has a prefix NL which could be a contraction of Neill.
But there is also a block of marks all by the same repairer, shown at the top of the page. Easy to read with a loupe but very difficult  to photograph, after some serious work with Photoshop we can see that each has a (ledger?) number, followed by “M” and then what must be the month and year and what are probably initials of the workman.

 Someone clearly looked after the watch as it was serviced in October 1935, then in 1938, 39, 42, 44, 47, 49 and then in April 1953.