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.