Collecting watches under technical aspects, the admiration for a certain brand or whatever is one side of the fascination. But there is also a history of the watch itself beyond the manufacturer of the watch, the movement or the case. Besides a jewelers name on the dial, you occasionally find information about the watchmaker or jeweler who sold the watch and you want to know more about that. I am not only referring to names you find in the box or in the papers, but on an inlay you often find in the old verge watches.
The nut I am presently trying to crack is about a verge watch made between the year 1750 and 1758. The watchmaker (London, England) can easily be identified, and so all information about the case.
What concerns the seller (jeweler) of the watch, I have an inlay with name, city, street and number. An easy one to get? Well, not so, if the watch was sold over 250 years ago.
So who is John Watt, in 7 Duke Street, in the small town called Huntly, near Aberdeen, up in the Scottish Highlands? What happened to his business?
Thanks to Google maps, you can spot the city on your computer screen and the Internet gives you business directories etc. but that didn't give any clear lead.
Nowadays, you don't have to go to Huntly yourself to see who occupies 7 Duke Street, because there is Google Street View (now I know what it is good for). But to my disappointment, there is no jeweler anymore in no. 7, which is now occupied by an optician. As the city is not too large, I was checking the neighborhood, also with Google Street View, and discovered a jeweler by the name Watt in another location a bit higher up in Duke Street and a hardware store Peter Watt and Sons, just opposite no. 7. As these very old houses in the city center all have about the size of a phone booth, that is all very close together. The house no. 7 in Duke street was built in the 18th century, according to the city's register.
The chances should be good that they could be relatives of the John Wood I am searching for, if there would not be the look into the telephone book, showing too many of people with the family name Watt in Huntly.
I guess I have to go there myself (besides trying by e-mail to the jeweler in Duke Street), dig in Church registers or whatever, but the biggest fun has been spoiled. Just imagine you walk into a still existing Watt jeweler store in Huntly, 7 Duke Street, and tell the guy that a watch has been purchased here in 1750. You complain that there seems to be something wrong with it. When you hang it straight up, it is 1 minute fast and when you lay it flat on the table, it looses 1 minute. You know for sure, that your ancestor had explicitly insisted on a diamond center stone to avoid such deficiencies...