For my 2000th post... thought it would be nice to show off a rescued watch with added history!
A few months ago, I purchased this wreck of a watch....
The watch was 'ticking'... so i had hope... but as you can see, the case was quite bad... the lugs had been replaced with wider (18mm) wire lugs, which had also broken. The dial/lume was also in quite a bad state - Which had to be carefully cleaned before sending to my watch guy! The crown was pretty much non existent...
But... as I say... I had hope!
As can just be made in one of the pics, the case has an inscription on the back.... this is the seller pic... and what got more interested in the watch!
HANDICAP EXTRA DOUBLES
For those of you that dont know, the Hurlingham Club was and is an exclusive Gentlemans club, famous for Croquet, Polo, Shooting, Tennis.... the history of which can be seen on their site:
The History of Hurlingham | The Hurlingham Club
The Handicap Extra Doubles was a Croquet competition.
I have tried contacting the Hurlingham Club for their records. However, them were unable to help!
As for the winners, I have been able to find out some interesting facts.
Born 1878 into a wealthy family (father Henry, mother Elizabeth) with 4 Brothers and 4 Sister. The 1981 also shows the family had 5 Servants.
He took (and passed) the Bar exam aged 24 in 1902 and in 1906 was proposed as a candidate to the Royal Astrological Society. He served during the great war and is listed and mentioned in a few articles - mentioned as: Special Reserve of Officers, Royal Garrison Artillery & Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves.
In 1907 he won a CA silver Medal - for the first time a player reaches the final of an open Cup.
By 1915, he was also the Editor of the Croquet Association Gazette until 1937. During which time he wrote: Croquet - Twelve Hints to Long-Bisquers, 1929. The 2nd endition was renamed to: Croquet - Twelve Hint to Beginners - as seen here
His playing record can be seen here:
Full record for Robert Leetham-Jones
RLJ died in 1952.
(I would like to thank Dave Kibble, Chris Williams, Roger Wood and Neil Chalmer of the Croquet Association for their help in providing information)
Information on George Austin Pryce Cuxon, born 1856/57 was harder to find. There are plenty of articles which mention him, as he was Secretary of The Engineering Institute, which also sees his name mentioned in Engineering reference books!
It was quite sad to find his only son (2nd Lt Basil Pryce Cuxon) was killed in action on the 15th July 1915 aged 23.
There seems to be no real reference to him playing Croquet, so I assume the 'Handicap Doubles' may refer to a 'pro' (Jones) playing with a 'ameteur' (Cuxon).
Cuxon was also quite old in comparision and died 2 years after winning the competition in 1926.
As for information on the watch... I was lucky to get some information from Zenith... who say themselves, they dont normally provide this information!
"We do not usually provide information on watches without seeing them.
But as an exception, I have looked in our files.
It seems that this watch was originally equipped with a 13 NSI caliber
and was manufactured on 24 December 1917."
Which is slightly odd, as it would appear the watch may have been used before it was either given as a prize, or inscibed by either man as a memory. Which makes me think, It may have been used by RLJ during the war.
The watch was clearly advertised as a watch for someone in the services. Thanks to David of 'vintagewatchstraps.com' as he provided one of the last peices - an Advert for the watch:
I could not find any vintage advertisements on the web, luckily, David had a copy of May 1918's "Nash's and Pall Mall Magazine", which shows the watch.... which claims to be "By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services".... the price of the watch also seems very high for this period (compared to other vintage ads from this period)
The watch itself is of a very interesting design. Similar to the Borgel cased watches, it has a 1 peice case with the movement/bezel unscrewed from the top. But, unlike the Borgel, which has a threaded carry ring which is attached to the bezel, meaning the movement, dial, bezel all unscrew in 1 peice, the Zenith has a screw bezel not carry ring! This means the bezel unscrews without the movement/dial rotating as you unscrew. The Stem is also 2-part like the borgel, but it is not spring loaded. The 'male' section within the stem tube (on the case) clicks firmly between in and out. And, as on a standard watch - 'in' winds, 'out' sets! No pin set here!!!
So... after some months, some research, some money spent out and some great work by my watch guy.... its back!
From fully closed to open, you can see how the bezel is rotating, but the dial/movement stays still.
With the movement out, you can clearly see it is just the bezel that is threaded - the carry ring around the movement is smooth:
The movements itself is fully signed and a real gem!
The case is also fully hallmarked!
And on the wrist its ticking sweetly!
As can be seen... the watch has seen a transformation from when it arrived!
Case - Old 'wide' and broken lugs removed - origial 12mm lugs reinstated (in the same holes)
Movement - Serviced
Dial/Hands - Cleaned, relumed, new second hand.
Crown - New. This is the only part that stands out for me, but my watch guy could only get this type to fit - odd stem arrangement! And funny enough, I have seen one more sold with this type of crown.
Im really happy with the watch.... Im unsure of numbers produced, but there dont seem to be many around! Plus with its history/inscription... is!
If you have made it to the end... thanks for reading! Heres to another 2000 posts!