Help needed in identifying my family watch.
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  1. #1
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    Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Hi All,

    My first posting here and I hope some of you far more knowledgeable people can help identify my family watch, which has come into my possession.
    It was my fathers and before that my Grandfathers and before that my Great Grandfathers, I am not sure if it goes back any further than that. so furthest i could take it back to is approx. WW1 era.
    I cannot find a makers mark and don't know how to take it apart any further than in the photos.
    I was informed by my Grand Father when it was still in his possession that it is chain driven, but I have no idea how to confirm this apart from taking it to a watch maker to look at.
    It is currently not running smoothly, it will wind and run in spurts and slowing unwind but it may take several days to just get through an hour or two.
    I would like to get it back into running order and get the face smartened up as it is well "loved".
    The chain is believed to be contemporary.
    Any help very gratefully received.

    Thanks
    Carl.
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  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Welcome to the Vintage forum. Your watch is definitely 19th century and looks like an English watch. I would think that the "chain driven" refers to it being a fusee, which means that the mainspring barrel connects to the geartrain via a small chain running down a spiral on the mainspring barrel to improve the timekeeping ("isochronism"). If it is significantly older than 1900, it may well have a verge escapement which is a little primitive but the English stuck to it while the rest of the world were already using cylindre or even lever escapements. To confirm all that in your watch, it would have to be taken apart by a specialist.

    You have a nice heirloom there!

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Thank you Hartmut,

    I do think it needs to go in to be examined and cleaned and hopefully repaired as I would love to use it rather than just storing it for the next generation.
    So next task then is to find someone who could do the work in England

    Cheers Carl.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Picture of chain added.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    If i'm reading the gold hallmark correct, the watch case dates from 1799.

  7. #6
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    If the hallmark is a capital D then the date is 1879 which would be correct for a keywind English fusee lever watch
    of this type.

  8. #7
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Welcome to the Vintage forum. Your watch is definitely 19th century and looks like an English watch. I would think that the "chain driven" refers to it being a fusee, which means that the mainspring barrel connects to the geartrain via a small chain running down a spiral on the mainspring barrel to improve the timekeeping ("isochronism"). If it is significantly older than 1900, it may well have a verge escapement which is a little primitive but the English stuck to it while the rest of the world were already using cylindre or even lever escapements. To confirm all that in your watch, it would have to be taken apart by a specialist.

    You have a nice heirloom there!

    Hartmut Richter
    The fusee is a cone shape spiral. At the bottom of and integral to the fusee is the first wheel in the train, the fusee is driven
    by a tiny chain which is wound around the mainspring barrel, it has no spiral.
    The watch is a lever rather than a verge, the verge has different regulator arrangements due to the hairspring being below the balance wheel
    and attached to the top plate rather than the balance cock.

  9. #8
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Hi radger & dgf67,

    The hallmark is a capital D as can be seen from the pictures below, but it appears to be the type with "tails", for want of a better description, at the top and bottom. From what I have read, and please bear in mind am I a complete novice, this is the 1799 date. Sorry pictures are not too good, I shall try to get better ones taken tonight. This doesn't fit with the date I can trace the watch back to, so could it be an old case and a newer watch? Having said that the chequering on the back looks too perfect to be anything other than machine cut (or impressed) so I am sceptical of a 1799 date.

    Cheers.
    One confused Carl.

    Name:  Hallmark1.jpg
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  10. #9
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Hi Carl,
    The date is 1879, the capital D is correct for this date and also has the two tails but the cruncher is that London
    hallmarks before 1822 always had the Leopards head wearing a crown, after 1822 this was dropped and the Leopards head is crownless.

    I'd think this case is original to the watch as it is the correct style for this date and is easily confirmed by removing the dust cover to the movement
    and checking that the case number matches the movement number.
    On English watches the movement number and the case numbers match.
    The dust cover is simply removed and replaced by sliding the 'curved' flat spring to the left or right as seen from the back of the watch.

  11. #10
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed in identifying my family watch.

    Just as a know-all contribution, the little tails are called 'serifs'. Fonts without them are sans-serif (without serif).Name:  clown_32x32.png
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    DragonDan likes this.
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