This is my oldest fusee yet, made in 1857 and definitely the most special. It arrived today looking rather disheveled and sorry for itself after 153 years of use. Radger and I have already had quite a chat about it via PM. Now it has finally arrived in hand, I can post photos.
Worn and unpromising case
Glass intact Two colour dial in OK condition except where some monkey has drilled it and used a screw to hold it to the movement Patent lever hints at something a bit special there...
Good news, the dial serial number matches the case - London Hallmarks for 1857.
Conventional flip case and movement cover.
Paydirt! The reason I bought the watch. Look at those massive ruby jewels including the gigantic gem on the Fusee arbor I believe 17 jewels all up - and considering these were real and not the later synthetic rubies - this was a top spec watch. Also has a huge cut bi-metalic screwed balance. So, I believe this is a period chronometer. Serial number matches the dial and case.
Another gratuitous close-up.
And another. This was English watchmaking at its best
I love the subdial.
I will have to take it apart to see what importance 'patent lever' holds - I am personally hoping for a Massey.
So, that is that. I don't know much about it or the maker. I have yet to dismantle it. The balance is good - but it will need a fusee chain repair/replacement.
In terms of the makers - Cooper and Co, Cornhil, I have not been able to find much. I will quite happily accept the Cooper and co marking on the movement as being the retailer. It is marked London - but I have also found earlier Cooper and Co. movements marked Liverpool. It has Liverpool features including the windows, but not in the clear gem as is usual. I also found a J.E. Cooper and T.F. Cooper so I wonder if there is some relation here? T.F. is listed as a chronometer maker.
There are a number of 17 jeweled movements similar to this jeweled to the fusse, made by the top makers of the time, including Joseph Johnson, M. Tobias amongst others. It seems that Massey supplied their movements to a number of makers for finishing and therefore, it could easily be a Massey, as it is marked patent lever. It is also the correct period. I will have to check under the cock when I dismantle it for any markings by Massey as well as the roller end of the lever of course. Fingers crossed.
In searching around I see we have even had a similar one (although with a plain balance) of these on this board before R G Beesley - Fusee drive pocket watch - I wonder what happened to it.
I would love some info on the maker, Cooper and Co. Anyone who can help uncover the story behind this watch - thanks in advance!
It is a special watch - I hate to think what it cost in 1857. It has lived a long time and been well used. The rear of the case has worn so thin that you can massage the dents with a finger nail. I will enjoy saving this one.
More photos when I do.
P.S. this post almost never happened. I had just finished it when WUS went down for the upgrade, gobbling it. This morning, I tried to resubmit it, but the token had expired. I had to write a little TCP server to capture the form and redirect my browser's proxy setting at it. It was the only way I could get it back - and no way was I going to write it again.