An interesting old english fusee

Thread: An interesting old english fusee

Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    An interesting old english fusee

    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.



    Close-up.



    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.
    Last edited by trim; October 29th, 2010 at 00:51.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Great Lakes - USofA
    Posts
    18,132

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Great post. Very informative with good pics. I wish I knew enough to contribute more than just praise...
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,355

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Great watch, hope you can get it ticking again. Technically not a chronometer, doesn't have a detent escapement, but a high quality watch for its time.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member Marrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    7,743

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Yes - a wonderful watch. Its a pity you can't turn up anything much about the maker - I've failed as well. It'll need someone with a decent book collection to help.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  6. #5
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Quote Originally Posted by RON in PA View Post
    Great watch, hope you can get it ticking again. Technically not a chronometer, doesn't have a detent escapement, but a high quality watch for its time.
    Ok, that is interesting - I had not found such a definition in my travels, but I am still a beginner at all this.

    I was basing the thought that this would have been considered chronometer grade at the time on the expensive balance, and statements like the following from a museum site:

    Hornby often used the Massey lever escapment which was used by many Liverpool chronometer makers.

    Misleading!

    I love this site - I now know more about detent levers than I did 20 minutes ago. Who even knew to look.

  7. #6
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    Yes - a wonderful watch. Its a pity you can't turn up anything much about the maker - I've failed as well. It'll need someone with a decent book collection to help.
    My fault, I used up the internet looking for info over the last week

    Thanks for trying - I hope something turns up in a book!

    I just also found that ArtB has a very lovely watch with jeweled fusee.
    Last edited by trim; October 29th, 2010 at 08:51.

  8. #7
    Member radger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    N.E England
    Posts
    3,383

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Wow, that jewelling on your watch is something else.
    That fusee jewel must have been cut from a Burmese ruby
    of several carats.

    First off, I once told ArtB that his fine massey lever Liverpool
    watches had Amethyst jewelling and that is what I believed at the
    time. I now believe these to be Saphires...hands up and apologies
    and I hope I've not contributed to an urban myth.

    But your watch has rubies which is uncommon in such a watch.
    It is unusual to see such a watch marked London, these watches with
    large jewelling are usualy known as Liverpool watches. The 'Patent
    Lever', as you say, could hold a pleasant surprise.

    This watch is a great find Trim and deserves the TLC that I know
    you'll give it and all the serial numbers match, dial case and
    movement....couldn't be better.

    At the time this watch was made, good lever watches with a split,
    bi-metalic balance were termed 'Half Chronometers'.
    The term 'chronometer' was used for time pieces with a chronometer
    escapement. So a maker who engraved movements with 'Chronometer
    Maker' or the like meant that besides producing lever pocket
    watches they also produced chronometers, usually of the ships' variety.
    The very fact that the maker could produce a precision time piece
    with a chronometer escapement denoted that he was a good maker
    and so he advertised the fact.

    Major ports such as London, Liverpool and Southhampton had a fair
    few Chronometer makers, as being able to produce such time pieces
    meant steady business.
    Chronometers also had to go through rigerous testing for time keeping
    and this was done at observatories, afterall, a ship and its crews lives
    depended on the accuracy of these time pieces.
    later, any watches which passed Observatory Trials were termed
    'Chronometer', and nowadays an 'adjusted' watch is termed 'chronometer'
    by many.

  9. #8
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Norwegian, Singapore
    Posts
    2,259

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    A wonderful watch, what a great find! Loomes mentions numerous Cooper from London, but no Cornhill, so no help.
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

  10. #9
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Thanks Radger, that was a great explanation. So I guess it would be fair to describe it as a half-chronometer then

    As I mentioned - I did find a Cooper and Co. watch that was very similar to this one, marked Liverpool. The watch is definitely Liverpool style - so either, they relocated to London, or perhaps the barrel bridge is not original and Cornhill, London is a misdirection.

    It might be why it wasn't in Loomes (Thanks Eric).

    I'll see if anything turns up when I dismantle, hopefully there are some numbers on the bridge settling it either way - it might be a week or two, I have somewhat of a backlog on my bench

    P.S. Any idea what those hands once looked like?
    Last edited by trim; October 31st, 2010 at 05:51.

  11. #10
    Member radger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    N.E England
    Posts
    3,383

    Re: An interesting old english fusee

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    Thanks Radger, that was a great explanation. So I guess it would be fair to describe it as a half-chronometer then
    Yep, I think it would be fair to call your watch a 'Half Chronometer'.

    But this is archaic terminology so's I'd better reference it as correct usage of
    the word 'chronometer' is frequently asked on this forum.

    From Brittens 'Watch and Clockmakers Handbook' first published 1881.

    "Half Chronometer-[Demi chronometre-Die Prasicions Taschenuhr]-
    This term originally used to denote watches having an escapement
    compounded of the lever and the chronometer, appears now to be applied
    to fine lever watches which have been adjusted for temperature and
    positions".

    From Donald De Carle FBHI 'Watches and their Value' published 1978
    Under the section 'Types of Watches'

    "'Half Chronometer Watch'....This usually means a watch with a lever escapement,
    fitted with a bi-metallic' cut, compensated balance and a steel hairspring".

    De Carle was referring to antique pocket watches and he gives as an example
    a fine half plate lever by Parkinson & Frodsham mid 19thC.

    Numerous examples of watchmakers advertising fine levers as 'Half Chronometers'
    can be seen in Victorian publications and newspapers.


    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    As I mentioned - I did find a Cooper and Co. watch that was very similar to this one, marked Liverpool. The watch is definitely Liverpool style - so either, they relocated to London, or perhaps the barrel bridge is not original and Cornhill, London is a misdirection.

    It might be why it wasn't in Loomes (Thanks Eric).

    I'll see if anything turns up when I dismantle, hopefully there are some numbers on the bridge settling it either way - it might be a week or two, I have somewhat of a backlog on my bench

    P.S. Any idea what those hands once looked like?
    Baillies 'Watchmakers & clockmakers' of the world also lists many Coopers but none
    working at the date of this watch.
    Unlisted English makers are not uncommon, I have several.

    Those hands look like they were once Fleur de Lis style as used in some early Verges,
    but I doubt if these are original.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •