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I mentioned this a few weeks ago. I now finally have a set of pics. So let me share.

This is my first foray into the dark unknowns of early timepieces. The hallmarks date the case to 1900. It is English. It is a key wind and set brass movement and the seller describes it as an 1876 fusse from F. J. Spiller of Taunton.

None of my books acknowledge Spiller. I do not know how the seller's date came to be. But I do suspect this is a movement from a period where the manufacture of these pieces was not state of the art. It is vary solidly made and still works over a hundred years later. This may be a good example from the last days of English watches. Once Harrison got them started, they dominated the industry for around a hundred years.

One of the things that interested me a lot was the case. It is a solid piece of Sterling silver hand wrought.

But let's get into the pics...

It is a big piece that polishes well into a bright shiny fetish :-d The dial is clear. The key wind hole is protected by a lid as is tradition.




(Aside: note the stamps.)






I confess to only a non-WIS level of knowledge of this movement. I got this because I wanted one before I retired.

If it really is a fusee, the chain is encased in a big barrel. The barrel is sandwiched between two thick brass plates held in position by brass pillars. The gear train is suspended between the plates.



And the balance wheel sits atop the plates, normally under a dust cover.






The dust cover is the first hint of the interesting case work. It has a steel arch screwed into it... evidently for reinforcing against some sort of distortion... or torsion for a snap back trick??



The case is Sterling and is well hallmarked with 3 sets of stamps by "JR" who also is not identified in an references I was able to check. But the 1900 date must make it one of their later cases.



This was case number 808. Since they are hand fitted it is important to keep the parts for the case together.



I had to refit the acrylic crystal back into the case and that caused me to marvel at the ability to make a very small but truly round and strong thin lip to a relatively thin bezel. It took a great deal of time under 5x magnification to do it. But better to be slow than sorry!

The case is, in fact, not manufactured from pure Sterling silver. I assume experience show such cases did not have sufficient strength at a critical part, where the case suffers a great deal of pulling during it's life...


So a steel insert was fashioned across the top third of the case and was screwed into edge.



It keeps good time most of the time. It does not appear to have a very long power reserve and does show an irritating tendency to stop. The seller said it was serviced but serviced and serviced for sale are often two different levels of 'serviced'. Anyway, my watchmaker won't touch it so this one is mine to baby. But I haven't finished my parenting classes yet so Spiller and JR's work won't be much more than a looker for a while.

 

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Hi Eeeb, it is a going barrel, not a fusee. Which is appropriate for the age of the watch.

Even if you can't see the insides of the watch, you can usually tell because of the position of the key winder.

Mine will say hello when I find my memory card.
 

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Mine says hello - a W Ehrhardt going barrel. 1902 from memory, so same era as yours. As Erik_H noted in this thread W.E. was both the casemaker and the watchmaker.





I am kicking myself, as I just broke the hour hand taking these photos :oops:



As you can see, mine is still in the 'to service' pile.



Just to show what I meant in the above post, here is one of my fusees (1874) - see how the key winder is below the bridge, when in going barrels like yours (and my Ehrhardt) it is usually on the other side. Yours is mounted directly on the barrel arbor, whereas the Ehrhardt uses an extra indirect gear - but they are both still going barrels.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Amazing how similar these 3 watches are in movement and case...

(The NAWCC has an interesting video about Wadsworth cases on it's member website... it got me more interested in cases.)
 

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Yes, the movements have strong similarity, even through technological changes.

Verge Fusee -> Lever Fusee -> Going Barrel

All share very similar movement designs, the only minimal changes made to incorporate the new technologies.

Oh and Eeeb, that 'steel arch' is the dust cover clip. Slide it left and right to close and open.
 

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Hi Eeeb,
I'm fairly familiar with this type of case, the steel inset in the top third
of the case is the case spring for the button and also incorporates the 'catch'
for the case back, it is not reinforcing.
There is usualy a second spring fitted in the rim of the case and this is to flip
open the case back when the button is pressed and so allowing easy
access for winding the movement.
 

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Loomes "Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World" mentions the maker briefly: Spiller, Francis John. Taunton (Som) 1883.
 

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Priestley says this about Birmingham casemaker mark JR in a diamond shape cameo:

John Rotherham, watch and case makers, trading as Rotherham & Sons. 4 Spon Street, Coventry. First registry date of this mark was 15 July 1886, also registered 1901 and 1908 with remarks all punches replaced 14 March 1917.

Rotherham & Sons also used R&S mark, first registered by Richard Kevitt Rotherham 7 April 1841, also at 4 Spon Street, Coventry. Later "Rotherham & Sons Ltd" used R&S mark (in diamond shaped cameo) registered 1912 and 14 March 1917.
 

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Nice one Eeeb.:-!:-!:-!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Unfortunately John Rotherham's case making shop appears not to have survived. (It sure would help if street numbers were prominently displayed in England!!) The wonderful Tudor shop on the corner is 9 Spon Street. Rotherham's at 4 Spon St. must have been where the intersection is now.
 

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In celebration of this thread, I started work on my Ehrhardt.

Root cause of non-function - no roller jewel! Movement is very clean, no wear that I can see - so it probably dropped out a long long time ago. Bimetallic balance rim obvious in this shot.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
In celebration of this thread, I started work on my Ehrhardt...
I want to thank all who contributed. I really enjoyed this thread too. I learned a lot. I now have an idea what the piece is. I have a much better feel for the English watch industry and how this specific piece fits in.

Tracking this specific watch to specific locations and finding what remains of those businesses today was unique for me.

It is an interesting exercise to compare this turn of the century English piece to what was being produced at 10X the quantity in the factories of America at the turn of the century.



And the much thinner and higher end American...



The Spiller outlined in this thread really is the last of the line for this technology and for the bulk of the old English watch industry.

They had no Swatch to rescue them...?

But the piece is collectable! Like I said, it's a nice shiny fetish...
 

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Eeeb, the Ebauche in your watch, although marked by an English maker
is probably a mass produced U.S import.

By the turn of the century traditional quality English watchmaking was
all but dead and from what I can gather hung on using cheap, mass produced
imports from Switzerland and the U.S.

This type of watch that you have only plays lip service to English watchmaking
tradition and I have one in a silver case such as yours which dates to 1918
yet is key wind and set but the ebauche looks to be made in the U.S and is
more reminiscent of an early Waltham than any English watch.

I can see in the pic that your watch has adjustable bankings...this is typical
of U.S manufacture and is never used in true English work.

Although a side lever on the English pattern I wouldn't mind betting that your
watch has a club tooth escape wheel and a brass pallet, into which the stones
are set, pinned to a steel lever...this is not English work.
English levers always have steel pallets with beautifully set in stones and a
ratchet escape wheel.

I'm not saying that you have a poor watch or anything like that, the
case is English work and the watch would be finished by a watchmaker in
England.
To examine English work a watch from 20 or 30 years earlier would be
a safe bet.
 

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Eeeb, the Ebauche in your watch, although marked by an English maker
is probably a mass produced U.S import.
Interesting. This made me look a bit closer at some of my movements...

I can see in the pic that your watch has adjustable bankings...this is typical
of U.S manufacture and is never used in true English work.

Although a side lever on the English pattern I wouldn't mind betting that your
watch has a club tooth escape wheel and a brass pallet, into which the stones
are set, pinned to a steel lever...this is not English work.
English levers always have steel pallets with beautifully set in stones and a
ratchet escape wheel.
I have a Rotherhams which is pretty much identical to Eeeb's one in every way - including adjustable bankings, yet it has a proper English lever with steel pallets, inset stones and a ratchet escape wheel.



Left is an 1860s English fusee lever and ratchet escape wheel, middle is my Rotherhams (c.a. 1900) also with a proper English lever and ratchet escape wheel, on the right is my Ehrhardt (c.a. 1900) - without a typical inset lever and a club foot escape wheel.

I believe the Rotherhams exhibits what you would call 'true English work' and yet it has adjustable bankings (which are in exactly the same place as the fixed bankings on a much older English fusee) - perhaps adjustable bankings are not certain proof? I suppose it is possible that the english lever and ratchet escape wheel was fitted to a foreign ebauche, but I don't believe it for a minute as the dimensions and proportions are consistent with my much older English Fusees.

Assuming Eeeb's Taunton is exactly the same as my Rotherhams (which I believe it is) then I would say this is still English work. 1918 was still a long time in the future when this Rotherhams and Eeeb's were made.


To examine English work a watch from 20 or 30 years earlier would be
a safe bet.
This is true, but I feel that assuming this Rotherhams is indeed identical to Eeeb's then it is probable that he still has a English movement. I seem to recall his watch having some involvement with Rotherhams in a previous post.

I accept that my Ehrhardt probably isn't, or is some transitional piece - but they felt strongly enough about what they were doing to stamp the dial side with their mark. I don't believe the winding set up with the indirect winding gear to ensure that the watch wound in the same direction as the old fusee was something that the Americans or Swiss did - but I will have to look into this more later (it is bed time).

 
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