Wednesday, 29 August 2012

1910 Half Hunter wrist watch

 Watch revival no. 5

This is an interesting early watch, dating to 1910. This style of watch, with a smaller glass cover is called a half hunter. It's worth explaining a bit where this name comes from: huntsmen (i.e. men on horseback in pursuit of a fox) and their requirements for a watch: early pocket watches were open faced - so they had a glass face that was easily cracked in the melee of a fox hunt. A Hunter pocket watch had a sold cover over the face, depressing a button on the winding crown would cause the cover to pop open so you could check the time (this could be done one handed by the huntsman). A variation of this was introduced which had a smaller glass face in the centre of the protective cover, so you could see the time without opening the cover.

Ok, so this is a half-hunter wristwatch. It dates from 1910, so pretty early for a watch and doesn't have the luminous hands and numerals that would imply it was for military use. The dial is marked Sir John Bennet Ltd who was a London retailer. Sir John Bennett was the first London 'watchmaker' to begin importing Swiss watches. then casing and signing them in London. The dial is nice because it's clearly the original - made to work with the half-hunter case. The hands look to be original as well because they are the correct size for the opening on the face.

The movement is marked S&Co for Stauffer & Co who were the importers of IWC watches at this time (although this isn't an IWC movement). This tallies with the hallmark on the case back: C.N was Charles Nicolet, a partner and later director of Stauffer & Co. The movement is nicely finished and responded to cleaning very well. I'm not sure how many times the watch has been serviced - it was in pretty tidy order and there aren't any repairer's marks on the inside of the caseback.

The watch is pinset, meaning that you need to push in the little pin above the winder and then turn the crown in order to set the time. The combined hand setting and winding system (that was invented by Patek Philippe in 1845) had not found universal acceptance at this time (or maybe the watch was made down to a price). The importance / desire to make watch cases water tight received considerable impetus in the first world war and naturally there was a move to reduce to a minimum the number of openings in the case. The winding crown may very well be original as well (it's basically a pocket watch crown), it certainly looks right with the case.

The watch once back together isn't running very strongly and has a tendency to stop, looking again at the jewels I think there may be a crack to one of the pallet jewels. Anyway it will go to RE for expert diagnosis.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Amazing training head for dental surgeons that's for sale in a Tennants auctioneers (perhaps this is why Dentists have problems emphasizing with their patients!)

Item Lot Number: 1052

A Polished Chrome and Stainless Steel 'Phantom' Dental Surgeons Training Head, comprising a polished chrome head section, upper and lower bite trays stamped 'G.E.G.L. MOH 2466', ratcheted adjusting screw and stainless steel attachment, height 51cm, width 24cm
**Believed to have been originally invented by Oswald Fergus

Estimate: £200-300

Friday, 17 August 2012

1910 Chronograph (Rose Watch Co)

A watch from our archive: a 1910 Rose Watch Co Chronograph

This watch is rather special and distinctive for a number of reasons: it's very early for a (man's) wristwatch - the hallmark in the case (London / "P") dates it to 1910/11. It wasn't made for military use as the numbers are not coated with the radioactive lume to allow it to be seen in the dark. 

The crown and seconds layout is rather unconventional (again because it's early for a wristwatch the convention for putting the crown on the right hasn't been established yet). It's from a precurser to the Heuer company: "Rose Watch Co" was a trading name they used for a few years in the early part of the 20th century.

Finally it's in pretty much unworn condition - it's doubtful that it was every retailed at the time that it was made (possibly it started to look dated after a few years: men's watches were generally around 33mm diameter in the 1910s / 1920s and this is rather oversized at 40mm). It's in perfect working order as you can see in the video below. 

Even as a chronograph (chronograph means it works as a stopwatch as well as displaying the time) it's rather unusual having no way of recording elapsed minutes, meaning that it's a stopwatch designed to time events lasting under sixty seconds.

I brought this at auction with only minimal information: it was sold through Fellows in Birmingham and they don't include pictures of the movement, nor do they date the watches from the hallmarks (although they mentioned that it was hallmarked). I thought at the very least it was an interesting and unusual transitional watch in the shift from pocket to wrist timepieces. It wasn't especially expensive, at around £200, but I think I got a bargain!

I did a little research online and found some more examples of Rose Watch Co watches (and also learnt of the link to Heuer). The watches that I have found online are all called "Pulseographe" which was a trade name for the chronographs designed . The Pulsographe has a scale around the edge of the dial to allow the calculation of heart rate from the time taken to count twenty heartbeats (so no requirement for tracking elapsed minutes on the chronograph). 

An ebay pulsographe next to my 1910 Chronograph (auction photo from Fellows)

another Pulsograph movement found online

I've not cleaned the watch (nor do I plan to!), basically I can only make it worse - it's in full running order as it left the factory and I certainly don't plan to spend a lot of time wearing it. The movement is beautifully finished -  nice mix of grained and highly polished parts.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Olympic London

Olympic signage, our first glimpse on the way to the road race!

Team GB's ultimately doomed attempt to control the men's road race

Little time lapse from the wrestling at the ExCel Centre

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sample sale!

Untitled Document

On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August we're holding a sample sale at our shop in the Oxo Tower.

We've been through our stores and sorted out a lot of pre-production samples and refurbished stock that we will be offering for £50 - £100 (with more than half available at £50). 

We've never held any kind of sale before, so we've got plenty of interesting watches for you to see. All the watches are covered by our regular 12 month guarantee and have been fitted with a fresh battery and a brand-new strap. 

I'm afraid that we're not accepting any online, nor telephone sales, only personal callers will be able to purchase in this sale (sorry to all our American friends - you'll just have to settle for crushing us in the track & field...)

We'll be open at the following times

Saturday : 12pm - 6pm
Sunday : 12pm - 4pm

follow us @MrJonesWatches

Mr Jones Design
Unit 1.11 Oxo Tower Wharf
Bargehouse Street
London SE1 9PH