Chas FRODSHAM, 84 Strand, London. No 07243


Good small keyless half-hunter watch, supplied by Nicole Nielsen.

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Nicely detailed gold case with single jointed back, the front cover with blue enamel chapters on a transparent guilloché background, hallmarked London 1885, sponsor's mark HMF (Harrison Mill Frodsham). Three-quarter plate going-barrel movement, the top plate with engraved 'raised barrel.' Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial in perfect condition, original matching blued-steel correct half-hunter hands - note the stylish hour hand. 38 mm diameter, and weighing 58 grams.

Charles Frodsham, along with his great rival Edward John Dent, the most famous of London’s great 19th century clock, watch and chronometer makers – see the book on the various Frodsham firms by Vaudrey Mercer. NB: On the death of Charles Frodsham in 1871, the firm was being run by his son Harrison Mill Frodsham, and his 'HMF' stamp began to be used as the firm's standard for hallmarking their best cases - it does not mean that Harrison Mill Frodsham was the casemaker. The HMF sponsor's mark, along with RN (Robert North), are to be found on some of the very best English watch cases ever made.

Adolphe Nicole, together with the Danish born watchmaker Emil Nielsen, operating as Nicole Nielsen & Co from 1876. They were the foremost London watchmakers of the second half of the 19th century, supplying many of the finest watches to retailers such as Frodsham, Dent, Smith & Son, etc. See my site Glossary for more information about this most important and still underrated London firm of watchmakers.

NB: A point to remember about pocket watches is that most (some bejewelled evening wear examples apart) are entirely unisex in design, no matter what the size. Some men preferring smaller watches and some women lager; some plainer, some more decorative. Watches marketed at men or women is mostly a 20th century occurrence.

Rear cover with 'GM' monogram showing some wear, and the date '24th Jany 1887' discretely engraved inside the front cover. Otherwise in lovely original condition, the enamel on the front cover entirely intact, the joints un-stressed, etc. Serviced and guaranteed.