Herbert BLOCKLEY, succr to Lund & Blockley, London. No 2/1298


Royal Geographical Society pattern ‘explorers’ watch, as used by E A FitzGerald.

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Heavy screw back and front waterproof silver ‘crystal’ case hallmarked London 1895, casemaker PW (Phillip Woodman, Clerkenwell), the rear of the case engraved for FitzGerald and engraved No 2. Keyless going-barrel three-quarter plate movement jewelled to the 3rd, with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and scape. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, free-sprung balance-spring with overcoil. Perfect signed enamel dial, blued-steel hands. 57 mm diameter. Together with its original leather covered travelling case.

Herbert Blockley, 41 Duke Street, St James, retailer and supplier of these specially cased waterproof watches for use by Royal Geographical Society and many individuals. This example was, as most were, supplied to Blockley by Usher & Cole. NB: It is likely that Fitz Gerald purchased this watch under the direct guidance of the RGS - see their book Hints to Travellers which ran to many editions.

Usher & Cole, real London watchmakers, suppliers of many top quality items bearing various retailers names.

Edward Arthur FitzGerald (1871-1931), an American born mountaineer living in England who purchased this watch (one of two?) for his trip to Argentina in 1897 in order to be the first to climb Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. Though too ill to make the final ascent himself, Mts Aconcagua and Tupungato were climbed and the surrounding valleys explored. FitzGerald had a long and interesting life, later joining the British Army in 1900 to fight the Boers, becoming a Major in 1912, and serving throughout the 1st World War in the War Office accompanied by this watch. A copy of his book, The Highest Andes, containing a full account of his time in Argentina, is available if wanted.

The leather case showing some scuffs, otherwise a rare chance to acquire such a good example in lovely original condition, showing few signs of use, which is unusual with these ‘working’ watches which usually had to perform in extreme conditions, - plus its wonderful provenance and history. Cleaned and guaranteed.