ARNOLD Chas FRODSHAM, 84 Strand, London. No 6866


£ 445.00

Good movement with rare early form of split-seconds chronograph, circa 1845.

More details

Three-quarter plate fusee movement with 'simple split-seconds' chronograph operated via a push in the pendant acting on the steel lever set within the movement joint, the 14-size frame stamped A&G (Abbott & Garnett, Farnworth, Lancs). Single-roller detached lever escapement with ratchet tooth escape. Compensation balance, spiral balance-spring. Signed enamel dial, gold hands. 42.5 mm diameter, 8.5 mm deep, not including centre arbor.

Charles Frodsham (1810-1871) the most famous of the Frodsham family of clock and watch makers, purchased the name and stock in trade from the estate after the death of John Roger Arnold in 1843 and continued to use the Arnold name for many years - see the book on the various Frodsham firms by Vaudrey Mercer.

Pierre Frederick GOUGY, Patent 8308, December 1839. "The introduction into watches...of a supplementary second hand, so adjusted by mechanism that it may be stopped while the other second hand is going, and on being set free will recover its original position." Examples of this simple split-seconds mechanism are very rare and most examples seen by me were retailed by Thomas Prest, one time foreman to John Roger Arnold, or the Charles Frodsham firm. 

The two seconds hands are connected by a spiral hairspring, the outer end of which is connected to a steel disc with ratchet teeth at its edge. Pushing on the pendant allows a sprung lever to stop the disc and thus one of the hands, and the time can be noted. Releasing the push allows the hand to catch up with the standard seconds hand with which it then continues to revolve as one. NB: If the push is held down, the standard seconds hand will continue to move but the spring joining the two will tighten until the watch is forced to stop. 

This is not, however, how such watches were used. This mechanism should rightly be seen as an improvement on the earlier inking chronographs. At the start of an event the push is activated and the time noted, and the push then released. At the end of the event the push is again activated and the time noted, a quick subtraction giving the precise time taken; and all without having to remove ink marks from an otherwise fragile dial and hands.

From the collection of the late Bradley Ross and previously sold in my 6th Postal Auction catalogue, lot 15. Minor edge chip to dial and the minute hand a replacement. Otherwise complete and in good original condition including the underdial mechanism which is operational. Not cleaned by me but will tick if wound.