NICOLE & CAPT for PHILLIPS, 23 Cockspur St, London. No 2136


Rare chronograph movement originally with simple split-seconds, circa 1865.

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Pillar-less three-quarter plate going-barrel movement, with Nicole's Patent keyless work retaining the steel bevel wheel bridge, jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, the split-seconds work under the dial. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Spiral balance-spring. Signed enamel dial with seconds at 3. 40 mm diameter, 7.5 mm deep, not centre arbor.

Robert A Phillips and his son Alfred Phillips, London, 'Goldsmiths, Jewellers and Silversmiths' of great repute - See Culme.

Adolphe Nicole, Patent No 10,348 of October 1844, includes the first commercially successful keyless work for both going-barrel and fusee watches, as well as the ‘heart shaped cam’ controller for true, start/stop/return to zero chronographs. This movement, however, is a rare example of Pierre Frederick Gougy's earlier Patent No 8308 of December 1839, in which two separate seconds hands are connected by a spiral hairspring, the outer end of which is connected to a steel disc (lacking in this movement) with ratchet teeth at its edge. Pushing on a pin in the band 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.

Dial with chips and cracks, and lacking the balance and all hands. The extended pivot for the seconds hand also missing, together with the shallow steel disc and spiral spring, but the brake mechanism and its springs still present. Not working.