Robt ROSKELL, Liverpool. No 33451


Good Massey-1 watch by this famous maker, with unusual features.

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Substantial 18ct gold pair case with 'dog collar' band, hallmarked Chester 1824, casemaker EJ (a known mark in Liverpool watches of the period, though not identified by me - possibly Edward Jones, Liverpool). Capped fullplate movement with Harrison's going fusee, Liverpool jeweling to the fusee, balance-brake (hacking), the typically heavily engraved cock foot signed PATENT and the table with its diamond endstone showing through the cap, as does the set-up mounted on the barrel-bar. Massey type-1 detached lever escapement. Fancy (blued steel and brass) balance, in imitation of a compensation balance, paired with a compensation-curb mounted on the index, spiral balance-spring. Solid gold matted and engine-turned dial, gold hands. 50 mm diameter.

Robert Roskell, at this time in Woolton, famous Liverpool watch, clock and chronometer maker, one of the most influential of Lancashire watch manufacturers. 'Fancy' balances such as this can be found used in some of Roskell's output at this period. Good looking, and no doubt more expensive than plain balances, they are nonetheless not compensating. Only rarely are they found combined with compensation-curbs.

Edward Massey, Newcastle, Coventry and Liverpool, escapement manufacturer and Patentee of the first extensively used detached lever escapements. Catalogued in recent times by Alan Treherne, the various types have come to be called from 1 to 5. Types-I and -5 are the earliest and least common, followed by type-2 and then type-3. Type-4 is a seconds beating-variant, usually fitted with a type-3 roller, and is very rare. Good clean examples of types-1 and -5 are now difficult to find.

See also the now rare 1977 booklet on The Massey Family produced by Alan Treherne, copies of which I try always to have on my website. NB: The forthcoming AHS event at Keel University in May this year will also provide many new details regarding the important work of Massey, some of his Liverpool colleagues, and South Lancashire watchmaking in general.

The light engine-turning on the band showing wear, and the balance-brake present but not operating. Dial with a few of the usual scratches and an old repair to the hour hand. Otherwise a fine Liverpool gold watch in very good original condition. Cleaned for its previous owner and appears to be running well, but can be freshly serviced if wanted - likely cost around £150.