F LANCASTER, Liverpool. No 165


A rare example of this fine chronometer makers best work.

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Large gold case with 'rose edge' chasing, hallmarked Chester 1810, casemaker EJ (a known mark in good Liverpool watches of the period, though not identified by me - possibly Edward Jones, Liverpool). Finely finished fullplate fusee movement of typical Earnshaw appearance, with beautifully polished sapphire jeweling to the fusee. Earnshaw spring-detent escapement, with Earnshaw's compensation balance with wedge-shaped weights, and with the additional of trammel wires to protect the balance and help position the weights when moved. One-piece off-white enamel dial in perfect condition, gold hands. 55 mm diameter.

Francis Lancaster, chronometer maker, Prescot (I believe), then Eccleston and finally Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, dying in 1824. Little is known about his work other than a few fine pocket and box chronometers, most if not all of which are notable for their extensive and beautiful jeweling. The National Maritime Museum has a good example of his box chronometer work (No A 23/27), which is described in the new catalogue by J Betts, page 313, plus I purchased, for Prescot Museum, an almost identical example to this watch I am offering here. No 570, in a case hallmarked Chester 1804, it is pictured in the Your Time exhibition catalogue published by the AHS in 2008, page 35 - it is incorrectly described as having a Pennington-style dovetail detent whereas it has a typical Earnshaw-style foot detent, as does No 165.

NB: The trammel sometimes used by Earnshaw in his balances has been, and continues to be, greatly misunderstood. It is not any form of auxiliary compensation nor a balance-limiting device. Rather, it was used to protect the balance from rough and inexperienced handling when the weights were being moved, while also acting as a very useful guide in equalising the movement of the two weights, and thus help keep its poise. Few makers other than Earnshaw are known to have used it.

The case showing some signs of wear, otherwise in fine original condition other than the detent is a later replacement (not by me). A rare chance to acquire an example of what I regard as the finest Liverpool chronometer work and, because of the later detent (although working very well), priced accordingly. Fully serviced and guaranteed.