Chas FRODSHAM 'AD Fmsz' 84 Strand, London. No 06037


Wonderful free-sprung minute-repeating chronograph, in the heaviest English hunter case.

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Nicely detailed and very heavy double back hunter case with the early use of a swivel bow, hallmarked 1879, casemaker AS (Alfred Stram). Halfplate movement jewelled to the centre, with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape. Double-roller detached lever escapement of tuning-fork pattern, as often found in the best London work. Top quality compensation balance with quarter timing nuts, paired with 10-turn helical blued-steel balance-spring. Signed enamel dial with 60-minute counter at 12, original blued-steel hands with gold chronograph centre-seconds. 61 mm diameter and weighing a total of 232 grams.

Charles Frodsham, along with his great rival Edward John Dent, the most famous of London’s great 19th century clock, watch and chronometer makers – see the book on the various Frodsham firms by Vaudrey Mercer, a copy of which is usually available on my website.

Alfred Stram (1816-1893), Swiss born, but working most of his life in Clerkenwell, recorded as a successor to the business of Louis Comtesse. Stram was an important enough maker to employ his own pendant maker and it is likely that the inventor of this type of swivel 'thief proof' bow was one J Proctor - there were other forms. Proctor worked for Stram until he died and then went to work for Fred Thoms, the latter of whom is nearly always credited with its invention. Such pendants were also offered for sale by the firm of Hector Golay from at least the early 1880's and were thus available for any casemaker to fit.

NB: I have never handled a heavier English case of what might be thought 'standard' size, the total weight of the watch being just over half a pound! It will need a suitable waistcoat to support it properly, as well as a chain. I do have one chain in stock that matches it for colour, quality and weight - see my website for details.

Small hair crack at the centre, as so often with these multi-drilled dials, otherwise In fine original and obviously well cared for condition; the case, most unusually for a watch which must have been a special order, without any previous engraving. An exceptional watch, fully serviced and guaranteed.