GOLAY No 8290, for ARMY & NAVY Co-operative Society Ltd, London


Best quality all-English free-sprung chronograph in lovely Thoms case.

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Heavy (3 ounce, as marked) 18ct gold hunter case with 5-knuckle joints and swivel bow, hallmarked 1900, casemaker FT (Fred Thoms, Clerkenwell). Half-plate going-barrel keyless movement jewelled to the centre with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, free-sprung balance-spring with overcoil. Snap-on enamel dial in perfect condition, with 30-minute counter at 12, original matching blued-steel hands. 53.5 mm diameter.

The Army & Navy Stores, 105 Victoria Street, London, set up in 1871 to supply officers in the armed forces working for the British Empire. Their best English made complicated work was supplied by Hector Golay, rivalling the best watches retailed by their London contemporaries such as Dent, Benson and Frodsham.

Charles Hector Golay, trading as Hector Golay, 46 Myddleton Square, London, keyless and complicated watches made to his Patent No 12417, October 1885. Swiss born (the Jura) but working most of his life in London, Golay was the main manufacturer, along with Nicole, Nielsen & Co, of the best English made complicated watch work at the latter part of the 19th century. NB: By the last quarter of the 19th century most repeaters sold bearing English retailers names were finished from imported Swiss ebauches. Only the firms of Nicole Nielsen and Hector Golay continued to produce top English work, which commanded the highest prices, and of which this is a fine example.

A chronograph of the very best London work that compares so well with anything produced abroad. All in lovely original condition and without any previous monogram or dedication. Serviced and guaranteed.