[Thomas MERCER?], No 2093, for Charles E BEEBE, Dulwich


A fine and unusual two-train c-seconds watch, signed for its owner.

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Heavy double-back openface case hallmarked London 1873, with rare sponsor's cameo mark T.V (Thomas Vine, Clerkenwell). Three-quarter plate movement with independent centre-seconds train having a discreet stop/start slide in the band; highly jewelled, with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape; the 16-size Lancashire supplied frame stamped JD (probably John Doke, Prescot). Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, spiral balance-spring. Enamel dial with standard offset seconds at 6 and a separate c-seconds hand moving in one-second jumps, all hands blued-steel. 50 mm diameter and weighing a total of 115 grams.

A few individuals of the appropriate date are recorded, mostly in America, but the likely candidate is the surgeon Charles E Beebe who was born in Mitchum in 1855, probably receiving the watch on his 18th birthday. Two-train independent centre-seconds watches with stop/start dead-seconds indication are most uncommon in English work, this being a lovely example, and it indicates a strong sense of individualism in its choice.

Thomas Vine, a partner in Vine & Thompson, Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, advertised themselves as "Manufacturers and Importers of Watches, Clocks & Jewellery, and Watchmakers' Tools and Materials...  I have never before seen this small cameo stamp in a watch case, and it is not shown in Priestley. It is however in Culme and one can also read a lot more about the the Vine & Thompson Company - it is indeed a wonderful work of research.

NB: As far as I am aware, Vine & Thompson bought in their watches and I am not at all certain who will have supplied this watch. If one assumes that the serial number is that of the manufacturer, the only London firms that would appear to fit for date and number are Victor Kullberg and Thomas Mercer. The fact that the young Mercer firm was also in Goswell Road at this time, and that they are known to have used the Doke family for their rough movements, makes them a likely contender.

The dial with a faint edge crack at 9 and the case showing just slight signs of wear. Otherwise in lovely original condition, obviously having been carefully looked after by its no doubt proud owner. Serviced and guaranteed.