MILDEN, Liverpool. No 7549 between the plates


Swiss made watch for the American market, circa 1820.

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Silver pair case, the correct and original outer without marks and the inner with what look to be fake English-style hallmarks (if English, the date letter K would be 1805), casemakers stamp AP in a diamond shaped cameo - a typical Swiss style of stamp. Fullplate fusee movement of typical Liverpool style, with balance cock, named barrel-bar, etc, but plenty of small signs showing its true place of manufacture, the pillar-plate and the underneath of the cock foot both bearing the ebauche makers mark ALW and the number 6. Verge (recoil) escapement, the potence with typical Swiss/French adjustment for drops. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. Enamel dial and gold hands, also in imitation of Liverpool work of the period. 57 mm diameter.

Swiss manufacturers spent much of the 18th and early nineteenth century making English-style watches, many of which were sold bearing fake 'London' names into various markets around the world. Liverpool looking watches, like this, were aimed at the American market where fake names such as 'Arnold' and 'Arnold Adams' were regularly used, along with more reasonable sounding fake names, as here - Milden even has a mention in Loomes, but with an incorrect identification and date.

This highly dubious practice, one that went on for the best part of two hundred years, is one that the Swiss try hard now to ignore - which may perhaps come as no surprise. However, fake Swiss watches like this had an enormous and deleterious effect on the business of watchmaking worldwide (other than in Switzerland, of course) and every collection should have an example, but should also be recognised for what they are. Even today, most are not, and cheaply made watches bearing fake English names continue to damage the reputation of real English watches in both Europe and America - see eBay.

NB: If anyone can identify the casemakers or the ebauche makers, I would be very pleased to hear from them.

Thin gauge silver cases showing many shallow dents and the gilding of the movement rather scruffy, as is typical of these fakes that only had a market due to their low price, That said, this example is far better than most similar watches that survive, even retaining what I regard as the original hands - most unusual. Not cleaned by me but will tick when wound.