James HAMMON & Son, 9 Northampton Sq, London. No 9603


Unusual movement with rare lever escapement, circa 1860.

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Slim capped three-quarter plate fusee movement jewelled to the 3rd, with hard brass setting at the fusee, the 18-size hollow-back frame stamped T+S (recorded as working in Newton le Willows, Lancashire). Unusual form of detached lever escapement with club-tooth escape (divided lift) and a double height roller having a passing crescent with a radial jewel to one side, acting with a carefully shaped up-standing fork in the solid gold (not tested) lever. Compensation balance, spiral balance spring. Signed cream enamel dial in perfect condition, later gilt hands. 46 mm diameter, only 9.5 mm deep including the cap.

James Hammon & Son, working at the heart of the Clerkenwell watchmaking district, are recorded as "watch cap makers and jewellers." This explains the rare three-quarter-plate cap, as sometimes also seen on London Patent watches produced by George Morton - see my Horological Profile No 1. 

I associate this form of lever with the work of the escapement maker Samuel May who died in 1871, aged 58. A short obituary can be found the Horological Journal, June 1871, p118. NB: It is also unusual in being a rare English use of divided lift.

T+S, whose names have yet to be identified I believe, is a Lancashire movement makers stamp that is seen on some good quality watches retailed by Vulliamy and other top London retailers.

A truly rare caliper of English watch and escapement. Later hands and rather dusty, otherwise complete and nothing broken. Not cleaned by me and tries to tick when wound but sold as needing at least a clean and fresh oil to work correctly.