FRENCH, Royal Exchange, London. No 22815


Good wearable keyless free-sprung pocket chronometer, with up/down.

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Gold openface case hallmarked London 1873, casemaker AS (Alfred Stram, Clerkenwell)). Half plate keyless fusee movement jewelled to the 3rd, with cap jewels on balance (diamond) and escape. Earnshaw-type chronometer escapement with original 'black polished' steel spring-detent. Compensation balance, 8-turn blued-steel helical balance-spring with Arnold's terminal curves. Double-sunk signed enamel dial with state-of-wind indication at 12, blued-steel hands. 46 mm diameter.

William French, 9 Royal Exchange, London, watch and chronometer maker of some repute.

NB: Spring detents of pocket watch size are notoriously difficult to make and set up properly. Even more difficult is finishing it to the standard seen in late 19th century English work where a mirror-like finish was noted to have often looked black when fully glossed, thus the term 'black polish.' I have only known two modern watchmakers who have been capable of such work, and one if not both are now retired. If anyone is now capable of doing work to this standard, the cost would be more than the price of this complete watch.

Alfred Stram (1816-1893), Swiss born, but working most of his life in Clerkenwell, recorded as successor to the business of Louis Comtesse. Edward Matthews, grandfather of the late Martin Mathews, was apprenticed to Stram in 1876.

Slight hair cracks to the dial edge between 10 and 11, otherwise in fine original condition and an easily wearable size - not too big or heavy. Serviced and guaranteed.