GOLAY No 2608, for BIRCH & GAYDON 'Makers to the Admiralty' London


Fine English free-sprung watch, in lovely original condition.

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Heavy 18ct gold 'crystal' case hallmarked 1909, casemaker JW (probably Joseph Walton, Clerkenwell). Half plate keyless going-barrel movement jewelled to the centre, with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Best quality compensation balance with quarter-timing nuts, free-sprung blued-steel balance-spring with overcoil. Lovely signed enamel dial in perfect condition, original blued-steel hands. 47 mm diameter and weighing just over 100 grams. Together with later retailers silk and velvet lined box.

William Birch and Henry Martin Gaydon, "chronometer makers, goldsmiths and jewellers" began their partnership in Fenchurch St in 1883. The firm continued to trade until 1959 when it was purchased by Asprey & Co Ltd. Mostly retailers, they were buying in from the best makers and are known for their Deck and karrusel watches, as well as many other fine pocket and a few early wrist watches. The workbooks of the firm survive and are now part of the Clockmakers' Company Library, see also the important article on the Turner and Birch workbooks by Alun C Davies in Antiquarian Horology, vol 17, page 478.

Charles Hector Golay, Swiss by birth, began to work in London before 1870. Originally acting as an import agent for Swiss work by Audemars Piguet, he established his own wholesale watch manufacturing business around 1880. His watches, plain and complicated, rival the best work of Nicole Nielsen, using the best London craftsmen of the day.

A very well made and wearable watch in fine original condition, the case with what I believe to be a later engraved dedication on the dome. Otherwise the watch and its box showing few signs of use. Serviced, guaranteed and fitted with a new/old stock crystal.