J.P (Joseph Preston), Prescot, Liverpool


Rare rough movement complete with train and uncut fusee, circa 1875.

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Fullplate fusee movement ready to be 'scaped and finished, the hollow-back pillar plate stamped J.P and with its Liverpool size 14 0/3. Complete with all the train having extended arbors, including an uncut fusee, all pivot holes drilled oversize allowing the arbors to be in place ready for plugging with hard brass when the train was finally depthed. Complete with cocks and most of the steel work but no escapement parts present. Movement 43 mm diameter, 9 mm deep, not including arbors. Together with descriptive paper wrapper written in D S Torrens neat hand: SKM (South Kensington Museum) Stock - just why this movement is marked as being from, or for, the old SKM (now the Science Museum) is not known.

Joseph Preston, Prescot, the most famous of Liverpool watch rough movement manufacturers, supplier to all the best English finishers and retailers of his day. From a small run of similarly 'SKM' marked movements that were dispersed by Charles Allix after the death of David Torrens. It was presumably obtained by Torrens from Harry Pybus, the last owner of the Preston business.

NB: David Smyth Torrens was a collector/hoarder of watch and clockmaking material that was being sold off prior to and after the 2nd WW. So much was being disposed of by the old trades around Prescot that Torrens rented lock-up garages there in order to store the material that he was unable or unwilling to transport back to Dublin. Charles, who was asked by the family to dispose of the collection after the unexpected and tragic death of Torrens in 1967, told me that no one knew precisely just how many garages he had rented and that it was probable that some material was missed. What could be found was transported back to the basement of Bradbourne Farmhouse, Charles' then home in Sevenoaks, where it was sold off to museums and private collectors. Sadly the extent of the tools and material was never recorded as was Torrens library. See also Charles Allix's obituary of Torrens in the March 1968 issue of Antiquarian Horology.

A real piece of horological history in very good original condition, much cleaner than most such rough movements that survive.