NICOLE NIELSEN, London & Watford. No 11255


Very rare chronograph rough movement, ready for final finishing, circa 1910.

More details

Three-quarter plate movement with raised barrel and complete with finished chronograph and rocking-bar keyless work, the frame stamped with NN's serial number, 11255, as well as numbered 1, the train planted but the escapement, balance, etc still to be fitted. 45 mm diameter.

Nicole Nielsen & Co Ltd, 14 Soho Square, and also with premises in Watford producing motor accessories at this date - see my reprint of their High-Class English Watches catalogues for more information. Nicole Nielsen was the main manufacturer, along with Charles Hector Golay, of the best British made complicated watch work at the latter part of the 19th century. This chronograph movement is from a small batch of unfinished NN material obtained from Tommy White, the last of the English specialist watch timers, around forty years ago. I have seen none others since. 

NB: It is instructive to see the subtle differences between this and the similar chronograph rough movement by Golay on my website. Both fitted with rocking-bar keyless work, there has always been the suspicion that they originate in Switzerland at this late, in English watchmaking terms, date. So far, I have seen nothing that makes me believe this it is not English work and, with the British watch buyers predilection for chronographs and repeaters of the best quality, I suspect that limited production was always undertaken in London, even if its manufacture was heavily staffed by Swiss trained workers at this time.

In good original condition, a rare survival and a document of past English manufacturing practice of some importance – more so than any finished example.