ANONYMOUS, ink numbered 288 and 388


£ 145.00

Rare chronograph rough movement, circa 1890 - English or Swiss work?

More details

Three-quarter plate keyless movement ready to be 'scaped and finished, the hollow-back pillar plate neither numbered nor bearing any makers stamp (that I can see), with all the train to the 4th and a barrel that are planted, complete with balance cock but no escapement parts present. 43 mm diameter.

Though this looks very much like English work I believe it is almost certainly Swiss, made for the English market, and is in the same state as it was imported prior to finishing. Although an English invention by Delander, the true modern chronograph was the invention of Nicole & Capt, in their Patent of 1862, based on their earlier Patent of 1844. While Nicole, Golay and others working in London continued to produce very fine chronographs, sometimes mixed with repeating work, it was Swiss manufacturers who took up the making of chronographs in a large way, from approximately 1880 onwards. 

NB: For more information about Swiss work, see the new book on Swiss chronographs by Joel Pynson, but please do not believe the historical chapter which mixes up timers with chronographs and repeats the misinformation about the timer by Moinet said to be as early as 1815 - which I do not believe - and which claims to have a return-to-zero function. It does not. The mechanism does allows the centre-seconds hand, once stopped, to continue to travel onto zero where is is arrested ready to perform again, but the minute and hour counters have to be reset manually. I should also add that the chronograph mechanism in this rough movement, which the Swiss call an ébauche, is not identified in the book.

A rare complete survival and a good record of a tradition long since passed. In good original condition but with some corrosion to the brass and the steelwork. The corrosion is though light and it should clean up very well, plus the chronograph mechanism is complete and does work.