P & D GODDARD, Worcester. No 643


£ 1,995.00

Rare American finished verge by the sons of Luther Goddard, circa 1825.

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English style silver paircase, the outer with contemporary American watchpaper, without any makers marks but, given many details of its finish, it is certainly not English work. Fullplate fusee movement looking to be finished (gilded, engraved, etc) in Worcester, Massachusetts from an imported rough movement. Verge (recoil) escapement. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. Replacement white enamel dial and gold hands. 55 mm diameter.

Parley & Daniel Goddard, sons of Luther, moved the business from Shrewsbury to Worcester around 1825. It has been written that the Goddards had stopped making watches by this time, the war with England having ended in 1815, and were again retailing English made watches, but this is not so with this watch which shows as much American finishing as those sold by their father.

It is also consistently stated that Luther Goddard made watches in his shop, but this simplification fails to take into account how watches were then made, throughout the world, at that time. In short rough movements, which the Swiss/French call ebauches, were made by specialist workers, at least twenty by 1800, ready for finishing by another group of specialists, also amounting to at least twenty at this time. It is of course possible for fewer people to create a watch, but those bearing the Goddard name seen by my in the last fifty years show all the expected skills in rough movements emanating from specialists, either in the UK or continental Europe - France and Switzerland were also manufacturing English style movements at this time.

NB: I am neither denigrating Luther Goddard nor American history in saying this. Rather, I am asking that the Goddards get the correct praise for the job they did, which is still significant within American horological history, but also realise the extra work that the Pitkin brothers went to in manufacturing the basic movement, as well as finishing it, casing it, and retailing it. Those of you who have seen the YouTube talk by Noel Poirer on Luther Goddard may prefer to believe the usual story, as given in his talk, but you will at least know how truly rare these American finished watches of this date are - perhaps less than thirty by Goddard are known.

When acquired by me the watch had a badly damaged dial that itself was a poor later replacement. I have had this replaced with a correct style domed dial of the right period and the watch has been completely and sympathetically restored by one of the best craftsman presently working in the UK. It is a lovely example and is now in fine condition, and please know that many Goddard watches have been fitted with replacement enamel dials - it was a common repair for damaged dials that was offered at the time. Priced much less than a Luther Goddard & Son signed watch, this is still an important survivor of American watchmaking history, now some 200 years old. Serviced and guaranteed.