Rare English Deck Watch rough movement by this most interesting watchmaker, circa 1914.
18-size centre-seconds half-plate keyless J.P (Preston) frame in the process of being finished by Kunzler, with fine Coventry-style (rich ruby) jeweling to the 2nd wheel in place and a numbered dial already marked with the admiralty Broad Arrow. No train or escapement. 47 mm diameter, 10 mm deep.
Joseph Preston, Prescot, the most famous Lancashire rough movement manufacturer, supplier of top quality frames to many top London finishers: Kullberg, Frodsham, etc.
Robert Kunzler, a now little known but important part of English 20th century watchmaking, was born in Switzerland around 1870. He received his initial horological training in Le Locle before working in Germany, and by 1900 he was working for the Ehrhardt Company in Coventry. He returned to Switzerland in order to learn more about springing and adjusting before returning to the UK, first to work for the Waltham Watch Company in London and then on his own in Birmingham. He began to submit Deck Watches to the Greenwich Trials in his own name in 1910, achieving 1st position with watch No 51906, and continued to do so up until the 1st World War. This movement is from the unfinished stock that was left over after the cessation of hostilities in 1918. NB: Kunzler Deck Watch No 52127 is part of the National Maritime Museum's collection.
As rumblings about a new war with Germany increased, Kunzler, along with the escapement maker Hugh Warden, was asked to set up the Chronometer Repair Section for the Admiralty at Greenwich (later at Herstmonceux) about which much more could be said. See also the small appreciation of Robert Kunzler written by William (Bill) Roseman, then head of the Herstmonceux Workshops, published in the Horological Journal, October 1985.
Dial cracked, otherwise as shown.
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