Rare 'explorers-type' waterproof cased watch, with interesting provenance.
Heavy silver crystal (flat glass) case the front and back covers screwing down onto leather washers held in the band, hallmarked London 1903, sponsor's mark RN (Robert North, then the owner of the Frodsham firm), the rear cover engraved with the dedication: Presented to Thomas Stevenson, Gardener, by Ernest Mocatta Esq, Woburn Place, Addlestone...Oct 1917. Three-quarter plate movement jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial in perfect condition, blued-steel hands. 51.5 mm diameter and weighing 127 grams, gross.
Charles Frodsham, 115 New Bond Street, late 84 Strand, 'By Appointment to the King' at this time, one of London's leading and most famous watch and clockmakers - see the book on the various Frodsham firms by Vaudrey Mercer, copies of which are usually available on my website.
Ernest George Mocatta was partner in one of the most important bullion dealerships at this period, acting for central banks such as the Bank of England. The firm owned various properties including Woburn Place where Mocatta lived. It was then an enormous estate with its own dairy farm, a huge staff and the large house had an aspect that looked down onto the river Thames. Its gardens were one of the best and most important of the Edwardian period, and references to orchid propagation can be found that mention Mocatta and his Head Gardener, Thomas Stevenson.
Formed as Nicole & Capt in 1837, Adolphe Nicole was joined by Danish born watchmaker Emil Nielsen, becoming Nicole Nielsen & Company by 1876. The firm were the foremost London watchmakers of the second half of the 19th century, supplying many of the finest watches to retailers such as Frodsham, Dent, Smith & Son, etc. See my site Glossary for more information about this most important and still much underrated London firm, the acclaim that should rightly be theirs being diverted instead to the more famous retailers.
NB: See also my reprint of High-Class English Watches, Nicole Nielsen's trade catalogue of circa 1900. Waterproof cases of this type are not however shown and this watch is likely to have been specially supplied to the order of Ernest Mocatta.
Case, dial and movement in good original condition showing just some of the expected signs of wear - the watch was obviously well looked after by Thomas Stevenson. Serviced and guaranteed.
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