Fine Lancashire lever with original single-roller escapement, one of the earliest recorded.
Heavy silver hunter case hallmarked Chester 1820, casemakers TH/JH (Thomas & John Helsby, Liverpool). Typically decorated (for Penlington) capped fullplate fusee movement, the cock engraved 'PATENT Lever Detachd'. Very early single-roller detached lever escapement, the roller with passing-flat and banking pins at the fork rather than the tail of the lever. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. One-piece cream enamel dial, gilt hands. 57 mm diameter.
Joseph Penlington, St George's Crescent North, one of the premier Liverpool watch and chronometer makers of the period and among the first to take up the use of the single-roller escapement, as opposed to the Massey and Savage designs.
NB: The origins of the standard 'single-roller' lever, sometimes also called the 'table-roller' lever, are unclear but from ongoing research and surviving examples it seems that this alternative to the Massey and Savage forms first appeared around 1820. The single-roller design, perhaps as first conceived by the Hornby family of escapement makers in Liverpool, soon began to proliferate, gradually taking over from the various Massey rollers, becoming the preferred form of English lever from approximately 1840 onwards. This is a particularly early and original example.
Later (1873) owners name and address lightly scratched on dome, but this would easily polish out if wanted. The dial with hair cracks into the centre and seconds holes, and the front cover fly-spring lacking. Otherwise in good original condition and the escapement one of the earliest so far recorded and never messed around - one could not find better. Not cleaned by me and ticking sluggishly when would, so a service is recommended and the watch priced accordingly.
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