Best 'presentation half-chronometer' movement with very rare 'dovetail' lever escapement, circa 1875.
Beautiful third-series half-plate movement (hunter set) with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, the top plate with raised and engraved barrel, the 18-size frame stamped JP (Joseph Preston), with Barraud's 'reliable' fusee keyless work, having pin setting for both hands and winding allowing the pendant to revolve freely in the pocket, the winding using rare (Sutton's) 'sliding-spring' action. Double-roller detached lever escapement of very rare form, the gold lever with dovetail jewel necessitating a specific shape of fork. Best quality compensation balance with quarter-timing nuts, free-sprung balance-spring with overcoil. Lovely, Willis quality, off-white signed enamel dial with state-of-wind indication at 12 in perfect condition, blued-steel hands. 47 mm diameter, 10.5 mm deep not including centre arbor.
Paul Philip Barraud and John Richard Lund, one of the leading London watch and chronometer manufacturers throughout the 19th century. See the book on Barraud and its Supplement by Cedric Jagger for extensive details of this important London firm, and also my reprint of their Illustrated Price List of circa 1895, which gives details of this calibre of watch: hunter cased 'Presentation half-chronometer' watches this size cost over £70 and for which they claim "has in many instances performed with an error of a minute and under in a year.” Copies of the reprint are available on my website. NB: This watch is a very early example of this beautiful caliper and has also been finished with one of the rarest of all lever escapements.
The 'dovetail' lever escapement is one of the least known and least recorded detached escapements, although it first appears soon after Edward Massey patents his lever escapement with its various forms of roller. The 'dovetail', Savage 2-pin, single-roller and other variants were almost certainly designed to avoid infringing Massey's patent, but just which escapement maker/s were responsible is yet to be discovered. The Barraud firm were one of the main users of the escapement but only rarely, and only in their best work. The action of all the few examples handled by me is very good indeed, as it is in this movement.
In lovely condition with hardly any signs of use. Do, however, note the balance cock which has been engraved with a regulation scale, although it was finished to be free-sprung, not the first time this has been seen in English work. Serviced for me many years ago and still ticking happily when wound.
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