An exceedingly rare English high-quality free-sprung Hunter pocket watch

manufactured in Liverpool

Liverpool manufactured ebauched, finished by a very important, yet little discussed Liverpool watchmaker. Karl Zimmerman (1812 – 1890), was a German immigrant to England, and came to be one of Liverpool and England’s most important watchmakers. His name is often seen in Victor Kullberg’s (London) manufacture books, supplying finished gear-train and other parts of watches. Kullberg is renowned for his exacting scrupulousness when it came to fine finishing, often returning work by Clerkenwell’s best watchmakers as insufficient. This underscores Zimmerman’s work as one of the highest quality in England. Zimmermann is most often associated with 23 jewels, free-sprung, keyless-fusee, state of wind indication, pocket watches. The vast majority of these were sold to the United States. There they were further regulated by the famous adjuster H. H. Heinrich of (eponymous society name, working out of 12 John Str., NY, NY), and George E. Wilkins (the second distributor of Zimmerman watches based in Syracuse, NY) and often received Class I ratings from the Yale Observatory. This piece has an English provenance and its serial number dates it to the early 1880s, sharing a serial number among Zimmerman’s most famous extant watches. At the 1884 Yale Observatory trial, Zimmerman’s watches arrived in the following positions out of the 39 entries receiving Class I certificates: 3rd (Serial no. 15690: Adj. by HH Heinrich), 4th (Serial no. 15682: Adj. by HH Heinrich), 9th (Serial no. 15620: Adj. by George E. Wilkins), 24th (Serial no. 15698: Adj. by George E. Wilkins), 26th (Serial no. 357: Adj. by HH Heinrich). These Zimmerman watches placed above the submissions by other famous watchmakers such as Albert H. Potter, Paul Breton, J. Jurgensen, inter alia. It is noteworthy that the current serial number, 15692, is found in the series of prize-winning chronometers made by Zimmerman, further testifying to the quality of craftsmanship in this piece. The frame (or ebauche) is stamped with ‘JD’ which stands for John Doke, whom regularly provided Zimmerman with his ebauches for the highest quality pieces. Doke also provided other prominent English chronometer makers with ebauches. Overall, this is an exquisite and exceedingly rare time-only chronometer-grade free-sprung movement manufactured by one of England’s best watchmakers.

Movement Highlights:

Movement back side: A high-grade exceedingly rare 21 Jewel fourteen size (42.5mm diameter) classical Lancashire-styled ebauche, with beautifully curved ¾ plate, gold gilded, and hand engraved Hunter style movement. The large ¾ plate displays generous lateral curbed lobes that dip towards the center, in order to fully display the balance wheel. This is a style typified by the work of John Wycherley of Prescot (Lancashire), which set the aesthetic trend for Liverpool keyless going barrel watches of this kind. The layout of the ¾ plate screws, mainspring arbor bushing and jewel chaton screws are, on the whole, not laid out symmetrically. These features, with the baroque flourishes around the town of manufacture, Liverpool, create a lively dynamism to the entire movement. The mainspring barrel arbor bushing, made of hardened brass, is given three symmetrically laid-out blued screws, and are aligned along the same axis as that of the serial number. Not exactly parallel to this axis, are the two chanton holding screws of the center wheel. The presence of a jewel for the center wheel is noteworthy, as it is not common. And when it is placed, they are normally fastened by three-jewels, as is the normal custom of Zimmeman. The present choice appears to be a result of the large balance wheel chosen for this size caliber, necessitating the ¾ curve to be cut closer to the center-wheel and fourth wheel pinion jewels. The center wheel is jeweled and given a center wheel through-pinion polished washer, hiding the jewel underneath. The third and fourth wheel jewel chatons are also given two holding screws, which are not aligned on similar axes. The vast majority of English chronometer-grade watches are given 19 jewels, and true to Zimmerman’s tradition (and that of hi-grade Continental watchmaking), he jewels all pivots, giving the additional two jewels to the center wheel pivots that is normally disregarded by traditional English watchmakers. The writing of the manufacturer, Karl Zimmerman, London is carried out in Zimmerman’s distinctive style, where his name is clear and in elegant Victorian cursive script, with ‘Liverpool’ written in highly contrasting Gothic font surmounted by baroque flourishes over the name. 

Balance bridge: True to free-sprung balance tradition, the balance bridge does not receive any kind of engraving. The floral engraving of non free-sprung movements was made to decorate the index regulator markings. These being unnecessary on a free-sprung watch, the regulator is left free of engravings. The balance jewel end-cap is given a faceted diamond stone, set in a blued steel bushing. This is the traditional treatment for the highest-grade English movements. The very small diameter, tightly wound, high-strength Phillips over coil, deep-blue steel hairspring is fastened by the correctly shaped splinter hairspring stud. Holding screws for the jewel and stud are bombé finished and finely polished. A deep blued screw holds the balance bridge in place.

Escapement: Traditional English right-angle straight lever escapement. Very large, and thin-bimetallic balance wheel with broad thin balance arm ends. The balance wheel fitted with large, heavy solid gold weights to provide weight to move the very stiff hairspring used. The impulse jewel is given a double roller typical of Continental work. The escape lever is finished in with the traditional club-shaped end, however, the safety roller pin used is typically that of Continental style. This is with the safety pin protruding from underneath the jewel impulse slot. The escape wheel and escape lever bridge has a very gentle curve that is made to follow the circumference of the balance wheel. The entire escapement is fitted with pivot end cap-jewels as in the best chronometers of the day.

Dial Side: A very beautiful and clearly organized layout of the keyless components, separated from the gear train by a separate linear-style 1/3 plate. Around the top left perimeter of the movement, under the mainspring click, is the (“14” movement diameter, separated by the frame maker’s mark “JD” and then the “0” movement thickness). The large angular 1/3 gear train plate has been given a cutout to create an unobstructed view of the third wheel jewel pressed into the mainplate. On the left side of the plate is the traditional disposition of the escapement jewel-end caps in an “L” configuration. Demonstrating to the contemporary view the traditional English ‘right-angle’ lever escapement. Noteworthy is that the chaton holding screws for all three pivots are vertally aligned, creating, along with the clean lines of the 1/3 plate, a sense of order to the dial side of the movement. The third and fourth wheel jewels are pressure fit, as per tradition on the dial side of English movements. The gilding of the movement is in a purposefully thin, untextured, light gold color, typical of Liverpool finishing of this period.

Keyless winding: Intricately finished, typical of the best Lancashire work, and styled according to the preferred keyless winding configuration for London and Liverpool high quality work: This is a setup consisting of exposed gears with the rocking lever placed underneath. Adding to the harmony of the dial-side disposition, all gears are given the same curved sunburst finishing, with polished bombe-shaped screw head ends on all screws. The minute wheel given a similarly polished retaining screw (a retaining screw for this wheel being more traditional in the 1850s fusee movements). The rocking lever main ratchet wheel having a fine circular engraving along the perimeter. The mainspring ratchet wheel has the traditional polished inner step, with a slotted center to hold the wheel to the mainspring arbor via a brass pin. The mainspring click of talon style, with the traditional, and correctly positioned mainspring click above the ratchet wheel.

Train: Solid brass with thick and textured gold gilding. Solid hardened and polished steel pinions. Solid gold alloy escape wheel.

Jewels: Very rare 21 Jewels – Balance wheel (5), escape lever (2), escapement bridge (8), third and fourth wheels (4), center wheel (2).

Coggiola Watch Roma Wristwatch Case, Buckle & Restoration Work:

Bespoke case, inspired by the classic 1930s 'Portugieser' watch case design.

Hand manufactured case and parts in Rome, Italy:

Case: Solid 316L stainless steel three-piece case. Threaded front and back bezels. Case with solder-fastened crown sleeve. Time setting pusher. Domed front and flat back sapphire glass, fastened via a concealed Hytrel gasket (recessed-milled gasket seating).

Crown: TBA.

Dial: TBA.

Hands: TBA.

Buckle: TBA. 

Case dimensions:

Diameter, without crown: 44.5 mm.

Lug to lug: TBA.

Height, including crystal: TBA.

Strap: 22mm width. Length: Normal. Roma, Italy. Hand-made leather strap made in Rome, Italy.

Restoration Work: Through-winding stem block installed on main plate. Repositioning of winding and time setting ratchet wheel tensioning spring. New escape lever pivot, burnishing of pivots. Restoration of blued surfaces on screws, cleaning of surface from rust.

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