E. W. Streeter, 18 New Bond Street, London, No. 7,122, ca. 1913.
A fine early 20th century high grade Clerkenwell finished watch, ca. 1913.
E. W. Streeter, 18 New Bond Street, London. Edwin William Streeter (1834-1923) was a widely regarded diamond, goldsmith, jewelry, and horological retailer in London. Streeter worked with the famous firm of Harry Emanuel and later became his successor. Streeter opened his first shop in 1867 on 18 Conduit Street and then, in 1873, took over H. Emanuel’s shop located on 18 New Bond Street. Streeter was an active figure in London’s society, and avid member in England’s diamond and precious stone industry. He is purportedly one of the first retailers to who actively promoted the resale of machine-made watches in London. A 1872 catalog published by Streeter notes the sale of ‘English machine-made watches & clocks’. These were watches manufactured by London’s pioneer in machine manufactured watches, the firm of P.&A. Guye of 13 Northampton Square, London. They established the machine cutting of ebauches (rough movements) as was executed in the best Swiss firms of the day. Like the Swiss industry, Guye’s movements were, however, entirely hand finished. The present watch (not executed by P. & A. Guye), along with many other fine examples retailed by Streeter demonstrate that his firm also sold many other excellent traditionally British hand-made watches.
Like most retailers of watches, the serial number on E. W. Streeter’s watches are not those of his firm, but rather of the manufacturers. Examples from his 37 Conduit Street address are a fusée pocket watch, serial 32,777 with hallmarks dating it to the years 1868-1869. Other examples from his 18 New Bond Street address, and hence post 1873 dates, are a fine free sprung movement with serial number 17,399, and hallmarked for 1874. It has a movement ebauche made by John Wycherly of Preston, and a gold case made by James Thomas White, Clerkenwell, London. Another watch, with serial number 1,495 and hallmarked for 1878, contains the same script as the present watch, which is a pantographed capital lettering characteristic of E. W. Streeter’s late 19th-early 20th century pieces. The serial number could possibly denote the same manufacturer of the present example. Two other known pieces manufactured by P. & A. Guye, and retailed by E. W. Streeter contain the serial numbers 9,665 and 10,965 correspondingly. These are pieces that exhibit typical Guye calibers and the Victorian script of Guye finishing. Their serial numbers denote a 1880s manufacture date. Streeter’s sourcing of different manufacturers (and the reflection of their varying serial numbers) are further supported by 1885 catalog of E.W. Streeter. This catalog lists twenty different watch grades for sale (M. Korda, Marking Time: Collecting Watches and Thinking about Time, p. 169).
The E. W. Streeter company was active until 1904 when Streeter retired, and sold off the venture to United Investment Corporation. It is noted that the United Investment Corporation later liquidated all stock at auction in Christie’s. It seems that a stock of movements manufactured for Streeter continued to be cased and sold after the liquidation of the company. One such example, sold by Bonhams, displays the serial number 7,134 and a gold hallmark for 1913. This watch (12 numbers after 7,122) is in the same serial number series as the present example, and indicates that the manufacturer of these movements delivered a small lot of pieces to be retailed by Streeter. Since the case was often chosen by the customer at the point of purchase, these pieces represent unsold watches held in stock by Streeter. The later casing and reselling of the present and other watches after the dissolution of the society demonstrates the value of the W. E. Streeter brand and of the quality of its watches.
The present watch, numbered 7,122 is very similar in overall design to the work coming from the Clerkenwell workshops of Charles Hector Golay (a Jura born emigrant to London). The firm operating as ‘Hector Golay’ residing on 46 Myddleton Square, was one of London’s finest watch manufacturers and finishers. A number of details suggest that this movement could have a Golay workshop provenance. The serial number is consistent with H. Golay’s numbering. A chronograph watch numbered 7,526 with a hallmark of 1914 shares many characteristics with the present watch. Watch no. 7,122 shares the signature early 20th century Golay caliber curved shape with the lobe shaped folds adoring the two lateral top plate screws and the jewel protrusions. The finishing of the balance bridge, with the index regular of the ‘Coventry’ type (even though finished in London), the large diameter of the jewel bushings, the gilding color, and color of blued screws are all very similar to Golay finished movements. Aspects not concordant with Golay's style are the center wheel pinion finishing, or its lack of placement in a jeweled bushing. The present watch, no. 7,122 does not display a raised mainspring barrel typical of some later Golay finished watches. More research into the time-only watches of H. Golay is required to ascertain this association with certainty. Irrespectively, all these aspects clearly position this watch as coming from the Clerkenwell district, which was where London's best watchmakers resided.
Movement: A voluptuous styled 3/4 plate gold gilded with hand and pantograph engraved open-faced Lépine movement. A symmetrical layout of the movement with center hour pinion and mainspring arbor flanked by four screws. The organic curvature of the wheel bridge plate given a double lobe adorning the perimeter screws and fourth wheel jewel setting. The center wheel arbor finished in the traditional square pillar shape, recalling key-winding movements of yore. This latter adorned with a mirror polished large washer. The mainspring arbor, simply decorated with a small concise brash bushing. The lettering of E.W. Streeter pantograph engraved on the movement. An additional hourglass hand engraved drawing, for Streeter’s higher grade watches, is placed on the right hand side to visually complement the left hand side jewel settings. Deep blued bridge and jewel setting screws throughout. On the dial side, a curved and sharply angled wheel train bridge, with combination of end jewel screw fitted bushing and pressure fit jewels. The caliber size of ‘12’ and the bridge height of ‘02’ stamped on to the frame.
Balance bridge: Un-adored balance bridge surmounted by a faceted diamond end-stone set in a polished steel chaton. Fastened by two mirror polished bombé screws. Hairspring stud in splinter style, holding the Breguet over-coil hairspring. The balance bridge inscribed with rare minute numbers indicating the temporal effect of index arm movement. This latter being of the Coventry type, with hairspring regulator pins inserted into the lobe circumventing the top balance wheel jewel cap. The index arm flat rectangular finish with angled and polished cut at indexing point.
Escapement: Traditional English detached right-angle lever escapement. Single flat-roller impulse jewel. Polished steel club escape lever. Bi-metallic compensation balance wheel with sharp-figured terminal steel ends. Fine and thin hairspring with terminal Breguet overcoil held in place by splinter shaped hairspring stud. Solid gold escape wheel. Double caped jeweling on escape lever and wheel.
Keyless winding: Traditional Prescot styled bottom mounted rack lever. Screwed intermediary gears for mainspring winding and time setting. The screws given a near-black finish. The crown wheel core screws aligned perpendicularly to the winding stem. Ratchet wheel held in place through the traditional hole and friction fit retaining splinter. Gears and ratchet wheel giving snailing finish throughout. Ratchet wheel click with indented lip.
Train: Solid gold mirror-polished gear train with thick hand-finished steel pinions. Solid gold escape wheel. Jeweled to the third wheel.
Jewels: 19 Jewels – balance work (5), escape lever (4), escape wheel (4), fourth wheel (2), third wheel (2).
Coggiola Watch Roma Wristwatch Case, Buckle & Restoration Work:
Bespoke case. More details to follow.
Hand manufactured case and parts in Rome, Italy:
Case: Two-piece solid brass case. Lépine style, winding crown at 12 o’clock position. Domed front and flat back mineral glass. Crown, stem, case crown sleeve, time setting pusher, and stainless steel crews.
Dial: Open work details to follow.
Buckle: Four part brass buckle, three stainless steel screws.
Diameter, without crown: 44mm.
Lug to lug: TBD.
Height, including crystal: TBD.
Strap: 22mm width. Length: Normal. ColaReb Roma, Italy. Hand-made leather strap made in Rome.
Restoration Work: TBD.