Goldsmiths Company, 112 Regent Street, London, No. 17610, ca. 1910.
An elegant English classicizing high-quality going barrel
Hunter pocket watch manufactured in London
Formally called 'the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company' of 112 Regent Street, W1, London it was founded by William Gibson and John L. Langman in 1880. They were a very large retailer of jewelry, silverware, and offered a range of proprietary made watches, clocks and chronometers. After being absorbed in 1893 by a similarly named company, the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co, became a limited entity in 1898. The fortune of the company waned in the post-WWII years, and was absorbed in 1952 a second time by the famous jewelry company Garrard & Co. Throughout the late 1800s to the first half of the 20th century, the Goldsmiths company had their manufacture in the heart of London’s premier watchmaking district on Newcastle Place in Clerkenwell. This accounts for the exceedingly high quality watches that are always evidenced by this firm. The firm signed their watches with ‘The Goldsmiths Co.’ and not ‘Silversmiths’.
This movement presents many points of particular interest. Research into the serial numbers, and correlated case hallmarks show that this serial number was most likely originally manufactured in the end of the first decade of the 20th century, specifically around 1910. This makes the highly classical nature of the watch’s aesthetics more compelling. The watch’s conservative styling, reflecting the watchmaking traditions of London’s horological center of Clerkenwell, reflect traditions of the 1880s. This makes its manufacture in the early 20th century particularly significant, as the aesthetics of English watches had already evolved to a less ornate, and more angular movement design.
Another very noteworthy aspect of this piece is that the watch remained in custody of the Goldsmiths Co. stock for more than 40 years. The watch appears to have been finally sold in 1951, as this is what the original 18K gold hallmarks on the case reveal. The present watch, with original case, crown, and dial, was just recently auctioned by Wolley & Wallis auctioneers as lot 1521 on their Jewellery January 26, 2017 auction (Salisbury Salesroom). Unfortunately, it met the fate of a scrapper who destroyed the watch for the value of its gold case, and hence, accounting for the nearly pristine state of the movement. However, the fate of the watch, being manufactured in the early 1900s and only being sold in mid-century is not as rare as it first might seem. Many similar recorded occurrences from the Swiss firms of Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin show similar delays in the sale of their watches, with many pieces taking 20-30 years to be sold at times. This watch partially explains the sale of the Goldsmiths Co. to Garrard in 1952, it’s sale 40 years after its production reflects the difficulties the company faced in moving it’s stock.
Movement: A high-grade twelve size (41.5mm diameter) classic styled caliper, with beautifully curved 3/4 plate, gold gilded, and hand engraved Hunter style movement. The top ¾ plate is laid out in a harmonious asymmetry - having a ¾ plate fashioned with generous lobes which move from the periphery inwards to hug, and emphasize, the balance wheel. The three deep blue plate screws are placed nearly equidistant from each other around the perimeter of the ¾ plate. There top plate demonstrates three different treatments of pivots: The mainspring barrel arbor is given a large brass bushing. The three fastening screws for the bushing are placed equidistant and orientated on the same plane as that of the plate’s engraving. The mainspring arbor finished in a conical fashion. The two-piece center wheel pinion is given a square end, recalling earlier key wound watches. The square-ended pinion is highlighted with a very large and mirror polished washer. The third and fourth wheels are given traditional English jewelling with jewels in brass bushings (chatons), fastened by two blued-screws. The screws are aligned with each other, at a 45 degree angle to the script of the ¾ plate, adding a further sense of dynamism to the watch. On the same level as the central script, and placed in directly opposite sites of the ¾ plate are the movement holding screws, which would affix the movement to the original case. The center of the plate is given over entirely to a lavish Victorian script highlight the city of manufacture and sale ‘London’. The serial number prominently placed also in the center, directly under London. The name and address of the Goldsmith’s company very carefully calculated to encompass the entirety of the remaining perimeter of the ¾ plate movement.
On the dial side, on the left hand side are the serial number, and movement diameter and thickness stamps (“12” movement diameter / “01” movement thickness). On the bottom is an intricately shaped 1/3 gear-train plate. Visible on its left side is the traditional disposition of the escapement jewel-end caps in a sideways “L” configuration. Demonstrating the ‘right-angle’ escapement. The third and fourth wheel jewels are pressure fit as is traditional on the dial side of English movements. The gilding of the movement is in a very rich textured style, with a fine grain throughout. The slightly muted, but uniform color reflects the late 19th century gilding practices.
Balance bridge: Similar to the delicate engraving of the name, the balance bridge shows an exquisitely executed through-out floral design. The lush and finely worked vegetable motif starts on the foot of the balance wheel and extends to the top, and peaks with a ‘faux’ flower around the balance wheel red pivot end-jewel. The designations for ‘Fast’ and ‘Slow’ are compartmentalized in a rectangular space. The presence of such an fine floral decoration in a timepiece so close to the 1900s is rare, and shows the intent of creating a purposely traditional and conservatively English timepiece. A deep blued screw holds the balance bridge in place.
Escapement: Traditional English right-angle straight lever escapement. Large bimetallic balance wheel with small ‘talons’ at the balance arm ends, fitted with copious solid gold weights. The impulse jewel is housed with a single roller. The slender and long club ended escape lever is bounded by two banking pins on the outside of the escapement bridge, instead of inside as in some other English work. The escape wheel and escape lever bridge, very thick and starting its curvature from under the balance bridge and extends almost to the bottom of the ¾ plate, to meet the 4th wheel. The entire escapement is fitted with pivot end-jewels as in the best chronometers of the day. The balance is fitted with a traditional Lancashire and London flat blued-steel hairspring. This latter is given the corresponding correct box shaped hairspring stud. The hairspring index regulator is finished with a fine bevel along the index arm which is a rare feature in most English watches.
Keyless winding: Very nicely finished typical Lancashire and London styled keyless winding configuration. Consisting of exposed gears with the rocking lever placed underneath. Mirror polished bombe-shaped screw head ends, with all gears having a smooth star-grain finish. The mainspring ratchet with the traditional polished inner step, and fastened to the mainspring arbor via a steel pin. The mainspring click of talon style, with the traditional, and correctly positioned mainspring click above the ratchet wheel.
Train: Sold brass with thick and textured gold gilding. Solid hardened and polished steel pinions. Solid gold alloy escape wheel.
Jewels: 19 Jewels – Balance wheel (5), escape lever (2), escapement bridge (8), third and fourth wheels (4).
Coggiola Watch Roma Wristwatch Case, Buckle & Restoration Work:
Bespoke case, as accorded. More details to be revealed.
Hand manufactured case and parts in Rome, Italy:
Case: Solid brass case, bespoke design to be revealed. Domed front and flat back sapphire glass. Crown, stem, case crown sleeve, time setting pusher, and crews.
Dial: Round open work dial with custom indexes, custom sub-second’s chapter ring, feuille shaped hands, details to be revealed.
Buckle: Hand manufactured buckle, details to follow.
Diameter, without crown: 42-43mm.
Lug to lug: TBD.
Height, including crystal: TBA.
Strap: 22mm width. Length: Extra long. Roma, Italy. Hand-made leather strap made in Rome, Italy.
Restoration Work: TBA.