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

manufactured in London

A rare and unique pocket watch. The movement’s signature ‘Killick’ belongs not to a watch or jewelry reseller as one would generally assume. Instead, the name Killick pertains to Charles Kingston Killick. He is listed in the 1882 London City registry and appears listed as a “compensation balance maker”, and residing at 154 Packington Street in London’s neighborhood of Islington. Alongside London’s most important watchmaking district of Clerkenwell, the neighborhood of Islington was home to various watchmakers producing hi-quality work. The present watch, therefore, was in all probability commissioned by Charles Kingston Killick and utilized as his personal watch. It is fitted with the balance wheel of his very own making. Along Packington street there resided another 10 other people listed as watchmakers, pallet lever makers, or chronometer box makers. The components for this watch were most certainly sourced among the watchmakers of Packington street, and finished by Charles’ neighbors who exercised this trade. As such, this watch is an exemplary piece displaying a purely London craft of watchmaking, and the Islington neighborhood tradition. The commission of this piece by Charles makes this watch a unique creation. The serial number of the watch belongs to the registers of the movement blank maker, who also stamped the dial-side of the main-plate. This number, stamped also on the underside of the different bridges, helped keep the movement intact when the watch migrated to the possession of different watchmakers to carry out the specialized tasks of (planting-geartrain, jewelling, escapement, engraving-gilding, inter alia). The low serial number, testifies to the creation of this movement blank by traditional casting method and its subsequent hand-shaping. The fitting of a free-sprung balance takes a very meaningful significance as it was chosen to highlight the special quality and performance of the compensation balance manufactured by its owner. As the personal watch of a balance maker, it is surely a watch that was used and shown by its owner as an exemplar of his own quality work. The fine elegance, studied simplicity and classicism of this exemplary piece can be seen as the personal reflection of Killick’s own taste in watches.

Movement Highlights:

Movement: A high-grade fourteen size (42.5mm diameter) refined styled ebauche, with beautifully curved ¾ plate, gold gilded, and hand engraved Hunter style movement. The ¾ plate employs a style coined by John Wycherley of Prescot (Lancashire) consisting of generous lateral lobes which move from the periphery inwards to hug, and emphasize, the balance wheel. On the whole, the movement draws inspiration from Wycherley pieces, which in the day - along with Joseph Preston’s work- were considered the best ebauches for high-grade watches. The disposition of the ¾ plate is laid out in a near symmetrical manner –  the four deep blue plate screws are placed nearly equidistant from each other around the perimeter of the ¾ plate. The plate screws all having the traditional numbering punches, so that when the movement is disassembled, the screws can be correctly reinserted in their original position. Adding to the harmonious symmetry of the movement are the two peripheral case-screws which are placed along the same axis. There top plate demonstrates three different treatments of pivots: The mainspring barrel arbor is given a large brass bushing. It is remarkable in this instance for the broadness of the bushing, and its flatness- where usually the arbor bushing is decorated with a large convex oil sink. The three fastening screws for the bushing are placed equidistant and orientated on the same plane as that of the plate’s central visual axis. The two-piece center wheel pinion is given a large circular button finish and is nearly the same size as the mainspring arbor, creating a visual harmony of shapes on the movement. The center wheel pinion receives no decoration and is laid directly on the ¾ plate. 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 contributing to the visual harmony of the movement. In the  center of the plate, placed between the center wheel pinion and mainspring arbor is the movement serial number, with the abbreviation of the word ‘number’ in Gothic shorthand as is the custom in English watches. The name of Killick with his personal home address written out in Victorian script around the periphery of the ¾ plate. London does not appear engraved, but rather to highlight Killick’s neighborhood affiliation, ‘Islington’ appears in capital letters with a Victorian flourish to match the name of ‘Killick’. This creates a visual balance around both sides of the movements central visual axis. This latter formed by the mainspring arbor, up to the center wheel pinion, and the diamond capped endstone for the balance wheel.

On the dial side, a visually rich combination of left hand open space, with right hand keyless winding and setting mechanisms. On the bottom of the movement is the movement diameter and thickness stamps (“14” movement diameter / “02” movement thickness). Directly opposite, situated above the mainspring talon click, is the movement serial number stamp of ‘678’. The large left hand sided 1/3 gear train plate has been specially shaped (in the portion above) to accommodate the mainspring click. The 1/3 plate screws are similarly marked with positional signs so that the screws are correctly positioned when servicing is done. On the lower left side of the movement 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. 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 very rich textured style, with a fine grain throughout.

Balance bridge: True to free-sprung 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 Phillips overcoil, 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. Large bimetallic balance wheel with small ‘talons’ at the balance arm ends. This authored work is remarkable for the thinness of the balance arms, where the outer rim is thinner than the steel portion. The balance wheel fitted with large, heavy solid gold weights. The impulse jewel is given a single roller. The escape lever is finished in with the traditional club-shaped end. The two banking pins are placed underneath the balance bridge, giving a visual cleanliness to the escapement works. The escape wheel and escape lever bridge has a very sharp curve inwards, reminiscent of Wycherley’s movement designs. The entire escapement is fitted with pivot end cap-jewels as in the best chronometers of the day.

Keyless winding: Intricately finished, typical Lancashire and London styled, keyless winding configuration. Consisting of exposed gears with the rocking lever placed underneath. Deep blued bombe-shaped screw head ends on the intermediary gears, with the rocking lever plate screws mirror polished. 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. Intermediary gears given mirror polish. The mainspring ratchet wheel given a finely grained starburst pattern along the exterior, with the traditional polished inner step. It is fastened 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: 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, inspired by case design used by L. Ferrier 'Galet', and its predecessor the Patek Philippe Ref. 2526.

Hand manufactured case and parts in Rome, Italy:

Case: Solid brass three piece case. Threaded front and back bezels. Case with solder-fastened crown sleeve. Time setting pusher. New movement keyless works pushing screw to accommodate time setting pusher. Domed front and flat back sapphire glass, fastened via a concealed Hytrel gasket (recessed-milled gasket seating).

Crown: Hand milled two piece onion styled brass crown, with outer bulb form milled and stem tube solder-fastened to the interior.

Dial: Round open work aluminum dial, hand milled railroad track minute marker. Dark blue lacquer.

Hands: Assegai shaped voluminous hand-sculpted spring polished spring steel hands.

Buckle: Hand sculpted, three-piece buckle frame. United via solder-fastening. 

Case dimensions:

Diameter, without crown: 44.30 mm.

Lug to lug: 53 mm.

Height, including crystal: 14 mm.

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

Restoration Work: 4th-wheel 3/4 plate pivot jewel and retaining chaton replacement. 4th wheel second's pinion repivoting. Balance wheel upper pivot jewel replacement. New balance staff pivot. Light conscientious refinishing of keyless works to remove surface rust. Restoration of blued surfaces on screws.

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