Victor Kullberg, London for Haseldine, 36 New Bond

Street, London, No. 3976, ca. 1880s.

A fine Prescot made London finished watch

Victor Kullberg, 105 Liverpool Road, London. Victor Kullberg (1824 Visby, Gothland, Sweden – 1890 London, England) after apprentice work in Sweden until the age of 16, Kullberg moved to Copenhagen to work with the famous firm of Louis Urban Jürgensen. After attending the 1851 Great Exhibition Kullberg decided to relocate to London and open his own enterprise as an escapement maker. His excellent work led him to become one of England’s premier chronometer and watch manufacturers of the day. Kullberg’s innovations in marine chronometers, chronometry and other horological concerns earned him nine gold medals, various silver medals, and ‘Grand Diploma of Honor’ at various Universal and national exhibitions. He regularly submitted his chronometers to the Greenwich Observatory. As the obituary of James U. Poole notes, Kullberg was to earn the most first prize chronometry ratings held by any one person in the late 19th century. Kullberg is mostly known for his further development of compensation balances, eliminating secondary errors (temperature), and his use of reverse fusée. The firm of Victor Kullberg was continued by his son Peter John Wenneström under the name of V. Kullberg. It was continued by Sanfrid Lindquist and came to an end 1940 when the building destroyed during WWII.

Joseph Preston, Liverpool, manufacturer of rough movements (ebauches) to the best British watchmakers of late 19th century. Preston often manufactured proprietary movement designs for Kullberg and others. Kullberg’s registers show that each portion of his pieces participated in the complex outworker network typical of English watchmaking. G. Oestmann notes the following entries for the production of Marine Chronometers listed in the Kullberg registers kept by the Library of the Clockmakers Company (cf. MS 14537/3): “Movement/ Escapement Jewelling/ Mainspring/ Escapement Wheel/ Pallets/ Balance/ Pivoting/ Planting/ Stud/ Brass Box/ Finishing/ Chain/ Jewelling/ Cutting/ Springing/ Timing/ Examining/ Hands/ Box/ Gymble/ Engraving Dial/ Engraving Name/ Engraving Tablets/ Winder/ Outside Box/ Sundries [various expenses],”(“Towards the ‘German chronometer’. The introduction of precision timekeeping in the German mercantile marine and Imperial Navy in the nineteenth century,” Antiquarian Horology 35/3 (2014), p. 956.). The present rough movement was manufactured by Joseph Preston, and sold to Victor Kullberg, who then had the various pieces finished to his exacting requirements.

Haseldine, 36 New Bond Street, London. Situated in the heart of London’s luxury goods market, Haseldine retailed exclusive jewelry, silverware and watches. From the crown positioned on extant jewelry boxes, one infers that the Royal House was a customer of theirs.

Movement Highlights:

Movement: A curved and angled 3/4 plate Joseph Preston manufactured gold gilded, hand engraved, open-faced Lépine movement. The movement is characterized by a dynamic asymmetry in the layout of the wheel bridge. This is emphasized by the engraving of the retailer’s name at an angle to the axis formed by the mainspring, center and balance wheel arbors. In a manner typical of Kullberg watches, each pivot arbor on the wheel bridge is given a different finishing: The center wheel pinion is finished in the traditional square male pillar shape, recalling key-winding movements which would receive the female key to set the time. The center wheel pinion adorned with an over sized mirror-polished large and concave washer underscoring its square shape. The mainspring arbor enclosed with the traditional Kullberg decoration consisting of the small diameter arbor adorned with a very large flat and highly polished concave brash bushing. This latter held in place by three screws, of blue-purple tone, which are aligned with the retailer’s name, and not the four wheel bridge screws, thereby adding to the dynamism of the movement design. This is another typical trait of Kullberg watches. The fourth wheel arbor jewel of small size and set in a brass chaton, held by two blued screws. The third wheel decorated by a deep concave oil sink with gold gilding. A finishing that was typical of late 18th century and early 19th century watches. Light and bright hued blued bridge screws throughout. On the dial side, formed by a single plate, unlike most British movements that have a separate dial-side wheel train plate. Escapement pivots with end jewels. Their color near transparent allowing the viewing of pivots. Scratches onto the jewel chatons, in addition to position punch in order to facilitate the jewel adjustments carried out during timing. Fourth wheel arbor jewel pressure fitted to frame. The design of this caliber was manufactured expressly for Kullberg by Joseph Preston (cf. Preston’s manufacture stamp ‘J.P’ on the lower bottom). The caliber size of ‘12’ and the bridge height of ‘03’ stamped on to the frame. Also, a number ‘6’ is stamped onto the frame indicating the last number of this movements serial number.

Balance bridge: Un-adorned balance bridge surmounted by a faceted diamond end-stone set in a blued steel chaton fastened by two mirror polished flat screws. Bridge adorned with simple ‘Fast / Slow’ indication, written in old English block lettering (cf. ‘f’ for ‘s’). Box-shaped Hairspring stud, holding the flat blued-steel hairspring. The regulator index thin and long. Hairspring fastening stud created out of a gold balance wheel timing weight, as is traditional of British watchmaking, and employed by Kullberg.

Escapement: Traditional English detached right-angle lever escapement. Single flat-roller cylindrical impulse jewel. Polished steel club escape lever, with broad end finished with a flat top, forming a type of ‘t’. Bi-metallic compensation balance wheel with sharp-figured terminal steel ends. The balance wheel fitted with solid gold and platinum compensation and timing weights. Solid gold escape wheel. Double capped jeweling on escape lever and wheel.

Keyless winding: Traditional Victor Kullberg layout using Prescot styled bottom mounted rack lever. Screwed intermediary gears for mainspring winding and time setting, including the minute wheel. The screws given a bombé mirror-polish finish. The crown wheel core screws aligned with the winding stem. Ratchet wheel held in place through a two piece plate and screw, reminiscent of German tradition, and traditional of Kullberg’s fusée keyless winding. The ratchet click and spring also in the small looped style of Kullberg. Gears and ratchet wheel given fine snailing finish throughout.

Train: Solid gold mirror-polished gear train with thick hand-finished steel pinions. Solid gold escape wheel. Jeweled to the fourth wheel.  

Jewels: 17 Jewels – balance work (5), escape lever (6), escape wheel (4), fourth 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 stainless steel case. Winding crown at 3 o’clock position, seconds at 9 o’clock. Domed front and flat back mineral glass. Crown, stem, case crown sleeve, time setting pusher, and stainless steel crews.

Dial: Open work dial, details to follow.

Buckle: Four part stainless buckle, three stainless steel screws.

Case dimensions:

Diameter, without crown: 42-43mm.

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.

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