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I've always loved watches, but it wasn't until recently, when my grandfather gave me his old pocket watch (that used to belong to my great grandfather) that I became fascinated with antique watches.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find anyone to take it to for advice, so I've been doing some research online.

Can anyone tell me anything about this watch? I haven't been able to discover who made it. I can't get to the movements because it's covered by a "plate" (see last picture, with lion's head engraving) and I'm not sure how to remove it. Am I correct in assuming that the maker's name is underneath?

Is it advisable to remove the plate myself (bearing in mind I have no idea what I'm doing), or is that something best left to professionals? I'd hate to damage the watch in any way.

Pictures below. Any help/advice much appreciated.

PocketWatch001.jpg

PocketWatch002.jpg

PocketWatch003.jpg

PocketWatch004.jpg

PocketWatch005.jpg

PocketWatch006.png

PocketWatch007.jpg
 

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Those references to your pics don't seem to be actual links, so we can't view your watch. My advice at this minute is DON'T TAMPER WITH THE WATCH UNTIL MEMBERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT DECENT PICTURES. Advice from esteemed pocket watch fans on here will stop you going too far in messing about with the innards of the watch in order to get information.:)

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Always Watching - - giveth good advice. You might want to tell us where you are based, maybe a member will know of a friendly "real" watchmaker in your area who would open it for you :tumbleweed:

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8 hours ago, gimli said:

I, for one, can't see the photos.

 

6 hours ago, Roddyjb said:

Nor can I?

I shared the photos from Dropbox, and it seemed fine last night. Today on my phone, however, I also can't see them. Sorry about that, I'm going to try again.

6 hours ago, Always"watching" said:

Those references to your pics don't seem to be actual links, so we can't view your watch. My advice at this minute is DON'T TAMPER WITH THE WATCH UNTIL MEMBERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT DECENT PICTURES. Advice from esteemed pocket watch fans on here will stop you going too far in messing about with the innards of the watch in order to get information.:)

Thanks, yeah I was hesitant to start tampering. I'm going to try to upload the photos again.

4 hours ago, mel said:

Always Watching - - giveth good advice. You might want to tell us where you are based, maybe a member will know of a friendly "real" watchmaker in your area who would open it for you :tumbleweed:

I'm living in South Korea at the moment and unfortunately Koreans don't seem to be all that interested in antique watches :( I can have it looked at when I go back home, but that might not be for some time.

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Well one of the hallmarks is that of Britain. The other 2 should tell us the period, maker and/or city of production but I don't know what they are. (google the hallmarks and you should find them)

The movement is a verge fusee type. All I know. :)

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The 'plate' you refer to is merely a dust cover. The bow shaped retaining catch should slide left or right to unlock and lock. Once unlocked the dust cover can be lifted to revel the workings. There may be a maker's name engraved on the plate under there.

This vid will explain:

 

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I concur with both Gimlii and MyrridinEmrys - - (haven't heard those in a whiley, my Sunday is Emlyn) just take it easy on the bow catch, use something like a cocktail stick if it seems stiff, and make sure it can move before moving it if you know what I mean? :rolleyes:

You need to relieve the pressure by pushing the bow inwards very slightly before you try sliding it round to the release position to flip the cover. :biggrin:

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I can't add much to the good advice already given. The hallmark in the case looks to be for London 1857. As has been said if the cover can be carefully removed you may find a watchmaker's name as well as being able to see & identify the type of movement. :)

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Silver marks:

Uncrowned Leopard Head is a London mark used from 1821 onwards.

The Gothic looking lower case ?b is for 1857.

4 minutes ago, davidcxn said:

I can't add much to the good advice already given. The hallmark in the case looks to be for London 1857. As has been said if the cover can be carefully removed you may find a watchmaker's name as well as being able to see & identify the type of movement. :)

Snap! :thumbs_up:

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@gimli @MyrridinEmrys @mel @davidcxn 

Thanks for all the great info guys. I checked the hallmarks and wasn't sure if the "b" was for 1857 or 1917 (both use lower case b). I'm surprised it dates that far back. My great grandfather was born in Liverpool in 1900. I wonder if perhaps he got it from his father. More research pending...

After watching the vid (thanks @MyrridinEmrys) I managed to remove the dust cover. I discovered two names which, if my eyes are to be trusted, are: "D Mc Cutcheon" and in a different area "Downpatrick" with a serial number 23584. So far I haven't had any luck tracing those names.

I'll post the photos below.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ontdm447i3jrnou/PocketWatch008.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rc58ej46x85kbwi/PocketWatch009.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/32qn0e8j4nnjfk0/PocketWatch010.png?dl=0

Am I reading those correctly? Do those names ring a bell for anyone?

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Well, the Downpatrick would be the town Mr McCutcheon had his watchmaker shop located in. Currently, that's about 25 miles south of Belfast in what is now Northern Ireland, but would likely have been classed as Ireland and under British rule prior to the partition of Ireland into the North for Northern Ireland and Eire as the Republic in the South. :)

A bit of research might throw up some more info using McCutcheon (an Irish name) and Downpatrick as references, and the Irish connection could well tie in with Liverpool as that was a favourite point of entry into the UK mainland for those emigrating from Ireland. :biggrin:

Enjoy the research - - sometimes the finding out can be real fun! :whistle:

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8 hours ago, mel said:

Well, the Downpatrick would be the town Mr McCutcheon had his watchmaker shop located in. Currently, that's about 25 miles south of Belfast in what is now Northern Ireland, but would likely have been classed as Ireland and under British rule prior to the partition of Ireland into the North for Northern Ireland and Eire as the Republic in the South. :)

A bit of research might throw up some more info using McCutcheon (an Irish name) and Downpatrick as references, and the Irish connection could well tie in with Liverpool as that was a favourite point of entry into the UK mainland for those emigrating from Ireland. :biggrin:

Enjoy the research - - sometimes the finding out can be real fun! :whistle:

You're absolutely right. I didn't think it would at first, but the research is actually turning our to be really fun :thumbs_up:

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6 hours ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

Here's your chap on the 1901 Irish census with the wife Mary Ann:

document

Born 1832 so would be 25 when he made your watch.

Freemason as well:

The Grand Lodge of Freemasons of IrelandThe Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland (1)

 

That's amazing research! I've definitely found my new hobby, that's for sure.

 

It's interesting you mentioned Freemasons. On the first picture I sent, on the chain, there's a little attachment that my grandfather said had something to do with Freemasons. He wasn't sure if it was his father's, but now it looks as if it was the watch maker's.

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6 hours ago, Jon Parsons said:

On the first picture I sent, on the chain, there's a little attachment that my grandfather said had something to do with Freemasons. He wasn't sure if it was his father's, but now it looks as if it was the watch maker's.

That's the Masonic compass which is usually shown with a set-square: http://burningtaper.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/symbol-of-day-masonic-square-and.html

I wonder if a piece has broken off the back of it?

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As a Freemason, Mr McCutcheon would likely have been also a member of one of the Protestant churches in Ireland, and Parish records might help as well.  For Jon, it might well be worth searching for your Great Grandfathers name and surname in Parish Records and the Census-es for the areas surrounding Downpatrick - - remember folks tended to NOT move around too much then, there wasn't a lot in local transport services except for Shanks Pony! :biggrin:

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6 hours ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

That's the Masonic compass which is usually shown with a set-square: http://burningtaper.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/symbol-of-day-masonic-square-and.html

I wonder if a piece has broken off the back of it?

I took a look at the Masonic compass and nothing appears to have broken off. Maybe it was two individual pieces and one's missing. I'm not sure to be honest.

2 hours ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

Yet another surprise:

McCutcheon-David-1aMcCutcheon-David-1b

 

Very interesting!! Is this a key or something? Does this belong to you or is it a picture you found online?

2 hours ago, mel said:

As a Freemason, Mr McCutcheon would likely have been also a member of one of the Protestant churches in Ireland, and Parish records might help as well.  For Jon, it might well be worth searching for your Great Grandfathers name and surname in Parish Records and the Census-es for the areas surrounding Downpatrick - - remember folks tended to NOT move around too much then, there wasn't a lot in local transport services except for Shanks Pony! :biggrin:

That's a great tip, thanks Mel. I'll see what I can find.

@MyrridinEmrys @mel 

Do you know if it's possible to use the serial number to track down the exact date it was made? I know databases are kept for some of the bigger watch makers, but I haven't been able to find anything for Mr McCutcheon.

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1 hour ago, Jon Parsons said:

Very interesting!! Is this a key or something? Does this belong to you or is it a picture you found online?

Do you know if it's possible to use the serial number to track down the exact date it was made? I know databases are kept for some of the bigger watch makers, but I haven't been able to find anything for Mr McCutcheon.

It's a No 6 watch key - watch/clockmakers had them specially made as advertisements - no telly in those days! It's not mine - just a pic I found with a bit of digging online.

Dating serial numbers for small independent watchmakers will be nigh on impossible. Sometimes paper records end up in local museums or in the national archives if you're lucky. :(

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You're getting there Jon, but bear in mnd you have what we call a "sterile" dial - - there's no watchmaker's name imprinted onto the dial. It may be that Mr McC simply bought in a complete watch and engraved the movement with his name - - you would have to decide if the engraving of the serial number and maker etc., is all by the same hand and if not it may possibly indicate the above. :)

Researching your own ancestor Jon, again, try to find out if he was also a member of one of the Protestant churches, there may well have been a tendency for purchasing from Mr McC as a fellow Mason or church member - - and if your Great Grandfather could afford a watch of this quality back in that time he may well have been quite well off as a fellow merchant or landowner and so would be in Parish or town records, census and so on. :yes:

 

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16 hours ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

It's a No 6 watch key - watch/clockmakers had them specially made as advertisements - no telly in those days! It's not mine - just a pic I found with a bit of digging online.

Dating serial numbers for small independent watchmakers will be nigh on impossible. Sometimes paper records end up in local museums or in the national archives if you're lucky. :(

Thanks, I thought that might be the case :(

One other thing I’m still not sure about is why would the case have the London leopard hallmark if the watch was made in Downpatrick, Ireland? Does it just mean that a case imported from London was used for a watch that was made in Downpatrick?

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