James BERRY (M*M) for W WAGSTAFF, Islington. No 2746


Good partially finished rough movement in its box, circa 1875.

More details

Three-quarter plate fusee movement jewelled to the 4th, complete with its train and steel parts, some of which are in the plates and others wrapped in brown tissue paper, the 14-size hollow-back frame stamped M*M (probably James Berry, Prescot). Single-roller detached lever escapement and compensation balance in place but has not yet been sprung nor the balance cut. Complete with its enamel dial signed for the retailer in perfect condition, in its wood veneer 'pill' box. 43.5 mm diameter, 8.5 mm diameter, not including centre arbor.

William Wagstaff, one of many little known but good London (Clerkenwell area) watchmakers.

James Berry, Prescot, Lancashire, manufacturer of rough movements and known to have used the M*M stamp, standing for 'machine-made.' An interesting and rare document regarding the English practice of making fusee watches - no watch collection complete without such an unfinished example. See also the YOUR TIME 2008 exhibition catalogue, pages 61 and 62.

NB: English watch manufacturing was split into at least forty separate specialist trades at this time, around 50% who were involved in the manufacture of rough movements, which the Swiss/French call an ebauche. It is from Lancashire items like this, rather than the complete, frosted and gilded watches, that one can fully appreciate how wonderfully good and crisp was the work of these Prescot specialists.

A rare survival in good original condition, with some slight signs of corrosion on the steelwork.