Charles BACON 'FECIT' Islington, London. No 562


£ 175.00

Good keyless fusee movement with up/down by this little known maker, circa 1875.

More details

Three-quarter plate fusee movement with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape, with Sutton's 'sliding-spring' keyless work. Single-roller detached lever escapement, the lever of unusual form and safety. Compensation balance, spiral balance-spring. Signed enamel dial with state-of-wind indication at 12, blued-steel hands. 43 mm diameter, 8 mm deep, not including centre arbor.

Charles Bacon, 37 Gerard St, Islington, recorded and an "escapement maker" who advertised as a "manufacturer of plain and complicated watches," and was a member of the BHI Council in his early years. Few items are recorded by him, but they do include a box chronometer and a longcase regulator. See his short obituary in the Horological Journal, May 1917, page 107.

The early history of keyless fusee work remains somewhat of a mystery, not the least because this type of sliding-spring keyless work is generally attributed to Sutton. However, no Patent was taken out by anyone named Sutton and the situation is made more muddy in as much as David Glasgow, writing in his book of 1885 (pp 267-268), illustrates a similar system that he claims to have made for many years, but writes that "the merit of its invention has been claimed by several people" 

NB: This up/down movement is one in which the steel wheel holding the up/down hand is not mounted on a post but held in place only by its pipe being supported by its state-of-wind hole in the offset enamel dial - the system appears to work as well as any in my experience, but care is needed when placing the dial.

Fine hair crack in the dial, lacking the minute hand and the lever pivot or its jewel broken. Otherwise in fine original condition having only recently had its case scrapped - the continuing sad fate of many gold cased watches at this time. Not working, but an unusual if not unique lever variant and well worth repairing.