Gold hunter case, the front cover with distinctive family crest, hallmarked 1851, casemaker WR (William Rowlands, Clerkenwell). Second-series keywound fullplate fusee movement with cap jewels on balance and escape, of typical Barraud ‘plain’ or ‘all-brass’ caliper having gilt brass index and stud. Detached lever escapement of ‘dovetail’ form in which the standard roller with a passing crescent has a large trapezoidal (dovetail) shaped jewel acting with a distinctive pincer-like fork. Compensation balance, spiral balance spring. Lovely one-piece signed enamel dial, gold hands. 55 mm diameter.
Paul Philip Barraud and John Richard Lund, one of the leading London watch and chronometer manufacturers, of which the late Cedric Jagger produced a good history and checklist of their productions in his Book and its Supplement on the firm. That said, there are errors of identification within the checklist which casts some of its information into doubt. The first problem is Jagger’s use of “modified Savage escapement” for what is almost certainly a standard 2-pin detached lever escapement. This is not the same as the Savage 2-pin which acts with an entirely different geometry. Jagger also uses the term “”Savage” lever with trapezoidal pin” which almost certainly refers to what is really the dovetail lever escapement. This does not impulse as does a Savage 2-pin and, as far as we know, the escapement has nothing to do with George Savage. NB: Savage 2-pin escapements can also be modified to act in the standard manner if their notch is made into a passing-crescent. This negates its improved action, but it will still work, and usually well.
The ‘dovetail’ lever escapement is one of the least known and least recorded detached escapements, although it first appears soon after Edward Massey patents his lever escapement with its various forms of roller. The dovetail, Savage 2-pin, single-roller and other variants were almost certainly designed to avoid infringing Massey’s patent, but just which escapement maker/s were responsible is yet to be determined. The Barraud firm was one of the main users of the dovetail escapement but only rarely, and only in their better work – so much so, they seem to have been keen to refurbish any that came back to them ready for resale, as here.
The movement of this watch almost certainly dates from the early 1820’s and was re-cased and upgraded by the firm in 1851. The fusee pipe was discarded in the change and the upgrade almost certainly included a new compensation balance and balance-spring. The above changes noted, the watch and its escapement is in fine original condition showing few signs of use. Serviced for its previous owner and working well, but it can be freshly serviced if wanted – my likely cost around £200