Heavy crystal hunter case with swivel bow, hallmarked 1881, sponsor’s mark HMF (Harrison Mill Frodsham). Halfplate fusee movement jewelled to the fusee, with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape, with knock-out keyless work operated by the cover, and with unusual American-style lever hand-setting, the frame stamped TPH (T P Hewitt). Double-roller detached lever escapement. Top quality compensation balance with quarter timing nuts, free-sprung balance-spring with triple overcoil. Perfect signed enamel dial with state-of-wind indication, original blued-steel hands. 54.5 mm diameter. Together with the original maker’s velvet and silk lined, gold tooled, blue leather box.
Charles Frodsham, along with his great rival Edward John Dent, the most famous of London’s great 19th century clock, watch and chronometer makers – see the book on the various Frodsham firms by Vaudrey Mercer, a copy of which is usually available on my website. NB: On the death of Charles Frodsham, in 1871, the firm was being run by his son Harrison Mill Frodsham, and his ‘HMF’ stamp began to be used as the firm’s standard for hallmarking their best cases – it does not mean that Harrison Mill Frodsham was the casemaker. The HMF sponsor’s mark, along with RN (Robert North), are to be found on some of the very best English cases ever made. This case, a ‘crystal hunter’ is an unusual and very early use of a flat glass in a hunter case. A favourite style of mine, it is wonderful ‘in the hand’
Thomas P Hewitt, one of the main suppliers of the best quality Lancashire watch and chronometer rough movements. Hewitt took over the business of John Wycherly in 1882, and was an important character in helping set up the ill-fated Lancashire Watch Company, becoming its Managing Director, and overseeing its eventual closure
Front cover with engraved ‘RR’ monogram, which I was informed at the time of purchase is for Robert Reid (1842-1904), one of the foremost of Australia’s 19th century commercial magnates and politicians. Scottish born, Reid arrived in Australia aged thirteen and, after working his way up in the clothing trade, took over the business which became Reid & Co in 1887, surviving as Paterson, Reid & Bruce to this day. Reid died in London and is buried in Hampstead Cemetery. Case and box showing some signs of use and age, otherwise a very well finished watch in fine original and obviously well cared for condition. Serviced and guaranteed.