Silver half-hunter case hallmarked 1894 with unusual ‘internal’ snaps to the covers and the dark red filled engraved chapter on the front cover without a 12 or a 6, following the style of the dial, casemaker F.T (Fred Thoms, Clerkenwell). Three-quarter plate going-barrel movement jewelled to the 3rd, with cap jewels on balance and escape, the lever arbor not jewelled as is not uncommon in English work. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, overcoil balance-spring. Rare and possibly unique design of signed enamel dial with the graphics in red but no 12 and the position of the 6 taken by the offset seconds, blued-steel hands. 51 mm diameter.
David Keys & Son ‘Chronometer & Watch Manufacturers’ 15 Craven St, Strand, also with a retail shop in Piccadilly, a fine and mostly underrated London firm, manufacturers of fusee keyless work to their own Patent, etc.
Fred Thoms, 25 Spencer Street, Clerkenwell, considered to be the finest watch case maker of his day. He died in 1930, after which his business was incorporated into Joseph Walton & Co. This case employs the earlier of his two stamps, plus it has been made with a snapping edge that I cannot remember encountering before.
A most interesting watch but one that shows all the usual signs of use: to the case, which is somewhat rubbed; to the movement, the gilding being rather scruffy,; and to the dial, having hair cracks and an added fixing screw at 6. Priced accordingly but still a good, highly individual and possibly unique English watch. Serviced and guaranteed.