Three-quarter plate fusee movement with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, with a form of Gougy’s Patent ‘simple split’ chronograph work mounted under the dial, the pillar-plate bearing N&C’s numbers 3157 and 3238. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial with seconds at 9. 42 mm diameter, 7 mm deep, not including centre arbor.
Frederick William Rippon, step-son of Edward John Dent who died in 1853. Frederick inherited the business, changing his family name to Dent, and continued a thriving business that included completing work on the Palace of Westminster clock, commonly known as Big Ben. Frederick died in 1860, at which point the firm became Dent & Co – see V Mercer’s book on the various Dent firms for more information.
Pierre Frederick GOUGY, Patent 8308, December 1839. “The introduction into watches…of a supplementary second hand, so adjusted by mechanism that it may be stopped while the other second hand is going, and on being set free will recover its original position.” Examples of this simple split-seconds mechanism are rare. The two seconds hands are connected by a spiral hairspring, the outer end of which is connected to a steel disc. Pushing on the pendant allows a sprung lever to stop the disc and thus one of the hands, and the time can be noted. Releasing the push allows the disc and thus the hand to catch up with the standard seconds hand, with which it then continues to revolve as one.
NB: If the push is held down, the standard seconds hand will continue to move but the spring joining the two will tighten until the watch is forced to stop. This is not how such watches were used. This mechanism should rightly be seen as an improvement on the earlier inking chronographs. At the start of an event the push is activated and the time noted, and the push then released. At the end of the event the push is again activated and the time noted, a quick subtraction giving the precise time taken – and all without having to remove ink marks from an otherwise fragile dial, not to mention the hands.
Staff pivot gone, dial with hair cracks and small chip at the centre, and lacking all hands and the split-seconds hair-spring that would have originally been in the steel drum, Otherwise a good if rather dirty example of this unusual English Patent. Not working.