Heavy gold half-hunter case hallmarked London 1865, casemaker’s mark AS (Alfred Stram, Ashby St, Clerkenwell). Keyless three-quarter plate repeating movement jewelled to the centre, the Swiss minute repeating ebauche probably supplied by Le Coultre. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial with original classic ‘English spade’ blued-steel hands. 51 mm diameter and weighing just under 135 grams.
Hunt & Roskell, late Storr & Mortimer, 156 New Bond Street, famous ‘Jewellers, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths, to the Queen’ as well as watch and chronometer makers of repute, retailers of many good English and Swiss made watches.
Alfred Stram (1816-1893), Swiss born, but working most of his life in Clerkenwell, recorded as a successor to the business of Louis Comtesse, and master to the young apprenticed Fred Thoms.
The case back bears the unusual engraved crest of a ‘mower with a scythe’ as used by the Lancashire based Pilkington family, about which much can be found on the internet.
The Le Sentier based firm of Le Coultre are one of the most important of the period supplying most of the repeating movements cased up and sold in the English market during the second half of the 19th century. This was primarily due to the fact that in 1870 Le Coultre were the first to offer cheaper ‘machine-made’ keyless repeating movements utilising interchangeable parts, though my work in repair and restoration throws some doubt on just how interchangeable the parts really were. One noticeable feature of these movements, often incorrectly sold as English work, is the distinctive diamond pattern on the top plate of blued and polished steel parts holding the keyless work adjacent to the stem. NB: This movement is a particularly early example of Le Coultre’s repeating work aimed at the English market and shows distinctive differences to their post-1870 production.
In good original condition showing a few of the usual signs of use, but the dial with a hair crack from the centre towards II and priced accordingly. Serviced, guaranteed and not at all expensive for an English finished, quality cased 18ct gold minute repeater.