Gold engine-turned openface crystal (flat glass) case, the typical snap-on back with black enamel monogram, hallmarked London 1874, sponsor’s mark AN (Adolphe Nicole). Three-quarter plate going-barrel movement with typical revised 1st-type Nicole keyless work, jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, the pillar-less frame bearing Nicole’s twin serial numbers: 7171 and 7296. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Lovely signed enamel dial, original blued-steel hands. 48.5 mm diameter.
Adolphe Nicole, Patent No 10,348 of October 1844, includes the first commercially successful keyless work for both going-barrel and fusee watches, as well as the ‘heart shaped cam’ controller for true, start/stop/return to zero, chronographs. Joined by Danish born watchmaker Emil Nielsen, becoming Nicole Nielsen & Co by 1876, the firm were the foremost London watchmakers of the second half of the 19th century, supplying many of the finest chronographs, repeaters and tourbillion watches to retailers such as Frodsham, Dent, Smith & Son, etc.
John Poole, 57 Fenchurch St, London, chronometer and watchmaker of repute, awarded a prize medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1867, but committed suicide later that year. His business was carried on by his brother James Poole.
Light wear to the engine-turning and the bow, and with some faint hair cracks in the dial. Otherwise a good and relatively early true chronograph (start/stop/return to zero), not just a timer or hacking watch, with a lovely and unusual dial layout. Serviced for its previous owner and working well, but can be freshly serviced if wanted.