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About Melville

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  1. The RB mark IS the mark of casemaker Richard Macaire Ball. He first registered his mark at the London Assay Office in July 1854, then again in March 1876, and finally in November 1886. His address was given as 31 Sudely Street, City Road, London.
  2. The initials AWCC stand for American Watch Case Company, a Canadian company that was based in Toronto. Three of their best known gold filled case grades were:- Cashier, Fortune and Empress. The Cashier was the highest grade of these three with a 25 year 'wear through' guarantee.
  3. That's a very nice find. The serial number dates the movement to 1914. It's a 14 size Model 1897, Grade No 418 with 15 jewels. Quite a popular movement in it's day with 56,350 produced. Waltham at that time only made movements which they sold on to the various retail outlets. The retailer would offer the customer a selection of cases by various watch case makers. All the case making companies had their own system of numbering their cases. So the case serial number never matches the movement number. Looking at your case and movement, they appear to be original to each other. Notice there are no extra case screw marks around the edge of the case. A good indication that this movement has spent it's entire life in that case. Well spotted!
  4. I'd say it is worth more to you as a family piece. If it had been my Grandad's I would keep it.
  5. I am not a collector of this type of pocket watch but the thing next to the crown is what you adjust the hands with. Notice that it has a tiny central button. Press this down with a finger or thumb nail, and hold it down, and rotate the winder to adjust the hands to the correct time and then release the button. The winder is not supposed to do anything other than wind the watch. It shouldn't pull up or push down like some pocket watches do. The screw at the top of the movement is to hold the stem of the winder in position in its locating groove. The slight movement you can feel in the crown is the end of the screw moving up and down in the groove. Unscrewing this screw allows the winder to be withdrawn from the movement when removing the movement from the case. I think that peaking up of the movement is where that holding screw has been tightened too firmly over the years and has drawn the plate up, as you can see, the plate is very narrow at this point and liable to this kind of damage.
  6. Hi, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the movement you have posted is not a 1857 Model, P.S. Bartlett Grade. It's a 1883 Model, 7 jewel movement. When you looked it up you missed off the 7 digit at the front of the serial number and so you were 7 million movements earlier than you should be. Serial Number 184171 is indeed a 1857 Model, P.S. Bartlett with 11 jewels that dates to 1865, but this is not it. The serial number on your movement is 7184171 which is a 1883 Model Amn Watch Co. Grade with 7 jewels and dates to 1895/96. Thirty years later. The hall mark date letter 'x' is for 1897 and that ties in very nicely with the age of the movement to circa 1895/6. The movements were shipped to the UK as movements only and were then fitted with dials and hands and then cased so they are always earlier than the cases. The dial and hands are correct for the period. The main reason the case hallmark can't be the earlier date letter 'x' for 1872 is because Alfred Bedford wasn't in the UK at that time and didn't register his A.B mark with the Birmingham Assay Office until the 12th March, 1879. After saying all that, the watch appears to be totally original and in very nice condition.
  7. I collect English pocket watches circa 1750 to 1850 and American pocket watches circa 1860 to 1920. A few of these in my collection, maybe a dozen or so are in Chester hall marked cases. This is four of those:- The first one is a pair cased verge movement by a Lancashire maker in a Chester case hall marked for 1806. These movements were hand made, so no two watches are the same. Broken parts have to be repaired or renewed, which is expensive. The cases were made to fit the movements, so again, no two are the same. The second one is slightly later. The fusee movement is by the noted Liverpool maker Thomas Blundell and dates to circa 1840. Again, these movements were hand built, but sometimes parts from other broken or damaged movements can be adapted to fit, otherwise new parts have to be made. So, quite expensive to have repaired. The third one is an early Waltham Appleton Tracy 15 jewel movement dating to 1876. This is an 18 size in a Chester hall marked hunter case. It is quite a large watch and like the two previous watches they look quite bulky in a waistcoat pocket. Walthams were machine made and so model/grade parts are identical and can be salvaged from broken movements. This helps to keep repair costs much lower. The last one is another Waltham, but a lot smaller, being an eight size. It is a 7 jewel Riverside grade in an open faced Chester hall marked case that also dates to 1876. It is key wound and set from the back of the movement. This size of watch is ideal for evening wear in a waistcoat pocket. and have usually led a more sheltered life and consequently the cases show far less wear. This case is over 140 years old and looks as good as new. Again parts can be interchanged. Waltham only used the Chester Assay Office for three or four years and then switched to the Birmingham Assay Office so the Chester marked Walthams are much rarer. My range of collecting does not include European watches so I can't offer any advice regarding those. So if I was to choose just one Chester hall marked pocket watch with regard to reliability, timekeeping and cost of maintenance I would opt for an early Waltham, but if I wanted something that filled me with pride every time I slipped it from my waistcoat pocket it would have to be two hundred years old pair cased English pocket watch. I hope this has helped. Nick
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