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Patent Union Chronometer "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted

Patent Union Chronometer

Over the past few years I have been privileged to be given the opportunity to work on several of these exceptionally rare timepieces by collectors of rare and complex pocket watches most of which are never seen. The watch arrived in non working condition needing a full service and escapement operation restoring after poor setup.
“The Patent Union Chronometer does have the merit that the escapement cannot unlock twice if the balance amplitude should increase beyond a turn in one direction. This is achieved without the balance being abruptly or violently brought to rest. Very few have survived in their original cases.
Out of 700 auction catalogues, only 8 examples of the P.U.C. have appeared, most of which were not signed at all (except perhaps with ‘Chronometer’ or ‘Patent Chronometer’), two were signed ‘Arnold and Lewis’ and one ‘Thomas Yates’ also note that this is a helical hairspring the most desirable and scarce variant of these chronometers.

Technical details:
Patent Union Chronometer escapement, with a duplex ‚escape wheel locked by a pointed lever pallet system, acting on its short radial pointed teeth. The pallet system allows the ‘escape wheel to advance as in a Robin escapement, with alternating short and long drops. During the larger drops, impulse is transmitted to a pallet set in a roller on the balance staff, by the short upstanding triangular teeth on the band (rim) of the ‘escape wheel. Contact between the pallet system and the balance staff is made by a pointed ‘fork’ working with the duplex roller on the staff. The locking surfaces of the pallets have negative draw, so the fork is held in contact with the tubular shaped ruby roller, on one side or the other, except during impulse. There is a complex sliding pallet bridge arrangement , to optimise the critical depth between the pallets and the ‘escape wheel & depthing of the pallet fork release/engagement. As you can see a also a helical hairspring.

The patent (final form) was taken by Charles GrantG. Kelvey and William Holland of Rock Ferry, Birkenhead on Sept 4th, 1863 (No. 2184) .

Anthony G. Randall, The Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers, Rockford, Ill. 1991, 271-272.

Case:
Many of the Patent Union Chronometers signed ‘Simmons’ with original cases do have a case punched CG in an oval (Caroline Green, 15 President Street East, Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, registered 3rd June 1861).
o Wolf Brüggemann in his DGC article lists No. 3152 (case made by Green), signed Yates, Preston (cf. DGC Mitteilungen No. 103 [2005] 9)
o The Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers has watch No. 2963 (case made by Green, numbered 2962), signed Patent Union Chronometer (cf. Anthony G. Randall, The Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers, Rockford, Ill. 1991, 272)
She must have been in business until the mid 1870s since she has registered another punch mark (but no more than that) in 1873. I conclude from this fact, that Mrs Green (must have been one of the few women in this male dominated craft) ran a small to medium sized business during the years 1861 until the mid 1870s. It is quite unlikely therefore, that many of her cases are on the market for an easy exchange. The number on this case (for movement #2964) is a five-digit number, incused very small, with corrections. This may well be a the internal control number given by the case maker . I believe the case to be all original, with no evidence or traces for filled holes which would be the most likely if it were a re-cased watch. furthermore, there are no other screw marks on the case which has the movement matching exactly and secured by a single peg screw. The case bears the hallmarks for 1861/62

 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
7

Live Action Videos showing the unique Patent Union Chronometer Escapement in operation...

Patent Union Chronometer Video Number 1

Patent Union Chronometer Video Number 2
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
posted
Chris,
what an awesome looking watch, and I see from it's dial markings that it has roots to your home town. This is a very high quality chronometer with great features plus the famous Arnold name on it. It would be a real treasure for any serious collector.
Now if only I could afford it Wink


Dave Freeman
IHC Member 321
 
Posts: 976 | Location: Texas in the U.S.A. | Registered: January 27, 2004
posted
Chris, I've kept coming back to take a good look at this watch, and sat back and waited to see what response its appearance would generate, and I can't believe it's raised so little interest.

I don't think folks realise just what an absolute gem or how scarce this watch really is!
This is no machine manufactured gizmo assembled from parts out of a factory's inventory!

As dave said, it's Awsome!
What folks need to take in, is that watch was hand made back in the 1800's, and I doubt there are many watchmakers on the planet today - even with the benefit of all their modern education, electronic machinery and computer wizardry, that could create a masterpiece like that.

Thanks for showing it to us!

John
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
IHC Life Member
Picture of William D. White
posted
Chris,

I've only been a member here for a few weeks but just tonight I came upon this post. What a fine watch! I guess it goes without saying that the English were the finest makers of pocket chronometers during this period...or any period! No other watchmaking center in history ever realized such success regarding the design and execution of so many varied forms of detached escapements used in portable precision timekeepers. It's an amazing tribute to horology in general that you could provide images and documentation of such a rare and unlikely timepiece for the rest of us to view and enjoy.

William
 
Posts: 1564 | Location: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: September 01, 2008
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
Hi William,

This truly is a outstanding watch one of a only a few left especially in this condition. A rare (I think I can honestly quote) example of the innovative design and developments leading to the modern watch as we know today, these early English and European watches are given little regard by most collectors, they do not fall under the “RR” watch category, and are difficult to identify, So sadly as trading tokens a un-known factor with little or no documentation to base a value other than the scrap gold weight of the case and are so often overlooked. Could you imagine the excitement and activity around this watch if it had been simply stamped Hamilton, with an experimental escapement, there would be a 6 figure price tag also.
I will try and post some more interesting watches when I can I have a few of my own to work on when time allows.
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
IHC Life Member
Picture of William D. White
posted
Hi Chris,

I was just studying the illustrations of the escapement and it looks as though technically it is of the frictional rest type. It looks very efficient though and I'm sure it must run very well.

True, it's very sad to find movements such as these whose cases were long ago (or even very recently) melted to a white hot molten blob. At least this one has apparently had and will continue to have a good home! It's really wonderful. If it were mine, I would wear it often.
 
Posts: 1564 | Location: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: September 01, 2008
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

What an amazing topic this is, the images will literally take your breath away.

Consider how few of us ever get to hold such artistry in our hand.

Thanks a million Chris for all you do for all of us.

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
That is simply beautifull. Thank you very much for this informative post. And this is coming from a novice that still has much to learn.


IHC Member 1193
 
Posts: 216 | Location: Key Biscayne, Florida in the USA | Registered: October 21, 2008
IHC Life Member
Picture of Richard M. Jones
posted
What a magnificent watch! I hope someday to own a fine English chronometer. WOW!


Deacon
 
Posts: 1004 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska in the USA | Registered: February 14, 2009
Picture of Roland Glenn
posted
Just came across this thread. Wow what a balance and staff!!!

Chris what other rarieties have you got to share since this one was originally posted?

Thank you, Roland.
 
Posts: 437 | Location: Toronto, Ontario in Canada | Registered: January 18, 2010
posted
Hi Chris, I have been collecting pocket watches for about 30 years and have many rare watches in my collection but have never seen one with this rare escapement. What a beauty !! Louis


josbern
 
Posts: 19 | Location: Johannesburg in South Africa | Registered: August 08, 2014
IHC Life Member
Certified Watchmaker
Picture of Chris Abell
posted
Hi Louis,

I am very fortunate to work on many rare and unusual watches, (wrist and pocket) over the years, I just never know what is coming in next.
With kind permission of the owners I will photo some and put on my web site click here. Watches
 
Posts: 2610 | Location: Northeast Texas in the USA | Registered: November 20, 2003
posted
Lovely

There is one on ebay:

 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
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