A well-traveled fusee

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A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:24 am

This watch came to me through my father from his father, although I doubt anyone in my family ever wore it. It is in a rather slim (for the time) but large diameter (6 cm) single-hinged case. The silver case has makers mark "PG" in a diamond. The history of this watch (before it came to my family) is sketchily recorded by repairer's marks on the mechanism and by a watchpaper in the back of the case. This watch was probably made in France around 1800, spent time in Paris and then came over the sea to Philadelphia in the late 1820s or 1830s. By the middle of the 1800s it had found its way to Sackets Harbor, NY, at the east end of Lake Ontario. How do I know where it has been? Read on ...
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:26 am

This French verge fusee is unusual in having the balance wheel exposed in the upper part of the dial.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:27 am

The movement is unsigned, but notes scratched on the mainspring barrel appear to record part of its repair history. Marks on the barrel (as closely as I can interpret the scratches) include "C. Guiteau 1828", "R.H. Putney", and "L. Quandale". Baillie lists a Guiteau in Paris from 1812-25 and he apparently worked on watches at least a few years after that. Lewis Quandale is recorded in Philadelphia from 1813-25, and he, likewise, was apparently in business a little later (as I doubt the watch traveled back to Paris for the 1828 repair). I have not found Putney.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:29 am

The watch paper in the back of the case is from Sackets-Harbor, New York which is located at the east end of Lake Ontario and had a major port facility. The jewelry and watch trade of Asa R. Ford is known from an 1839 advertisement and his house or shop is shown on a town map in the 1864 Jefferson County atlas (courtesy of Sackets Harbor historical society). He probably sold the watch to, or repaired it for, the contemporary owner. The signature on the watchpaper is that of H.W.Pane, the presumed owner. The residence of H.W. Payne (spelling variant) is also shown on the 1864 town map. Henry W. Payne died in 1864 at age 45 according to his epitaph.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:32 am

This is a portion of the 1864 Sackets Harbor town map. Ford's shop is labeled on the right and the other highlighted building on Main St. is shown in the map legend to be the home of H.W. Payne.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby richiec » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:39 am

Great research jerry, I wonder who originally owned the watch, the last owners father possibly? I have only one watch I know the history on which was recorded in a prior thread in this section.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby Glyn Meredith » Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:30 am

Excellent topic, Jerrry. Did you scan those pics or are they photos?
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby Irwin » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:29 pm

Great watch, great research story.
It makes me think that professional watchrepairers should consider putting their names and the year they did the work, on the watches they repair, instead of the heiroglyphic shorthand of work ledger numbers that we usually see. It will enable collectors three, four and more generations down the road to do exactly as Jerry has done so interestingly here, identifying who worked on the watch and when.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby 4thdimension » Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:17 am

Wonderful watch and story Jerry. Any idea how your grandfather came by it? It is an unusual format I haven't encountered before.

I love the old watch paper trail but, practically speaking, it has its limitations. Some watches that moved too much would need room for a phone book by now! The lack of signature on the watch is a drag too. One has to wonder why this occurred. As with so many Victorian era high grade Swiss watches, the artists involved get no credit for their fine work. I guess it doesn't mean much at this point but it sure would've helped us collectors. How shortsighted ;) .
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:08 am

As unromantic as it is, my brother and I suspect grandpa bought the watch at one of the many local auctions he went to after moving to Los Angeles in the '50s. He liked to buy various odds and ends and objet d'art. It is also possible that he acquired the watch earlier along with other merchandise when, as a businessman in St. Louis, he bought up old business stock (primarily clothing) from failing businesses around the region. Either way there is quite a gap between the 1860s and the 20th century during which its travels are unknown. By the way, this is the third example I have seen of this plate layout. Shugart shows one and another turned up in a query on the green board.

Another old (ca.1834) fusee I have did not move much at all, but was regularly serviced and accumulated a wad of five watchpapers from the same watchmaker in Scotland. I found it in London in the 1960s.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby bascall » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:40 pm

The signature on the watch paper may well belong to Henry Worden Payne who is listed as a grocer in the 1850 U S Federal Census for Hounsfield, New York and a speculator (investor?) in the 1860 U S Federal Census for Hounsfield, New York. Just as a possibility for the R H Putney that was mentioned, there is a Reuben H Putney who is listed in the 1820 and 1830 U S Federal Census's for Hounsfield, New York.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby Glyn Meredith » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:54 pm

Welcome to our message board, Patrick, and thank you for posting.

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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby aditya » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:15 am

A beautiful watch, and excellent detective work!!!

I like the dial treatment very much.

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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby JerryT » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:48 am

Patrick - thanks for the detective work. I think you found some relevant information which adds to the history of my watch.
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Re: A well-traveled fusee

New postby veritas » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:30 pm

Thanks Jerry for sharing this story of your watch.This watch sure could tell some stories, it actually has in it,s own way.
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