- Museum number
SILVER AND GOLD CASED LEVER WATCH WITH QUARTER-REPEAT.
Large front-plate with cocks and bridges for the train wheels. Going-barrel; Geneva stop-work.
Pendant-operated quarter-repeat sounding on steel gongs.
Lever escapement; brass wheel with raised pins
White enamel dial with raised gold Arabic hour numerals; signed.
Silver case with gold rims. On the back an engine-turned radiating design above a plain oval medallion; casemaker's mark and hallmark.
- Production date
Diameter: 56 millimetres (case)
Diameter: 52.50 millimetres (dial)
Diameter: 53.20 millimetres (movement)
Thickness: 23.80 millimetres
- Curator's comments
The proportions of the escapement are similar to those found in Pouzait levers. [JL 6/91]
Comment from Richard Good, Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum. Vol. V (Unpublished manuscript)
Made by Louis Berthoud
Paris, c. 1815 (1)
Silver cased pin-wheel lever watch with dumb quarter repeat
Signature: On the cuvette 'Louis Berthoud à Paris No 2546' and 'Ls Berthoud' on the dial.
Case: Silver case with a gold rim around the back, gold bezel and silver gilt pendant with a silver bow. The pendant bears the silver mark for Paris 1821 32, a crayfish and the number 23.(2) The case has a reeded band and an engine turned back with a sunburst at the bottom. Inside the back the casemaker's mark CG in a rhomboid and the number 6246. A stop in the case band prevents the pendant from being pushed accidentally.
Dial and Hands: Slightly domed dial with gold Arabic hour numerals, fleur-de-lis five minute marks and cross-shaped minute marks, all on top of the enamel. The name 'Vincent'(3) is fired into the counter-enamel in black. The moon hands are of blued-steel.
Dial Plate: None intended, the dial is attached directly to the movement and is retained by screws.
Dust-cap: In the form of a hinged cuvette and with a sprung catch. In addition to the name, the cuvette is also engraved 'Tournés Les Aiguilles' with an arrow showing anti-clockwise and 'Remontès à droite' around the setting and winding squares.
Ebauche Marks: 880 88
Frame: A skeletonised layout with a separate bridge for the repeating work and the centre and third wheels. There are separate cocks for the fourth and escape wheels and the lever and a separate piece for the lever banking. The plain balance cock has a large curved foot and a pierced table. The bridge covering the barrel ratchet wheel is scratched '167 1169 272 2739'. The movement is retained by three screws tapped into the face of the ring that carries the cuvette.
Barrel and Mainspring:
Barrel: A standing going barrel, with five-turn Geneva stop-work, internal diameter 18.20 mm, height 3.3 mm.
Mainspring: height 3.0 mm, thickness 0.23 mm.
Barrel Arbor: diameter 6.0 mm.
Hooking: round. There is evidence of T-bar hooking in the form of a slot in the barrel and a square hole in the cap. There are two centre-pop marks on the barrel edge which, when the opening gap is place next to them, line up the T-bar slots.
Train: Gilded wheels, the centre wheel with five crossings, the other wheels with four crossings.
Jewelling: Only one jewel - a ruby endstone in the balance cock. A coqueret for the front balance pivot and coquerets for the pallet pivots.
Escapement: A pin wheel lever escapement. The brass escape wheel has four crossings and upstanding pins of only 0.20 mm diameter, an impressive feat of machining. One of the escape wheel teeth has been repaired. A broad brass impulse piece and double roller. The polished steel lever consists of three pieces, the pallet frame, the pallets and the dart. The dart is in the form of a long guard pin, collet mounted and of rectangular section. These parts are pushed straight onto the pallet staff. The acting faces of the pallets are convex, the impulse face is also convex along its length.
An equal impulse escapement.
No. of teeth embraced: 32.
Balance and Spring: A rounded-rim three arm gold balance, diameter 17.7 mm, thickness 0.65 mm. A flat spiral blued-steel spring of 72 turns pinned to a stud on the balance cock.
Means of Regulation: An index on the balance cock registering against a divided scale with 'A' and 'R' engraved on the balance cock at the junction of table and foot.
Train Counts and Beat Rate:
Great wheel 72 (barrel)
Centre wheel 72 pinion 12
Third wheel 64 pinion 8
Fourth wheel 60 pinion 8
Escape wheel 15 pinion 8
Beat Rate: 16,200
Motion work cannon pinion 10, minute wheel 30
minute pinion 8, hour wheel 32.
Repeating Work: The repeating barrel is wound through the agency of a plunger operated lever which is connected to the repeating barrel arbor by a chain. The plunger is in the pendant. The hour and quarter hammers are operated by teeth on two discs mounted on the repeating barrel arbor, one being the quarter disc and the other beneath this, the hour disc. All or nothing work is incorporated. The speed of striking is controlled by an anchor escapement and can be adjusted by a moveable banking pin whose tail registers against a divided scale with 'L' and 'V' engraved on the repeat train bridge.
Repeat Barrel and Mainspring:
Barrel: a fixed barrel with the ratchet wheel at the open end operating with a ratchet click mounted on the train bridge. Internal diameter 10.3 mm, height 2.5 mm.
Mainspring: height 1.9 mm, thickness 0.18 mm.
Barrel Arbor: diameter 3.25 mm, tapered to aid removal.
Hooking: round (with a threaded stud which is possibly a later repair.
Great wheel 56 (barrel)
Second wheel 32 pinion 8
Third wheel 30 pinion 6
Escape wheel 15 pinion 6
Winding Mechanism: Key wound.
Case: diameter 56.2 mm, height 22.5 mm. (over the glass)
Movement: diameter 53.2 mm, height 13.5 mm, frame height 3.5 mm.
Provenance: Formerly in the Ilbert collection. Ilbert purchased this from Contarde 25/3/1937.
(1) The date of this watch is derived from the fact that, apart from a number of minor details, the movement of this watch is similar to a watch by Lepaute described in cat. no. 21 (registration no. 1958,1201.1037). The Lepaute watch has a mainspring dated 1809 and a cuvette dated June 1813 and the movement is numbered 840. The Berthoud watch under consideration here is numbered 880, just 40 different which would suggest a production date of 1814-1815. What is not clear, however, is the origin of both movements. Their similarity suggests strongly that they must have originated in the same workshop. This raises the question of which one. Both could come from Lepaute, or both could have been made by Berthoud. The third option is that there were made by a third party who supplied both Berthoud and Lepaute. Evidence for this might exist in the form of a watch by Lepine which is very similar in layout to those considered here. The watch was formerly in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford but now stolen, see Maddison & Turner, Catalogue No.2, Watches, cat. no. W53.
(2) This date mark on the case suggests that it may not be original. However, the movement and cuvette do fit well in the case and it may simply be that the movement was not cased until some years after it was made.
(3) Vincent, a dial enameller of Place de Thionville, Paris 1806 15, who is known to have worked for Louis Berthoud. For another watch inscribed 'Vincent' see cat. no 12 (registration no. 1958,1201.1178). There is also a dial in the British Museum Collections (reg. no. 1958,1201.2937 (CAI.2937), one disassociated from its movement, which is signed 'Louis Berthoud Horger de la Marine No 108' and is obviously from a marine chronometer. The back of the dial is signed 'VincenT place thionville No 19'. Also with the dial is the silver back of its original box engraved 'No 108 Novembre 1811', the dial ring, signed 'Construite par Louis Berthoud No.108' and the up-and-down hand and the up-and-down wheel.
- Not on display
- Latest: 2 (2017)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.1182 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: P143 (Ilbert Ledger)