- Museum number
SILVER CASED EIGHT DAY CENTRE SECONDS LEVER WATCH WITH CALENDAR.
Movement with club-tooth lever escapement, mainspring contained in large barrel mounted on the back.
White enamel dial with lower quarter cut away to reveal escapement. In upper centre a dial for hours, minutes and centre-seconds with Roman hour numerals and minutes marked every fifth minute in Arabic. Subsidiary dials to left and right indicate the date and day of the week with an inlaid silver flower above each.
Open-faced silver case with hinged back and bezel. Back with engine-turned decoration.
Across the centre, four gold-coloured exhibition medallions.
- Production date
- 1918 (case imported)
Diameter: 48.70 millimetres
- Curator's comments
Text from 'Watches', by David Thompson, London, 2008, p. 142-143.
Schild & Cie
SILVER CASED EIGHT-DAY LEVER WATCH
LA CHAUX DE FONDS, 1918
SIGNED: 'Hebdomas Patent 8 Days Swiss Made'
In terms of numbers produced and variations in design, eight-day watches, made to be wound on a weekly basis, are rare. Different designs exist that rely either on an extra wheel in the gear train, and thus a stronger mainspring, or on a much longer mainspring housed in the back of the watch, which takes up all the available space. A few eight-day watches survive from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but it was certainly towards the end of the nineteenth century that the concept gained popularity. One of the most commonly found of the various makes is this one. It is based on a design by Irenée Aubry in Switzerland, registered in November 1888 and modified in January 1889. The rights to the design were bought from Aubry by Arthur Graizley of La Ferrière on 24 March 1892. In 1900 Graizley formed a partnership with Otto Schild under the name Graizley & Company, or Graizley & Cie. The company continued until 1915, when it was reorganized to become Schild & Cie. It was this firm that made watches in La Chaux de Fonds with the name 'Hebdomas', registered to Arthur Graizley & Cie in 1906.
The example seen here, made in 1918, has a silver case and white enamel dial. The case is marked with the London Assay Office import mark, the date letter for 1918 and the punched mark 'GD' in cameo, that of Dimier Brothers & Co. This company was recorded at 46 Cannon Street, London, as early as 1868, when it was described as watch importers and jewellers. The Swiss branch of the business was at 24 rue Leopold Robert in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1918, when this watch was made, the company was under the direction of George and Amelia Dimier.
Opening the case back reveals a splendid array of information. The balance spring has a Breguet overcoil to ensure that the spring 'breathes' in a more uniform manner in all directions as the balance turns back and forth. It informs us that it has 'LEVEES VISIBLES', meaning that the escapement is visible, that the watch goes for eight days and has a lever escapement. In addition medallions and inscriptions refer to International Exhibitions where the design had been shown: Geneva in 1896, Paris in 1900, Chicago in 1902, Brussels in 1910 and Milan in 1916. Finally at the bottom we are told that 'Superior Quality is Guaranteed'.
The elegant dial is characteristic of the Hebdomas eight-day watch and easily recognizable, with the visible escapement and balance in the lower part and a fine white enamel dial above showing hours, minutes and seconds on the main dial with two subsidiaries for the day of the week on the right and the date on the left. The word 'Hebdomas' is Greek for a group of seven or seven days and is an apt choice of name for a watch designed to run for a whole week on a single wind. In fact such watches run for eight days to allow the owner a day's grace in winding, in the same way that a daily-wound watch usually goes for thirty hours.
2016 OCT. Two of the dates inscribed on the back barrel cover do not seem to match the medal exhibition dates. It lists Milan 1916, and Chicago 1902. The medals shown relate to the exhibitions (left to right) Paris 1900, Milan 1906, Geneve 1896, Chicago 1892/3.
Interestingly, on item 1958,1201.1015 the medal images are the same, but this time the dates are correct. (LCT)
Comment from Richard Good, Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum. Vol. V (Unpublished manuscript)
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 1910
Silver cased 8 Day calendar watch with club tooth lever escapement.
Signature and Inscriptions: On the dial "HEBDOMAS PATENT"(1) and "SWISS MADE" in black, "8 DAYS" in red. On the back of the barrel, which is heavily decorated, are the legends "SPIRAL BREGUET LEVEES VISIBLES 8 JOURS ANCRE BRUXELLES 1910 QUALITE SUPERIEURE GARANTIE", representations of four medals are shown in gold; Chicago 1902, Geneve 1896, Paris 1900, Milan 1916. On the arbor nut is "8 DAYS SWISS MADE", the thread is broken in this nut which has been secured with cement.
Case: Open face silver case with import marks for London 1918, and 925, the makers mark G.D, and the number 785097. A gilt button.
Dial and Hands: The dial cut away to reveal the balance and balance bridge. An offset chapter ring, the Roman numerals in black. The minutes numbered at every 5 and divided into fifth seconds. On either side of the chapter ring are floral decorations in silver pellatons. Spade hour and minute hands, arrow day and date hands. The centre second hand and all other hands are of blued-steel.
Ebauche Marks: 5 4506 under the barrel.
Frame: Two stage movement with a large barrel almost the size of the back plate. The geared barrel arbor drives the pinion of the next arbor which is carries an intermediate wheel which drives the centre pinion. A half plate layout with a cock for the escape wheel and cocks for pallets and balance, the latter engraved. Under the pallet and escape cocks is stamped 5 06 with the full number 54506 under the front plate. An idle fourth pinion carries the centre seconds hand.
Barrel and Mainspring: A slipping mainspring in the barrel, which has a going arbor. The barrel has winding teeth around its edge. Barrel I. diameter 36.0 mm, height 3.1 mm.
Mainspring: height 2.9 mm, thickness 0.31 mm.
Arbor diameter 6.35 mm., not snailed.
Hooking: There are five notches in the barrel wall, the nibbed end of a thick single turn of spring (to which the mainspring is hooked), moves from one notch to the next once the pull of the mainspring becomes strong enough.
Train: The brass wheels not gilded, all with five crossings except for the escape wheel which has four.
Jewelled: Only at the balance pivots, the endstones ruby.
Escapement: Club tooth lever, straight line layout. Short lever. Double roller with a steel D shaped impulse pin. Brass escape wheel with chamfered teeth. Pallet stones exposed, the acting faces flat. The pallet staff screwed in, pallet body of brass.
Equal impulse escapement.
Number of teeth embraced 3½.
Balance and Spring: An uncut monometallic balance with a self compensating spring. The balance diameter 14.0 mm., height 0.8 mm. The 'self-compensating' spring with 11 turns and a terminal curve.
Means of Regulation: An index mounted on the balance bridge registering against the dial edge which is marked "S F" and "A R".
Train Counts and Beat Rate:
Great wheel (arbor) 34 (wearing badly)
Intermediate wheel 70 pinion 16
Centre wheel 64 pinion 10
Third wheel 60 pinion 8
Fourth wheel 70 pinion 8 Idle fourth pinion 8 (controlled for backlash by a drag spring.)
Escape wheel 15 pinion 7
Beat Rate: 18,000
Motion work: cannon pinion 10, minute wheel 30
minute pinion 8, hour wheel 32
Calendar work: The hour wheel drives two wheels of 64, these index respectively the day star wheel of 7 and the date star wheel of 31.
Keyless work: Conventional side set positive keyless work.
Dimensions: Case diameter 48.9 mm., height 15.0 mm.
Movement diameter 42.2 mm., height 11.5 mm.
Provenance: Purchased with the aid of funds from the Dingwall Bequest in 1987.
(1) For another Hebdomas see registration no. 1958,1201.1015 (L 4/10). This is different in many detailed respects. These watches were made by Schild & Co., La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
- On display (G39/dc14/no75)
Latest: 3 (2016)
5 (Feb 1995) Screw holding mainspring broken and repaired with rodico!
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number