THE MAKER: Joseph Johnson of Liverpool was a famous 19th century maker, best known for his early work in the period 1800-30 and this watch is typical of his highest grade watches. He started working in ca. 1800 and is recorded working until at least 1830 in (see Liverpool Census of 1832, http://www.liverpool-genealogy.org.uk/1832Pollbook/pollr.htm). He is one of the 1st rank watch-makers of Liverpool in this period, along with Robert Roskell, Richard Hornby, Litherland and others. His early work incorporated Litherland's rack-lever escapement, however he was also an innovative maker and I have seen examples with cylinder, duplex, Massey Lever and even a repeating watch by him.
A near mint rare solid silver English, early 19th century highly engraved chain driven fusee Lever pocket watch, with a rare Massey V escapement made by the famous maker Joseph Johnson of Liverpool. The watch is very substantial, and in a 2.5 oz silver consular case, so requires a secure pocket.
The watch with several features which brings it into the rare and possibly unique category: the fine and early original steel balance staff with early style pinion leaf and jewel; the movement with a very rare three pointed balance cock, with flowers and a garland emblasoned on it and stamped "Patent"; the case with the rare and desirable drum style case with early solid gold hinges; finally the case and movement are in pristine condition, with tight hinges and excellent gilding; typically for watches from this period, the dial in good condition. I suspect that it took 2-3 years for the Liverpool makers to be weaned off the rack-lever and start to use the Massey lever in any traceable amount in their watches, so a very rare and highly collectable watch .
THE DIAL: 95% mint, the ivory colored enamel dial with fine black Roman numerals, and a separate minute track to outside of dial with no chips, just a few light surface hairlines and a large inset subsidary seconds dial. With gold spade hour and minute hands and large subsidary seconds dial. The original glass in very fine condition. Diameter is 47 mm.
THE MOVEMENT: 100% mint, with richly gilded full plate in wonderful condition. The rare three pointed balance cock and foot in superb condition and of a simple pattern, but beautifully engraved and clearly marked "Patent" to the foot and emblazoned flowers and a garland. The balance cock with a large diamond end-stone to the centre of the shiny steel three arm balance wheel. The back plate with further decoration and a blued steel Bosley regulator. The watch is keywind, and movement size is 40 mm diameter. The escapement with a very good and strong action and jewelled to this wheel. The movement signed by Joseph Johnson of Liverpool and number 2097. Pierced gilded fusee stop work with iron hinge.
The watch with fusee chain on tight to barrel and fusee cone and a good free swinging balance and the watch runs the full length of the fusee chain, keeping good time. The watch comes with a winding key for hands set and winding. The movement comes with its original gilt dust cuvette which locks on tightly to the movement.
THE CASE: 100% mint, the solid silver drum type case measures an impressive 52 mm outside diameter. The 9k gold hinged covers all closing tightly, and in fine order. The three knuckle hinge in good order. The cases with Chester hall-marks, case maker marks and sterling silver marks and case number of 2097, batch number of 35 and letter "A" for 1818. The case maker mark of "Ej". The pendant and very well made bow, in superb condition and finely engraved and decorated. The case with no pin-holes or stretch marks, to the case. The covers with fine quality raised, engraved and carved case band. The inner dust cuvette also in very clean and good order.