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11th December 2017 
Fusee and Key Set Watches. VF1

Fusee & Key Set Watches

A Fusee watch has a chain drive to give variable gearing to even out the power generated from the spring as it winds down, this was particularly important for escapements with high inherent friction such as the Verge and later cylinder escapements which kept time at very different rates depending on the power available.

Later improvements in mainsprings and the introduction of very low friction Lever escapements, lower friction trains and other improvements made the Fusee largely redundant by the third quarter of the 19th century although they were still in use for some very high grade chronometers into the 1930s. The picture above right is the Verge Fusee from a Vale and Rotherham Verge watch from 1828, click on it for a picture of a Fusee with a Lever escapement by a J.W. Benson from 1880 - which is already quite late for a Fusee, the variable gearing is much less aggressive than on the earlier Verge. For more information on Fusee watches see my blog post "The Fusee Watch".

The improvements in mainsprings has led to a variable timekeeping for all Fusee watches but it is particularly significant on Verge escapements, it is explained in some detail in my blog post Verge Fusees and Modern Mainsprings don't mix. but briefly a modern mainspring produces a fairly steady pressure for at least 24 hours and the aggressive Fusse on a Verge watch over compensates resulting in variable time keeping throughout a day, the effect should be limited to a minute or two in a working day but is likely to be rather unpredictable in use and when subject to variations in temperature.

Fusee key wound watches are wound anti-clockwise, note that if a Fusee movement is not equipped with "Maintaining Power" the watch will stop whilst being wound. Generally Fusse watches should be for occasional use due to their age, fiddly time setting and sometimes, mainly with Verge watches, rather variable timekeeping (but still within a very few minutes in 24 hours).

Key Setting


The majority of English and American key set watches were set from the front by opening the bezel and applying the key to the square hub under which the hands are attached. A minority, notably the Benson "Ludgate", were set from the back by putting the key onto the centre arbour. Swiss watches from the late 19th and early 20th centuries tended to favour key setting from the back.

All key set watches come with a key either modern or antique if I have one.

I recommend using a case knife to open all watches that are key set from the front, I can supply the decent Chinese folding case knife or a top quality Swiss non folding that are shown on my accesories page or a search on eBay for "watch case knife" will show knives of all types from £2 (incl postage) upwards.



Unless otherwise stated all watches have 7 jewels, are working, keep at least reasonable time for their age and wind and set correctly. Lids and bezels are secure, stay closed and where appropriate open when the button or crown is pressed. Any inscriptions, dedications or monograms (other than jewellers and makers marks) and any gold plate worn through to the core will either be shown in the photographs, described in the text or both. Movements carry a 6 or 12 Months Warranty .

Click on image for another picture and on "More pictures" for more on Zenfolio. Please remember that hi-res photos are several times life size and will make some tiny flaws, marks, etc. look huge!




Fusee and Key Set Watches. E781f

E781. Row, Pair Cased Verge Fusee 1862.

A typical un-jewelled Verge Fusee signed by Row of Alton but probably London made. The size 17 movement is slimmer than some but it is still quite a large watch.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring 12 Months Warranty, see notes above regarding the time-keeping of Verge Fusee watches. On the latest timing run, sat on the bench, the watch was dead on time after 10 hours but had gained about 30 seconds after 11 hours and was about 6 minutes fast after 24 hours.

E781 Row Pair Cased Verge Fusee 1862 (6)

E781 Row Pair Cased Verge Fusee 1862 (21)


Both parts of the Pair case have London Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1862 and the case makers mark of Philip Woodman, Clerkenwell, London. The silver bow is a later replacement. The inner case is very tight fitting so a case knife will be included. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new but slightly scratched mineral glass bulls eye crystal from old stock. It is 2.2" / 5.5cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 1" / 2.5cm thick.

STOCK £425 24 pictures on Zenflio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E808f

E808 J.W. Benson Fusee Lever, 1880.

An English Fusee by this premium London maker on an ebauché by John Wycherley of Prescot one of the English pioneers of the "manufacture of interchangeable machine made movements" for which he took out a patent #880 of 1867. Benson, ever conservative, used an extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 15,400 Vibrations Per Hour, rather the by then common 16,200 VPH or the 18,000 VPH "Fast Train" that would soon become dominant - although not for Benson who were still making Slow train movements through to c 1941. This gives the large 3 spoke, under sprung, balance a very stately swing!

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

J.W. Benson
62 & 64 Ludgate Hill
London
Watchmakers by Warrants to the Queen & Prince of Wales


Oxford Pocket Watches: E808 J.W. Benson Fusee 1880 &emdash; E808 J.W. Benson Fusee 1880 (1)


The English Consular type "swing out" double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1880, the makers mark of J.W. Benson and the same serial number as the movement. The front bezel is quite tight and I recommend the use of a case knife to open. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new high dome mineral glass crystal from old Stock.

In final test and should be available from the 15th December £420 More pictures on Zenfolio.

Also listed under J.W. Benson Watches.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E782f

E782. Unsigned English Fusee, 9J, 1876

A classic size 18 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) Fusee movement, most probably made in Coventry. It has a conservative extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 15,400 Vibrations Per Hour, rather the by then common 16,200 VPH or the 18,000 VPH "Quick Train" that would soon become dominant. It has 9 jewels, "Maintaining Power" and an under-sprung solid balance. It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands. An antique key is included.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

Oxford E782 Unsigned English Fusee 9J 1876 (4)


The English Consular type "swing out" case has London Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1876 and the makers mark "R.J.P" of Robert John Pike of Earlsdon, Coventry. Although the movement is "only" a size 18 it has a particularly deep movement so it is quite an imposing watch and is 2.13" / 5.4 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and is 0.76" / 1.94cm thick. Note that the back opening catch works correctly but the case spring for opening it broken so the back has to be opened manually which is easily done. The front bezel however closed very tightly so a case knife will be supplied to save finger nails. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

STOCK £320 More pictures on Zenfolio


Fusee and Key Set Watches. Next

Recently Sold Watches


Following requests from buyers who are giving watches as presents I no longer show the price of sold watches.

The web site has recently been reorganised to move the non Waltham American watches to this page but sold watches have generally been left on the original pages.




Fusee and Key Set Watches. E780f

E780. Coventry Pair Cased Fusee Lever, 11J, 1876.

An English Fusee movement almost certainly made in Coventry. It has a conservative extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 15,400 Vibrations Per Hour, rather the by then common 16,200 VPH or the 18,000 VPH "Fast Train" that would soon become dominant. This gives the large 3 spoke, over sprung, balance a very stately swing! It has 11 Jewels and a true English Lever escapement.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The outer case has a nice but very fragile watch paper in it by J.Sparke of Nairn for a service recorded on the back of the paper for 23rd August 1888. There are also circular cuttings from a very old news paper acting as a cushion for the movement but very frustrating as there is so much text missing.

 E780 Conventry Pair Cased Fusee 11J 1876 (10)


The English pair case has London Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1876 and the mark of William (John) Hammon II, Chapel Fields, Coventry. Both cases have the same serial number as the movement. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new "Bulls Eye" mineral glass crystal from old Stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E783f

E783. Thos Gilbert, Pair Cased Verge Fusee, 1822.

A typical un-jewelled Verge Fusee signed by Thos Gilbert of Hythe but probably London made. The size 18 movement is also quite deep making this a large watch.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring 12 Months Warranty, see notes above regarding the time-keeping of Verge Fusee watches. On the latest timing run the watch having initially lost a bit was dead on time after 13 hours.

Both parts of the pair case have London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1822 and the case makers mark "BN" of Benjamin Norton, St Lukes, London. Note that the outer case has some damage to the hinge so it is a bit wobbly when opened but is secure, it closes tightly and opens by pressing the button on the side of the case. The bow is a later replacement. The inner case also closes tightly so a case knife will be supplied. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a good bulls eye mineral glass crystal with some light scuff marks. The cased watch is 2.4" / 6cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 1.2" /3cm thick.

SOLD 25 pictures on Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E785f

E785. Harrison & Son Fusee Lever, 9J, 1877.

A classic size 18 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) Fusee movement, signed on the movement and dial by Harrison & Son of Darlington and under the dial by Newsome and Yeomans of Coventry, for some background on these three names and the case maker see my blog posting One Watch - Four Names.

It has a conservative extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 15,40
0 Vibrations Per Hour, rather the by then common 16,200 VPH or the 18,000 VPH "quick Train" that would soon become dominant. It has 9 jewels, "Maintaining Power" and an under-sprung solid balance. It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands. An antique key is included.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The English Consular type "swing out" case has London Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1877 and the makers mark "IH" of John Hammon of London. Although the movement is "only" a size 18 it has a particularly deep movement so it is quite an imposing watch and is 2.1" / 5.3 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and is 0.76" / 1.94cm thick. The front bezel however closed very tightly so a case knife will be supplied to save finger nails. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E784f

E784. LWC - Graves "Express" English Lever, Key Set, 1900.

A classic size 16 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) movement by the Lancashire Watch Company for J.G. Graves of Sheffield. Despite the name it has a Swiss Lever Escapement, 7 jewels and an over-sprung cut compensating balance. It has a dummy Fusee and therefore winds anticlockwise (as were English Fusee watches). It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands. Some back ground information can be found on my blog post J.G. Graves The "Express" English Lever.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The English Consular type "swing out" case has Chester hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1900 and the makers mark "TPH" as used by the LWC. Although the movement is "only" a size 16, being a full plate and in this type the case is rather thicker than a "standard" 20th century size 16, it is 2.1" / 5.2cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.82" / 2.1cm thick. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

SOLD More Pictures on Zenfolio,


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E789f

E789. LWC - Graves "Express" English Lever, Key Set, 1905.

A classic size 16 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) movement by the Lancashire Watch Company for J.G. Graves of Sheffield. The latest "Express" Lever I have seen and possibly the latest LWC "Dummy".

Despite the name it has a Swiss Lever Escapement, 7 jewels and an over-sprung cut compensating balance. It has a dummy Fusee and therefore winds anticlockwise (as were English Fusee watches). It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands. Some back ground information can be found on my blog post J.G. Graves The "Express" English Lever.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The English Consular type "swing out" case has Chester hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1905 and the makers mark "TPH" as used by the LWC. Although the movement is "only" a size 16, being a full plate and in this type the case is rather thicker than a "standard" 20th century size 16, it is 2.1" / 5.2cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.8" / 2.05cm thick. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.

Also listed under the LWC.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. W725f

W725. Waltham 1883-Sterling, Key Set, 1899.

This is an 1883 model Sterling grade Waltham, key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) . It is a size 18, full plate movement. It has 7 Jewels, a Swiss lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance. The serial number dates the movement to 1899.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The English double backed case has Birmingham Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1900 with the Waltham sponsors mark but made by Dennison. The case is 2.1" / 5.4 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.7" / 1.8cm thick. Note that there is a ding to the rim of the case that does not show on the photos. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new, flat mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.

Also listed under Waltham S18 watches.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E787f

E787. Thos Russell 11J Fusee Hunter c 1880.

A classic size 16 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) Fusee movement, almost certainly made by Samuel Yeomans of Spon St, Coventry from a Prescott ebauché. Signed on the movement and dial by Thos Russell & Son, Church St, Liverpool. The movement dates from c1880 and was re-cased by the maker in 1914. For background on the attribution and dating see my blog post "Dating a Russell Fusee Hunter".

It has a conservative extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 15,400 Vibrations Per Hour, rather the by then common 16,200 VPH or the 18,000 VPH "Quick Train" that would soon become dominant. It has 11 jewels including a diamond end stone for the balance, "Maintaining Power" and an under-sprung cut compensating balance. It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands. An antique key is included.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The premium grade English Consular type "swing out" case with gold hinges has Chester Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1914 and the sponsors mark of Samuel Yeomans of Coventry. The case is 2.1" / 5.4cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.77" / 2cm thick. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has an excellent mineral glass crystal.

SOLD More pictures in Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E788f

E788. Errington for Graves, 11J Key Set Hunter, 1902.

A classic size 16 English full plate key wound (from the back) and set (from the front) going barrel movement from the Errington Watch factory in Coventry for J.G. Graves of Sherfield. It has 11 jewels and an over-sprung cut compensating balance. It has a dummy Fusee and therefore winds anticlockwise (as were English Fusee watches). It is set from the front by using the key on the "hub" holding the hands.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

The English Consular type "swing out" case has Chester Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1902, the mark of C.H. Errington and the same serial number as the movement. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock. The case is 2.2" / 5.5cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and is 0.73" / 1.8 cm thick.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E790f

E790. Ollivant Massey Lever Fusee, 1866.

The key wound and set (from the front) movement is signed by Ollivant of Manchester and has a type 2 Massey Lever escapement, the first to have an impulse jewel. Massey levers were essentially a transitional escapement between the Verge and English Roller Lever. The Type 1 Massey has a metal "nib" engaging with the lever. The type 2 has an impulse jewel supported at both ends and the types 3 & 4 jewels supported at one end.

It has a Fusee drive and seven jewels including a diamond end stone. It has a very large solid balance and is an extra slow, "Slow Train" running at 14,400 Vibrations Per Hour. For some reason there is a stop lever under the dial between 7 & 8 o'clock accessible with the front bezel open. It intercepts the escape wheel and stops the entire movement.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring and is keeping excellent time for a Fusee. 12 Months Warranty.

E790 Ollivant Massey Fusee 1866 (9)

The premium grade English Consular type "swing out" case with gold hinges has Chester Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1866 and a maker's mark "IR" which I have not been able to identify. The case is 2.1" / 5.4cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.8" / 2.1 cm thick. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has new crystal.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


Fusee and Key Set Watches. E803f

E803. J.W. Benson The "Ludgate" Watch (Key Set), 13J, 1893.

An large example of the key set "Ludgate" watch, setting is from the back so it is much easier to use than a traditional English watch set from the front but like these watches it winds anticlockwise. The three-quarter plate, Slow Train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 13 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 Months Warranty.

Oxford Pocket Watches: Benson Adverts &emdash; Ludgate general
.
The movement is engraved:

The "LUDGATE" Watch
J.W. Benson
Patent No 4658
Best London Make
By Warrant to H.M. The Queen, Ludgate Hill, London

The dust cover has a nice dedication to a local policeman for 13 years serving one community and quite a generous one, in todays money it cost over £1k.

Presented to
P. C. Wm. Bomen
by the inhabitants of
St. Clears on his
leaving for LLanelly
after 13 years amongst them.
Feb 1895

The English double backed case has the Benson patented very thick dust ring with integral dust cover, the movement is large and cased up is a tad bigger than a standard size 18 with a bigger dial and is 40-50% heavier than most watches in a size 16 "standard" silver case. It is 2.1" / 5.4cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc and 0.78" /1.9cm thick. It has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1893 and the marks of J.W. Benson. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD

Also listed under Benson watches.