An exceptionally rare pigskin cased Watkin Hicks aneroid pocket barometer, altimeter, compass and thermometer compendium No 466 by J. Hicks c1890
Pocket barometer with silvered and die-struck dial, the double rotation broken concentric altitude scale calibrated in feet with a range from 0 – 4,000ft and divided to 20ft, the barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 24” – 31” and divided down to 1/100th”. The upper centre marked “Watkin Patent,” “Compensated,” and serial no. “466,” the lower part signed by the maker “J. Hicks, 8,9,& 10 Hatton Garden, London.” Blued steel pointer and bezel operated index. The modified Vidi pattern movement driven from a single 1¼”capsule tensioned on a C spring. Lacquered brass barrel form case with engine turned finishers, extension post and suspension ring, calibration port to verso.
Together with its associated ivory framed inset Singers pattern compass, mother of pearl dry card with cardinals and intercardinals, lyre and star indicating north, star with Francis Barker logogram, jewelled suspension, bezel mounted compass lock. Semi-circular thermometer having the register calibrated in both degrees Fahrenheit and Centigrade with ranges 30° – 120° and 0° – 50° respectively.
All presented in the original two tier pigskin over timber, blue velvet and silk lined case, snap closures on button releases.
Condition: The subject of a full service, conservation, and calibration under laboratory conditions. The movement working exceptionally well across the entire range with a shown error of less than 1/10th”. This is quite exceptional for these instruments, most of which were either inaccurate at the start or have suffered from excessive drift.
The pocket barometer dial slightly aged though clean and crisp, the index a possible replacement from fine wire and springs – I have seen several of these solid spring steel indexes on other instruments, so the instrument may have been ordered with this specification, made like this as a matter of course, or it may be that at some point the wire and springs became damaged and the replacement made. Certainly this arrangement is clearer to read and less prone to failure or damage.
The lacquered brass case retaining a good proportion of original finish, some clear wear to the verso and other minor losses generally. The bezel moving cleanly and freely, possibly with slightly low resistance.
The Singer pattern compass working correctly, finding North, the lock properly arresting the card. Some condensate under the glass, but not generally visible to the naked eye. The thermometer thread unbroken and working correctly. Hairline crack to the ivory register with repair.
The pigskin case in good overall condition, structurally sound with good colour, light wear generally, small loss to edge of barometer lid and over hinge.
Comments: Perhaps the most unusual compendium so far seen. Pocket-sized Watkin Hicks are extremely unusual, the serial numbers for Watkin Hicks instruments running consecutively and covering all types manufactured. Across the entire product range, the highest numbers recorded are around 1,000, so very few of these instruments were made.
The presentation is interesting. Instruments supplied in pigskin cases are certainly aimed at the more discerning market, and are really quite unusual. This is the first and only Watkin Hicks compendium we’ve come across, and most definitely a collector’s piece.
Ivory Exemption Registration: AFLY149H
Dimensions: Pocket Barometer - 1¾" diameter x ¾" deep; Travel Case - 2⅜" wide x 2⅞" long x 1⅝" deep
Stock No: CP1345