Silver pocket barometer having silvered and engraved dial calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 21–31. The upper portion with standard meteorological terms “Rain,” “Change ” and “Fair,” further marked “Compensated.” Outer rotating altitude ring marked from 0–10,000 feet. Fine blued-steel pointer set beneath bevelled glass.
Classical barrel-form pocket watch case with pillar suspension ring and crown. London assay marks for silver, date letter “n,” maker’s mark “ATO” for Albert Thomas Oliver. The suspension loop pillar struck with maker’s mark “CH” for Charles Hatchman, date letter “i.” Conventional first quality single 1” capsule-driven movement with bi-metallic temperature compensation. The engine-turned verso with adjustment screw. The whole contained within its original fine red leather over wood, green silk and velvet lined case. Snap closure and button release.
This is a very good quality collaboration between two of the most prolific English watch case and parts makers, and Negretti & Zambra, undoubtedly the manufacturer of the movement: the primary lever is dated 1908 and, though the movement is not marked in any way, the style of construction coupled with what seems to have been recognised procedure in dating movements are all strong evidence to suggest Negretti & Zambra as the maker. It exhibits a high level of accuracy, particularly in the normal barometric range, as demonstrated in the performance graph below.
Surviving in very good original condition, some very light abrasions to case, the movement fully serviced and conserved, in excellent working order, the altitude ring turning correctly. The leather case with light wear and loss to leather around replacement button, otherwise sound with good colour and lustre. The inner lid silk faded, the velvet to lower case vibrant.
Silver pocket barometers have always maintained a status of their own and, just as the market has attuned to better items in the field of antiques, so it is doing for these instruments, rarity, quality and fine aesthetics being principle motivators. Increasingly difficult to find in more or less any condition, such fine silver-cased instruments are attracting increasing premiums. This example, with its first quality movement and very fine engine-turned verso, is very much a collector’s piece.
Albert Thomas Oliver was a silversmith working in Clerkenwell, London, and specialising in gold and silver watch cases, from 1903 onwards, continuing the business of Richard James Oliver. His son, Richard Oliver, continued his business under the ‘ATO’ hallmark.
Charles Hatchman was a London-based silversmith and maker of watch cases, working from 1867 onwards. The most recent work recorded by Hatchman is dated 1874, but we have two examples showing his silver maker’s mark with date letters for 1907 and 1909.
Dimensions: 2½” wide x 1″ high
Stock No: PB0903