Silver pocket barometer having silvered and engraved dial calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 23–31. The upper portion with standard meteorological terms “Rain,” “Change ” and “Fair,” further marked “Compensated,” the lower with retailer’s signature and address “John Trotter, 40 Gordon Street, Glasgow.” Outer crown actuated, rotating altitude ring marked from 0–8,000 feet. Fine blued-steel pointer set beneath bevelled glass.
Classical barrel-form pocket watch case with pillar suspension ring and crown, the verso engraved with the initials “JC.” London assay marks for silver, date letter “S,” maker’s mark “ATO” for Albert Thomas Oliver. The suspension loop pillar struck with maker’s mark “CH” for Charles Hatchman, date letter “O” for 1909. Conventional single 1” capsule-driven movement with bi-metallic temperature compensation. Calibration afforded by rotating the rear portion of the case to which the movement is affixed. The whole contained within its original fine red leather over wood, cream silk and blue velvet lined case. Snap closure and button release.
This is a 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 1914 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 along with the craftsman’s initials are all strong evidence to suggest Negretti & Zambra as the maker.
This instrument is however unusual in that it requires the back to be rotated in order to achieve correct calibration, a feature most usually associated with later instruments from the 1920s and 30s.
Surviving in good original condition, very minor distortion to case back, some light abrasions to case, the movement in good serviced working order, the altitude ring turning correctly. The leather case with wear to edges, a semi-circular depression to one face, otherwise sound with good colour and lustre. The silk lining with silver oxide stains.
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 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.
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 ¾” high
Stock No: PB0426