2024 June Meeting

6th June 2024

‘The Clock and Watchmakers of Stow on the Wold’.

Barnaby Smith

Barnaby gives a lot of his time to being our treasurer and is also chairman/treasurer of the South-East Section of The Antiquarian Horological Society. He is also a member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

He worked for 38 years for the in-house bank of PSA Peugeot Citroen.

During the last year, Barnaby has written and privately published an informative work on “Clock and Watch Makers of Stow on the Wold”. Some of my introduction comes from his Preface. In 1986 shortly after moving into their new home, he purchased a lantern clock signed “Archer, Stow”. Inquisitively he wanted to know more of the Archer family and started to keep records of their clocks and also to collect some of them. This he thought would only be a dozen or so but he now has records of over 240 Archer family clocks, as well as those of other Stow makers.

This evening Barnaby will share with us his fascination for Stow on the Wold clocks. He will cover the three generations of the Archer family of clockmakers and will outline the different styles of clocks made by them, as well as the other clockmakers in the town.

Doors open 19:00 Starting 19:30 hours.

2024 May Meeting

2nd May 2024

The South London Branch is delighted to welcome back Malcolm Archer Tutor from West Dean.

He will give us a short introduction on how he has been coping with teaching horology to the students over the last year and then individually introduce one of four student presentations.

Titles as follows:

Doors open 19:30 Starting 20.15 hours.

2024 April Meeting

4th April 2024

The Antikythera Mechanism and a Modern Reproduction


Stephen Phillips, B Eng, C Eng, MIET

“I am a chartered engineer with a degree in mechanical engineering from Sheffield University, I did a thick sandwich degree course funded by the Ministry of Defence, working at RAE Farnborough, NGTE Pyestock, Rolls Royce and then the Royal Ordinance Factory, Leeds, working on the Shir 2 tank which subsequently became Challenger. I then did a Fellowship in Manufacturing Management, post graduate course at Cranfield, and moved into electronics, initially at Systime Computers in Leeds, then Schlumberger Test Equipment in Dorset, and final at Lucas in Cirencester, fully retiring in 2018, from what had then become part of ZF.

I have always made things in my workshop at home, and in 2015 embarked on making my first orrery which led on to the Antikythera Mechanism, several more orreries and clocks, the most recent of which are stepper motor driven with Raspberry Pi or Arduino micros to drive them. I am not an expert on Astronomy but will try to describe the solar and planetary motions related to the Antikythera mechanism before going on to examine the original mechanism and my later reproduction in more detail.

The Antikythera Mechanism was on board a ship laden with fine bronze and marble sculpture and glassware, which sank within a few years after 70 BC off the island of Antikythera, between Crete and the Greek mainland. The shipwreck site was discovered by Symiote sponge divers in 1900, and salvaged by them, under Greek government supervision, in 1900-1901. In 1902 fragments of the Mechanism were noticed among unsorted bronze pieces from the wreck at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Since then, a number of scientific investigations have been carried out on the mechanism to try to understand it purpose and functionality. One of the most recent of these was reported in ISAW Papers 4 (February 2012) “The Cosmos in the Antikythera Mechanism” by Tony Freeth and Alexander Jones. This work proposed an overall arrangement and functionality for the mechanism based on deduction from the surviving parts of the mechanism. The BBC made a good documentary on this charting the investigations and some of the models made  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T1n7RjCMfQ)

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2024 March Meeting

7th March 2024

AGM followed by
‘Sir John Bennet – His Impact on Horology’

David Rooney

John Bennett (1814–1897) was a retail clockmaker, watchmaker and jeweller based in Cheapside, London, from 1846 onwards. He has been remembered for his views on the British horological industry and his use of modern advertising, marketing and publicity methods. Bennett retired in 1889 but the company he founded continued to trade in several London locations until 1963. This talk explores the public face of what became known as the ‘House of Bennett’, offering a case study in the history of horological retail that might prompt a wider examination of the subject.

David Rooney is a writer and curator. He was formerly Curator of Timekeeping at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and Keeper of Technology and Engineering at the Science Museum.

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2024 Auctions

In addition to the annual auction held in the autumn we expect another auction to take place during 2024. Watch this space for more details.

2024 February Meeting

1st February 2024

‘Early Rolex Watches’

Jon Clasper

Jonathan Clasper, a recently retired Army Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specialised in Trauma and the upper limbs, working recently with the NHS at Frimley Park Hospital.

“I have always had an interest in watches, and from a young age saw a Rolex watch as the ultimate must have”. Outside of medicine I enjoy history, and so the history of wristwatches, particularly their association with the military has always fascinated me. Unlike most collectors who seem to desire the rare steel Rolexes of the 50’s and 60’s my interest has always been early silver trench watches, especially as they cost a fraction of the price of a Paul Newman Daytona!

My talk will consider the early years of Rolex, mostly pre-1920. It is a time that isn’t well understood but can be inferred by looking at the watches themselves. In particular I will show that many opinions that are published can’t really be supported by the evidence. In particular:

  • It’s difficult to actually define what an early Rolex wristwatch is.
  • Rolex were not the first wristwatch enthusiasts.
  • Rolex weren’t the most successful wristwatch retailer pre-WW1.
  • Rolex benefitted from a change in the import law in 1907, and the demand during WW1.
  •  Rolex did sell their own pocket watches.
  • A Rolex watch wasn’t the premium product.
  • Rolex together with Aegler, were innovating right from the earliest days.

In addition, I will propose a way of dating the early Rolex watches, which allows their development to be followed.

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2024 January Meeting

4th January 2024

‘Old Myths, new insights – The Regulators of William Hardy’

Graham Dolan

Graham Dolan is Curator Emeritus at the Royal Museums Greenwich and was previously Senior Education officer at the Museum’s Royal Observatory site. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In 1807, the chronometer maker William Hardy persuaded the Board of Longitude to run a trial, at the Royal Observatory, of a regulator escapement that he had recently invented and fitted to an existing clock, by another maker. Its performance was such. that the Astronomer Royal ordered a bespoke clock from Hardy for use with the new Mural Circle that was being made for the Observatory by Edward Troughton.

When the clock arrived at the Observatory in 1811, there was a mighty row over the size of Hardy’s bill. Further controversy followed in 1830, when, after a period of indifferent performance, Edward Dent was permitted to change Hardy’s escapement for a dead-beat one of his own. Things were further compounded by the fact that Dent also decided to add his name to the dial.

Hardy’s clock is one of the most important that the Observatory ever owned. It served as a transit clock from the time of its arrival until it was retired from active service in 1954. During the period 1823 to 1871 it was also the de facto sidereal standard – the clock by which all the Observatory’s other clocks were set. During its life, it has undergone numerous and significant alterations. It can be seen today in the same position that it has occupied since the end of 1850.

In total, Hardy made at least 18 regulators, and possibly as many as 23 or more. Amongst those who originally owned them were wealthy individuals rich enough to have an observatory of their own. Others were supplied for government and privately funded institutions, including two clocks for the American Coastal Survey and three to the Russian Government. A recent survey of 12 of Hardy’s surviving clocks has shown that only two of them may once have been identical. The talk will end with a review of these 12, with some of the differences between them will being highlighted.

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2023 December Meeting

7th December 2023

The George Daniels Memorial lecture.

‘A Revolutionary Breguet Clock (and more Breguet at the British Museum)’

Oliver Cook

For this year’s South London Branch “George Daniels Memorial Lecture” we are delighted to welcome back “Oliver Cooke.” From the British Museum.

Oliver will look at the life of the extraordinary three-wheeled clock, Breguet No. 111, which was conceived during the French Revolution, and which came to the British Museum in 2015. The ground will be set with a brief look at Breguet’s beginnings, some of his accomplishments and a survey of the other Breguet clocks at the BM. The conception and production of 111 will then be discussed, followed by a close look at its fascinating features, including the three wheels (for a one-week duration), a revolutionary calendar and two forms of temperature compensation. Its subsequent life will then be followed, from its first sale until its arrival at the BM.

Oliver has been a Curator of Horology in the Department of Britain, Europe & Prehistory at the British Museum since 2007. He is responsible for managing the care, storage, display, and conservation of the diverse collection of over 8,000 items, which includes clocks, watches, scientific instruments, components, prints and ephemera, ranging from the humble to the pre-eminent. Having studied the conservation of antique clocks at West Dean College, and subsequently becoming an MBHI, his practical background is essential in informing his technical and historical research into these complex objects.

As has become the tradition for this event we will be laying on Mince Pies and Mulled Wine.

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2023 November Auction

2nd November 2023

We are pleased to be able to hold the branch auction which is one of the highlights of our calendar for many members. It is a chance to grab a bargain or make a bit of extra cash by selling those unwanted horological items.

There is always something for everyone at this event, so why not dig out those horological treasures that have been lurking under the bench or in the back of the cupboard, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much they realise.

This is a private auction and is therefore only open to members of, the BHI, BHI Branches, West Dean College or Epping Forest Horology Centre. Please bring proof of membership to enable us to issue a bidding number.

Details are as follows:

Booking in will commence at 18:15 in the Lindley Room which is the left hand door side room. This will need to be done quietly and no entrance to the main hall will be allowed.

Entry to the main hall – and viewing – will not be available until 19.30.

NO LOTS WILL BE TAKEN IN AFTER 19:45 to allow time for administration and for a start of around at 20:30.

Payments for purchasers up to £100 are required to be made in cash. By prior arrangement and agreement with the Treasurer we will accept cheques for total payments over £100.

No commission is charged to buyers. Sellers only pay £1.50 per lot entered. If you wish to set a reserve, you must bid up to that price and collect your lot at the end of the evening if not sold.

We reserve the right to refuse any lots containing fluids / powders and the like that are not in secure & sealed containers.

Electrical / electronic items are sold with no guarantee as to their condition or safety. All such equipment should be checked by a suitably qualified electrician.

Full auction rules will be clearly displayed

Download List of Lots

Terms and Conditions