of terms - watches
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A chronograph is a watch that records time. An athletics stopwatch is the simplest example.
A chronograph can be started at will, stopped at will and has a second hand or several dials that fly back to zero at the press of a button.
Some record the day, date and month; others, have dials that record seconds, minutes and hours.
Some record speeds or have a very slim split second hand.
Some have a telemetric scale to determine the speed of sound compared with that of light and enables you, for Instance, to measure the distance of a storm after seeing a lightning flash.
Stands & Pocket Watches
Victorian watch stands make perfect partners for pocket watches as they are purpose-built to display them and are attractive collectables in their own right.
The function of a watch stand was to provide an ornamental and convenient place for a gentleman to keep his watch when it was not in his pocket - principally at night. The stand was placed on a bedside table, mantlepiece or dressing table and had a mount or hook to take the watch so that it was instantly transformed into a miniature bedside clock.
The first watch stands were introduced in the 17 th century but they really came into their own in the 19th century, following the success of relatively cheap Swiss machine made pocket watches which brought timepieces within reach of many more people.
STANDS FOR ALL
Stands were made in a huge variety of materials including porcelain, pottery, wood, bone, ivory,
metal and even papier mache. They continued to be made right up to about 1920, when
wristwatches superseded pocket watches, and stands became redundant.
The most elaborate stands were made in the continental rococo style of the mid-18th century. These were highly decorative and often heavily painted and gilded, reflecting the status of those wealthy enough to own the expensive hand-made watches of the time. The great porcelain manufacturers such as Meissen,
Sevres and Chelsea produced such watch
stands to resemble mantel and bracket clocks. Porcelain stands continued to be made up until about 1860, though later
designs became simpler than their forebears, often taking the form of miniature longcase clocks like
Wood was the most popular material for stands between 1700 and 1920. Designs ranged from the simple and unadorned to stands featuring elaborate carving and delicate ivory inlay. Eighteenth-century French pearwood stands are highly sought after and these ornately carved pieces often include a figure of Father Time, who appears to carry the watch on his shoulders.
Later, wooden stands were produced in three basic styles. The simplest was a single pillar with a plain hook from which the watch was suspended. Then came the well head stand, so called because the watch was retained in a pivoting wooden rest which hung from an arch between double pillars - just like an old well head. Also popular were the triangular prismatic stands that had a padded pocket to rest the watch in, and which later developed into the portable watch stand that could be conveniently folded flat and packed away for travelling.
A Staffordshire pottery watch stand makes an attractive ornament that can be displayed on a bedroom mantelpiece or a chest of drawers. The watch fits neatly into a pocket at the back of the stand.
Watch stands can still be found in junk shops as well as antique shops. Those made as tourist souvenirs in the 19th century are often the easiest to come by and are fairly inexpensive. Indeed, this sort of stand is common enough to present the collector with the
possibility of specializing, for instance, only in stands originating from a particular county.
As a general rule, the date of a stand is less important in determining its value than the design an I the materials from which it is made. With wooden stands, for instance, elaborate carving or inlay work will bring a higher price than straightforward pillar types. Silver stands are invariably expensive, since not only is there value in the weight of the silver but these also tend to be ornately designed.
Of the Staffordshire stands of the 19th century, the earlier examples tend to be more sculptured and
colourful and are more popular than the plainer designs of the late Victorian years. These that incorporate figures of contemporary celebrities, of which a great many were made, also tend to command a noticeably higher price.
Porcelain and china stands are more likely to have been damaged than wooden stands, so check for chips, cracks or repairs before you buy as this will affect value. On stands which have moving parts,
particularly the portable designs, check the condition of hinges and clips. Check also the operation of spring-loaded pop-up stands and try to establish whether their mechanisms are original or have been repaired or replaced with new parts.
Some small clock cases are sometimes passed off as watch stands so buy with care.
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