Gillett & Bland Railway Guard Pocket Watch
A beautiful Gillett & Bland Railway Guard Pocket Watch recently sold at auction and has brought to light how rare these pocket watches were. Charles Bland joined William Gillett in 1854 as a sales man and set about building up the relationship of the company with overseas buyers like the New Zealand railway.
The earliest records found in the remaining ledgers we have for this time are for 14th August 1875 when the New Zealand Government put in an order for 50 Railway Clocks
then on 22nd May 1878 an order for 150 Railway Guards watches was made at £4.10 each.
These watches were made for railway service and we believe they were put in place before the following ruling was made by Law,
Rule 55 of the New Zealand Railways Department Rules & Regulations of 1907 reads “Every member connected with the train service and every ganger, leading Hand in Charge of Works, or any person who may be required to run a trolley or velocipede on the Main Line, must provide himself with a reliable watch and keep it regulated to Railway time.”
This means that those people required to have watches were required to provide their own.
However by 1911 the NZ Railways Department was importing pocket watches in bulk, and then selling them to staff at the cost price. This arrangement probably went further back before 1911.
The watches were made from heavy nickel double-bottom case with original thick (unbreakable) flat glass and a front bezel release catch revealed only when the case back is opened, the case was numbered as was the movement and engraved with its railroad number on the back.
The movement was a large key wound full plate fusee movement with 22 size plate diamond shaped cock foot, a calliper specifically designed for strong use, a single roller detached lever escapement, and compensated balance with a spiral spring. Perfect enamel dial, original blued-steel hands. 61 mm diameter.
The movement was inscribed Gillett & Bland, Croydon, London as was the dial.
The movement maker and case maker are both well known. John Wycherley 1871-1891 made the movement and was known as one of the best manufacturers of rough movements used by the best watch finishers in the country.
For more information about Gillett & Bland Railway Pocket Watches please call us on 01883 740000 or, if preferred use the contact form.