The Northern Section meetings offer a variety of formal lectures and club nights at their meeting hall together with staging exhibitions at local museums, demonstrations of horological conservation and visits to horological places of interest.

The Club Nights and Lectures usually alternate each month with a guest lecturer being invited to give a presentation to the meeting, often with visual aids and exhibits. For the club night a theme is chosen, and members are encouraged to bring items for display, and possibly to say a few words about them.

The meetings are friendly, relaxed and give the opportunity to meet new friends with similar interests, exchange views, ideas, and get help with solving your horological problems. As well as this you relax with refreshments whist your discussions take place.

Our meetings are held on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 for 8:00 pm and carry on until everyone leaves, usually between 10:30 and 11:00 pm. The venue is in the church hall behind the old Trinity Chapel off Northenden Road, Sale Moor, where there is ample parking around the hall. This is located on the south side of Manchester within half a mile of Sale Railway station and close to the M60 junctions 6 and 7.

Visitors and new members are always most welcome.

Northern Section 50th Anniversary Year

To be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Trinity Road, Sale, Cheshire, M33 3ED at 7.30pm, unless otherwise stated

Friday 13 September

CLUB NIGHT: 'Timekeepers Without Wheels'

Wednesday 25 September

50th Anniversary: All day Event at Lyme Hall (prior booking essential)

Friday 11th October

LECTURE: 'The True Origins of The Wristwatch' by David Boettcher

Sunday 20 October

VISIT: BHI HQ and Museum of Timekeeping

Full Programme for 2019 (PDF download, updated 1 August)

Recent Meetings

Meeting reports for previous years:  2018  2017   

Inventor and Mechanic Edward Massey’s contributions to Navigation    (July 2019)

Andrew King outlined some of the problems still faced by mariners navigating the oceans at the end of the eighteenth century. He then explained how a watchmaker and his descendants changed navigation practices in innovative ways.

Watchmaker Edward Massey successfully focused his skill and ingenuity on this subject – six of the fourteen Massey inventions filed at the Patent Office were for navigation instruments. Some of the themes developed were by no means new; the lead and line used as far back as Ancient Egypt was improved in Massey’s patent sounding machine. It enabled depths to be measured without requiring the vessel to be stationary and had two counters which locked as the machine touched the seabed. Likewise Massey took another old idea –the ship’s log which is known to have been used in Tudor times for distance and speed calculations. The Massey patented design had three dials which measured and recorded distance as it was towed through the water.

Sadly, for inexplicable reasons, Edward Massey struggled to attract the size of orders from the Admiralty his inventions deserved. Their production was continued by his descendants, who made further improvements until well into the twentieth century.

The Untold Story of British Jerome (June 2019)
Peter Gosnell spoke on the history of British Jerome clocks. These were imported in large numbers into Liverpool from New Haven, Connecticut from the mid nineteenth century for about one hundred years. Research has uncovered that by 1908 J.C. Plimpton of Liverpool had become sole agents in England, initially importing American manufactured movements to install into their own cases. Soon Plimpton began to make modifications to some components to suit English tastes. Labels on these clocks described them as ‘British Jerome Movements’. After WWl, trademark ‘Plimclox’ clocks which had patented components styled specially for the UK market were manufactured and sold here until 1932.

The ‘Boxclock’ had a British Jerome movements label; the backplate was
stamped ‘Trade Mark’ and ‘British Manufacture’ despite having been made in America.

Tambour cased clock with British Jerome movements label.
It has patent fixing bushes, New Haven escapement and a Plimpton bob.

Shelf clock with British Jerome movement label, horse-shoe pendulum post extension,
double ended pillars and a New Haven type fly.

A Plimclox movement.
The Plimclox trademark was registered on 2 October 1926.
It was made for the British market with solid plates, mainspring in a barrel, and deadbeat pallets.

Tailor-made watches        May 2019   
Rebecca Struthers described how art and science are at the heart of the business she and her husband run from the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. Having experience of jewellery making and design as well as horology, the couple design watches based around redundant wrist and pocket watches scrapped by the bullion trade. New watch parts and case components are increasingly made in-house, but a large number of highly skiled artisans, many located nearby are called upon as required. The latest project is to design and make their own watch movement using traditional and high-tech methods.

A recommissioned free-sprung E.F. Ashley movement
with custom Breguet shock setting, the photograph is by Jonny Wilson.

The Carter pocket watch - a bespoke commission around the E.F. Ashley movement
made c. 1880/1890 with handmade silver and rose gold case. Photo also Jonny Wilson.

The Struthers Kullberg wristwatch is built around a recommissioned high-grade
power reserve movement by Victor Kullberg originally made in around 1880.
Both movements have been salvaged from the bullion industry.

The Restoration of a George Pyke Organ Clock   April 2019
John Harrold gave a talk on his experience of restoring an organ clock with automata by George Pyke which was handed over to him in a disassembled state. The clock, with royal provenance, had been through the wars and had subsequently suffered an unsympathetic overhaul. Inappropriate materials and techniques had to be removed before the long process of identifying and restoring components began. John told us there were five similar clocks by this maker in the UK, but all were inaccessible to him for reference. A friend in Utrecht enabled John to study and photograph a Pyke clock there which enabled work to begin. Restoration and reassembly presented a series of complex challenges.



French Clocks and Watches             March 2019
A large number of items, mostly clocks were shown during the March meeting. The oldest was a Louis XIV ormolu table clock which had required substantial restoration by its owner. There were many different styles of Victorian mantel and table clock, two rare types of twentieth century torsion clocks and some electrically powered clocks, two complete with original batteries. We also saw the dial and movement of a wall time recorder by Lambert of Seine-Maritime and two barometer-thermometer-clock compendiums, one of which was retailed locally in Stockport. The only watch shown was a handsome subscription watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Two train French clock with enamel dial housed in a Gothic style oak case c. 1890. The photograph right, shows the clock as it was 130 years ago in its Victorian home. Gas lighting is just visible top left.

Dial and movement of ‘Enregistreurs Lambert’ a time recorder by Lambert of Seine-Maritime.

Small clock by ATO with its original battery (not to scale), retailed by J.Vivien, Monte Carlo.


Bring & Discuss:    Letters U & V      February 2019
Members brought horological items linked to letters U or V to our February meeting.
Items included pocket watches by Victor Kullberg and BL Vulliamy, and a collection of thirteen verge pocket watches by different makers from several countries. A wristwatch made in the former USSR was bought for 1 million rubles thirty or so years ago. We were shown a deck watch by Ulysse Nardin, a marine chronometer from the USSR and two aircraft clocks from the same source. Domestic clocks were represented by two ‘unidentical twin’  table clocks by the same maker and a Becker ‘Vienna regulator’ dial and movement.

Watch by Victor Kullberg, signed and retailed by Alexander Bruce of Manchester. This 1869 gold pocket watch has an up and down dial below Xll to indicate the amount of wind left on the barrel.

Wristwatch made in The First Moscow Watch Factory (TFMWF) during the days of the USSR.

A TFMWF copy of a Swiss aircraft dashboard clock with subsidiary seconds stopwatch and a dial which recorded journey length.

A marine chronometer from the former USSR made at TFMWF. This post war model was still in production in the early 21st century.


AGM and short video presentations (January 2019)

Members gathered at the beginning of the meeting for the AGM. Once formalities were completed, several interesting short videos were shown.
1.     John C. Taylor’s Masterworks film featuring Salomon Coster’s Box Clock of 1657.
2.     Also from John C. Taylor, ‘Creating the Chronophage’.
3.    The Napoleon Clock at the Museum Speelklok in Utrecht, Netherlands
4.    Glashütte Original Watches.
5.    Another film from Glashütte, entitled ‘Tradition and Innovation’.