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For sale we have a fascinating piece of Bristol social history. Originally made in 1912, this is a 9ct rose gold pocket watch with a good quality 17 jewel movement with swan neck regulator. It has a personal inscription in relation to the Bristol Gaol Ferry, dating to 1935, to the ferryman.


The case is British made, by Dennison. It has British hallmarking from Chester assay office for 9ct gold with the date letter ‘m’ dating it to 1912/13.


It has the personal engraving “Presented to “Dick” by his friends of the Gaol Ferry as a mark of appreciation of his unfailing courtesy and kindness over a long period of years October 1935”.


No longer is there a jail, nor a ferry, but there is a Gaol Ferry Bridge. Underneath at low tide, you can still see reminders of when a ferryboat service operated across the New Cut.


The steps from Coronation Road, down to the ferry are now blocked. There is also a railing over the route down from Cumberland Road to the old ferry.


The Gaol ferry was named after the prison, on which Wapping Wharf stands today, with the gate house still existing. The service was operated privately, before the City Corporation took over in 1854, running it until its closure in 1935, when the bridge was completed. At its peak, the ferry was used by 10,000 people each month. Silting up of the New Cut meant that the ferryboat had become more difficult to operate at low tides, inconveniencing the working classes.


The pocket watch is functioning well and is keeping time within +50 seconds a day. It is an original example, which has some hairline fractures to the dial.


Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.

A further condition report is below.



The dial is original and is formed of enamel. It has black signing with black Roman numerals. There are two small chips to the edge between 7 and 8 O’clock which is hidden by the snap on front. There are hairline fractures within the dial.



The hands are original. They are of Spade and whip style with a thermally blued finish. The finish has oxidised which means they don’t shine. The sub-second hand is also original and thermally blued.



The glass is original. It has a slight chip to the edge around 1 O’clock.



The crown, stem and loop are good and original.



The case is formed of gold, of open face configuration with double hinged back. It is in good condition with little tarnishing and light surface scratching associated with ageing.



The case back is in good condition. It is formed of gold and has a polished finish. It has light surface scratching as expected with wear. The hinge is good and it closes well.


Inner case and case back:

The inner case is formed of gold and is in good condition with only light surface scratching. The hinge is in good condition and closes tightly. It has no dents. It has the personal engraving.



The movement is good quality. It has a high jewel count of 17, with jewelled centre wheel and screwed chatons. It is marked as adjusted. It has a swan neck regulator.


The movement service history is unknown, but the watch is running well for its age. It keeps time to within +50 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 345 and a beat error of 8.8m/s.


Case dimensions:

Case width: 49.5mm

Case length: 49.5mm

Case length with crown: 62mm

Case length with crown loop: 70mm

Case Depth: 15mm

1912 9ct rose gold pocket watch 17 jewel movement, Bristol Gaol Ferry man 1935

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