Early Liverpool rack lever pocket watch

Stock No. 1891

Peter Litherland & Co.
Liverpool, c1795
Silver case, 51 mm
Rack lever escapement


A good early example of a rack lever escapement, made by the inventor.

MOVEMENT : Gilt movement, with rack lever escapement. Engraved and pierced balance cock, with diamond endstone. Blued steel screws. Four round pillars.

Signed P. Litherland & Co., LIVERPOOL and numbered 1386.

In good condition and running well.

The movement is protected by a removable gilt dustcap.

DIAL : Original white enamel dial, in good condition, though with a couple of very light hairlines running from the centre to 9, and across from 1:30 to 4:30. One tiny flake at the centre aperture.

Gilt Breguet type hands in nice condition.

CASE : A silver case, with London hallmarks for 1849 and maker’s mark WB. Engine turned engraving with empty cartouche to the back cover.

In good condition though there is wear to the engine turned engraving.. The hinges are fine and cover and bezel snap shut correctly. The crystal is good.

Peter Litherland (1756-1805) was a watchmaker and inventor. He was born in Warrington and later moved to Liverpool, which was then a centre of the watchmaking trade. In 1791 he patented the rack lever escapement for watches.  This was more accurate than the commonly used verge escapement.

Based on the serial number, this watch is an early example of a rack lever escapement watch. Made before 1800, it has a later case though original dial. Other known examples with similar serial numbers date from 1793 and 1795.