Gold cased verge watch with Barrow regulator

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  • Handbook text

    During the latter years of the 17th century the question of allegiance to the monarchy was one which arose particularly in relation to the large numbers of French immigrants who were living and working in London at the time. This gave rise to a group of watches with royal emblems which can be seen as expressions of allegiance rather than as watches which actually belonged to any person of royal rank, let alone the King himself. A number of examples exist and, interestingly, nearly all of them were made by Huguenot makers.

    This watch by Daniel Le Count is just such a piece, with a gold case cast and chased with floral scrolls. The back has a right-facing profile of Charles II below a royal crown and flanked by lion and unicorn supporters. On the inside, the case is punched with the case maker's mark TH conjoined, perhaps the mark of Thomas Howe. The gold champlevé dial has minutes numbered 5-60 and hours I-XII around an inner quarter-hour circle which has arrow-head, line and dot quarter marks around a matted central area. Finely-made blued-steel hands indicate the hours and minutes.

    The verge movement is also of standard design with fusee and verge escapement and four stylised scroll-top tulip pillars. The steel three-arm balance has the newly-invented spiral steel balance spring of only 1½ turns. This spring has a long straight outer end passing through a curb on a Barrow regulator with a scale numbered 1-5 engraved on the back plate. A key operated micrometer screw adjusts the position of the curb. The pierced and engraved foliate balance cock has a table pierced into three sections and there are small streamers at the sides.

    In: Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007)

Further reading

Britten, F.J., Old Clocks & Watches and their Makers: A History Of Styles In Clocks And Watches And Their Mechanisms, 5th (London: E. & F.N. Span, 1922), pp. 200, 217

Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 18

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