Gold cased verge watchOn display
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Gold cased verge watch
Material and technique
Dimensionscase 4.13 cm (diameter)
movement 3.46 cm (diameter)
pillar 0.795 cm (height)
No. of items
Bequeathed by J. Francis Mallett, 1947.
Museum locationSecond floor | Gallery 55 | Silver
Only a very small number of watches are known which bear the signature of the person who engraved the case and this one, signed and dated, ‘Martin 1683’, is one of them. It is deorated on the back with foliate scrolls incorporating a lion, an eagle, a hound, a monkey and a serpent, all within a border of figure-of-eight scrolls. The band is engraved with foliage with reclining nude figures and birds and the glazed bezel on the front is engraved with gadroon decoration. The signature Martin 1683 on the case of this watch is thought to be that of Abraham Martin, an engraver from Geneva who was made a Free Brother in the Clockmakers' Company in 1682. While Martin decorated the case, he was not responsible for making its fabric. On the inside is the case-maker’s punched mark, ND conjoined beneath a crown, the mark of Nathaniel Delander. Next to that mark are the London hallmarks for 1683 and the number 6 between four dots, Tompion’s code for number 406.
Equally fine in quality to the case is the gold champlevé dial with a chapter-ring with hours numbered I-XII and minutes 5-60 with lozenge half-hour marks around a half-hours circle. The separate central disc is finely engraved with a classical subject with two figures each holding foliage. The time is shown by finely cut blued-steel hands.
This gilded movement with fusee and verge escapement displays the typical high quality for which Tompion gained a reputation second to none. The tulip-pattern pillars were commonly used by many of the London makers of the time.
In: Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007)
Hayward, J.F., ‘Two English watches in Livrustkammaren’, Journal of the Royal Armoury, V, (1952), p. 238
Evans, Jeremy, ‘The numbering of Tompion's watches series and system’, Antiquarian Horology, 14, (1984), p. 588
Thompson, David, ‘Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, Antiquarian Horology, 25, (2000), p.625
Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 19
Evans, Jeremy; Carter, Jonathan; Weight, Ben, Thomas Tompion 300 Years (Water Lane Publishing, 2013), p. 572