Gold pair-cased verge watch with date indicator

On display


  • Handbook text

    An Ellicott watch would have been a prized possession in the 18th century, and one such as this with triple cases could easily have cost as much as 50 guineas when new. The 18th century saw the popularity of the chatelaine reach a high point of decoration and sophistication. The watch with its en-suite chatelaine was attached to the wearer’s waist belt by a large hook covered at the front by a repoussé design usually in gold but also sometimes in gilded brass. This particular example consists of a large top hanger with belt hook at the back which is attached to three square pierced and engraved foliate plates flanked by a chain of small plates, each embossed with a cherub's head. There are hooks at the sides, one with a red-gold cranked winding key, the other vacant. The plates are decorated with a depiction of Cephalus and Procris and three panels showing Cupid presenting a heart to a lady.

    The plain gold inner case is punched with the London hallmarks for 1728 and the case maker’s mark IB and the number 1016. The outer repoussé case is beautifully chased and engraved with a depiction of Anthony and Cleopatra, the design possibly by Augustin Heckel..
    In addition to the two gold cases, there is a leather-covered brass outer protective case with gold rims and gold piqué decoration which the owner would have worn in every-day circumstances to protect the watch, but this would have been left off when the watch was worn on special occasions.

    The dial is typical of the champlevé style with minutes 5-60, hours I-XII and ringed double lozenge half-hour marks around an inner circle divided to half-hours. The central disc is inscribed ELLICOTT and LONDON. A small square aperture above VI o'clock reveals the date on a revolving disc below. There are blued-steel beetle and poker hands.

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

Further reading

Thompson, David, ‘The watches of the Ellicotts of London’, Antiquarian Horology, 23, (1997), pp. 306-321, & pp. 429-442

Edgcumbe, Richard, The art of the gold chaser in eighteenth-century London (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 58

Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 22

Reference URL

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