Gold pair-cased cylinder watch with quarter repeat

On display

Details

  • Handbook text

    In the 1740s, the combination of a George Graham cylinder watch with quarter-repeat together with fine gold cases, the outer repoussé case decorated by George Michael Moser, was the height of fashion and such a watch might also have had an en-suite gold repoussé chatelaine.

    Two features in this watch are significant. Firstly, the watch has a cylinder escapement, a technical improvement in watches introduced by George Graham in about 1726. The new escapement was based on an earlier idea of Thomas Tompion’s in 1695, and such faith did Graham have in his new invention that thenceforth he used it exclusively. George Graham was also one of the first makers to use the white enamel dial from about 1725, a new more visible style which replaced the earlier champlevé dials.

    The gold pair cases are both marked with the maker’s mark JW for John Ward and the inner case is hallmarked London 1744. The outer case has a chased repoussé depiction of a classical wedding with Juno in the background. The chaser’s signature G.Moser:fec appears on a small reserve below the scene. Richard Edgcumbe in The Art of the Gold Chaser” notes that the depiction appears on a number of other watches and in the Victoria & Albert Museum there is a Moser drawing of it, perhaps suggesting that it is probably his own design.

    The watch also has a quarter repeat mechanism with a small pulse-pulse piece between V and VI which, when pressed in, allows the operator to feel the hours and quarters as a pulse in the button but prevents the hammers from striking the bell, thus providing the time to the owner without making too much disturbing sound.

    Provenance:
    Julius Rosenberger Collection, sold Sotheby’s 1943.
    Eric Bullivant Bequest, 1974 (WA1974.132)

    Literature:
    Richard Edgcumbe, The Art of the Gold Chaser in Eighteenth-Century London, Oxford, 2000, p.102, fig.83.
    David Thompson, ”Watches in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford”, Antiquarian Horology, Vol. 25 (September 2000), pp. 626-628.

    Exhibition:
    Rococo, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1984 p. 131, no. H9.

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

Further reading

Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 25

Reference URL

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