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Exhibit № 24. Thomas Tompion, London No.67, Circa 1681

Exhibit № 24. Thomas Tompion, London No.67, Circa 1681

A very rare, fine and complicated Charles II silver pair-cased verge hour striking chaise clockwatch with alarm and calendar, numbered 67 in the first series

£50,000


Height

Diameter: 64 mm

Case

The silver inner case with split hinged bezel, ring turned fixed pommel and bow pendant, the case bowl with a finely pierced side band, the rear chased with floral relief-engraving and central rose, stamped with Nathaniel Delander’s first mark, ND, the bell screw-held inside, drilled with winding holes for the three trains. The further hinged outer case with pierced hole fretted front bezel, the rear with similar hole frets to the band and decorated with repousé thistle and dolphin motifs and stamp-marked IP (unidentified maker).

Dial

The silver champlevé dial within a hinged gilt-brass decorated band, the outer scale with an Arabic calendar, 1-31, with inner rotating blued steel ring and fixed trefoil pointer. The Roman hour chapter outside the quarter divisions with dot half-hour marks, indicated by a large arrow pointer fixed to the inner rotating alarm disc, set by the shaped single blued steel hand, and signed on two central reserves TOMPION, LONDON.

Movement

The gilt-brass full plate movement held by three Egyptian pillars and two of turned steel, the going train with fusee and chain, the finely pierced and engraved verge balance cock with screwed irregular foot and sprung three-arm steel balance. The backplate signed Tho Tompion, London, with blued steel worm and wheel set up and silver Arabic regulation dial. Blued steel stop-work for the alarm, the strike train with pierced and engraved spring barrel, and governed by a silver decorated Arabic hour countwheel, blued steel pierced and engraved striking gate, the hours sounding on the bell. The pillar-plate with scratch numbers 67 and 20.

Duration

30 hour

Provenance

Sotheby’s, 24th May 1971, 1ot 153.
Sotheby’s, 14th September 2004, lot 26, sold for £35,280;
John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.128

Literature

Evans, Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, 2006, listed p.87;
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, (illus.) p.267 and listed p.614;
Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, (illus.) p.290

Escapement

Verge with sprung balance

Strike Type

Countwheel hour strike with alarm

Exhibited

2018, London, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no.82

Tompion’s first series of numbered watches was probably begun in 1681 and it accommodated all types, timepieces, clock-watches and alarm watches, until c.1691/2, when he began a separate series for clock-watches and alarm watches, which then ran until the early 1720s when it was abandoned by his successor, George Graham, along with the production of clock-watches. Thereafter, watches with alarm were numbered in the timepiece series. About eight ‘non-timepiece’ watches are so far listed in the ‘first timepiece’ series, including this example, number 67, and the others being numbers; 2(?), 20, 159, 461, 1290, 5029 and 5813.

Looking at Tompion’s various watch number series, which reveal his apparent lifetime’s production, it is staggering to ponder the fact that some 4200 timepiece watches (93%), 270 repeating watches (76%), and over 90 clock-watch and alarm watches (77.5%) remain lost and unaccounted for.

Thomas Tompion (1637-1713) is rightly considered the Father of English clock and watchmaking, during his lifetime English horology was the best in the world, and he was the best in England. He was the first to apply a spring to the balance wheel, under the instruction of his friend and patron, the great experimental scientist and polymath, Robert Hooke. His customers included monarchs at home and abroad, as well as courtiers, scientists and the plain wealthy. Accordingly he made a number of extraordinary and expensive watches that were complicated for the period, and the present watch is no exception; to fit a going and striking movement with alarm and calendar into such a small space is a testimony to his ability as a master watchmaker. That is not to say that other makers were not capable, but Tompion’s ability to achieve this with a consistency of quality and reliability was quite remarkable.
As a consequence, Tompion was held in the highest esteem and during his career his name became synonymous with quality. In a comedy published in 1702, The Inconstant: The Way to Win Him, by the Irish dramatist, George Farquhar (1677-1707), is dialogue between two of the cast:

Lamource: O dear, Sir, an English watch; Tompion’s I presume.
Mirabel: D’ye like it, Madame? ‘tis at your service, with all my heart and soul – Tompion’s!
And in a later scene:
Mirabel: Ad’s my life, Madame, you have got the finest built watch there! A Tompion, I presume?
Lamource: Sir you may wear it!
Mirabel: O, Madame, by no means: ‘tis too much – Rob you of all! [Takes it from her.]

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Product Description

Tompion’s first series of numbered watches was probably begun in 1681 and it accommodated all types, timepieces, clock-watches and alarm watches, until c.1691/2, when he began a separate series for clock-watches and alarm watches, which then ran until the early 1720s when it was abandoned by his successor, George Graham, along with the production of clock-watches. Thereafter, watches with alarm were numbered in the timepiece series. About eight ‘non-timepiece’ watches are so far listed in the ‘first timepiece’ series, including this example, number 67, and the others being numbers; 2(?), 20, 159, 461, 1290, 5029 and 5813.

Looking at Tompion’s various watch number series, which reveal his apparent lifetime’s production, it is staggering to ponder the fact that some 4200 timepiece watches (93%), 270 repeating watches (76%), and over 90 clock-watch and alarm watches (77.5%) remain lost and unaccounted for.

Thomas Tompion (1637-1713) is rightly considered the Father of English clock and watchmaking, during his lifetime English horology was the best in the world, and he was the best in England. He was the first to apply a spring to the balance wheel, under the instruction of his friend and patron, the great experimental scientist and polymath, Robert Hooke. His customers included monarchs at home and abroad, as well as courtiers, scientists and the plain wealthy. Accordingly he made a number of extraordinary and expensive watches that were complicated for the period, and the present watch is no exception; to fit a going and striking movement with alarm and calendar into such a small space is a testimony to his ability as a master watchmaker. That is not to say that other makers were not capable, but Tompion’s ability to achieve this with a consistency of quality and reliability was quite remarkable.
As a consequence, Tompion was held in the highest esteem and during his career his name became synonymous with quality. In a comedy published in 1702, The Inconstant: The Way to Win Him, by the Irish dramatist, George Farquhar (1677-1707), is dialogue between two of the cast:

Lamource: O dear, Sir, an English watch; Tompion’s I presume.
Mirabel: D’ye like it, Madame? ‘tis at your service, with all my heart and soul – Tompion’s!
And in a later scene:
Mirabel: Ad’s my life, Madame, you have got the finest built watch there! A Tompion, I presume?
Lamource: Sir you may wear it!
Mirabel: O, Madame, by no means: ‘tis too much – Rob you of all! [Takes it from her.]

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm