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Thomas Tompion Verge Pair Case Pocket Watch | 1700 For Sale
Offered today is a movement made by Thomas Tompion, “the father of English clockmakers.” This is a rare chance to acquire a real horological treasure.
Firstly , let me say that the movement was re-cased sometime in the late 18th century. Possibly to bring it into line with the latest fashion of the period. It wasn’t uncommon to have a movement of singular quality updated with a new case, dial etc and that is exactly what seems to have happened here. That said, the case and accompanying components are beautifully made.
The earlier English movements dating from 1670 to 1700, and just beyond, were quite deep with tall movement pillars. Towards the end of the Eighteenth century the English pair case pocket watch started to become slimmer and wider. To achieve the slimmer effect on the older wider movement a new dial edge was made, as here.The engraving is typical late eighteenth century and is beautifully done. It gives the watch greater width increasing the effect of slimness.
The pair case is gilt metal and is in fine condition. The inner case is in perfect condition with hinges in fine order. The winding square lines up perfectly in the centre of the winding square hole. The bow has a decorative form with nice engraving. The outer case is also in perfect condition with the hinge in excellent order along with the button and case spring. The front half of the outer case has turned rings at the edge of the outer aperture and where it meets the lower half. The lower half of the case also has turned rings where it meets the upper half. These rings are all clear and sharp in their definition.
As can be seen from the photographs it is a fine pair case. The width is 61mm. The inner case bezel is fitted with a plain high domed glass in very good condition.
The white enamel dial with radial Arabic numerals is in lo lovely condition. Around 9 O’clock there are some very fine hairlines but these are barely noticeable. The hands are exquisite, solid rose gold and are very high quality beetle and poker; also made at the same time as the dial and cases. The dial is 46mm wide and the hands fall exactly where they should on a watch of this width. Because the dial is wider than usual, so are the hands. All three, hands, case and dial were especially made for the movement in around 1790.
Now the movement itself - rare and lovely.
It has a beautiful pierced and engraved symmetrical balance cock. The balance cock has two birds of paradise, a shell motif in the centre, wheatsheaf pattern around the table edge, long ears, bevelled neck and pierced foot. The side plate is pierced and engraved with the Tompion silver regulator engraved and filled with black wax. (Tompion invented this particular type of regulation). Steel three arm balance. balance. The pillars are known as the authentic Egyptian pillar and are in fine condition. The movement has a verge escarpment and fusee. The mainspring has a worm and wheel setup. All of the mechanical components including the worm and wheel mechanism are in perfect condition. All the wheel teeth throughout the train are without fault or repair. The fusee ratchet is external and the third wheel is located at the top as would be expected. The movement is a lovely example with the gilding bright throughout.
It is signed ‘Thomas Tompion London 3105.’
The number is not clearly visible in the photographs being partially covered by the side plate.
It is located to the right of ‘Tompion’ on the other side of the pillar top. When the side plate is removed the number 3105 is clearly visible..
The movement number is also stamped on the underside of the balance cock and on the underside of the pillar plate as would be expected of a movement by Thomas Tompion. The watch has been taken to the British Museum where the movement was confirmed as a genuine Tompion. All the details of the movement - including the wheel count - were recorded by the Museum.
This particular watch is recorded in the book “Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Threee Crowns,” written by Jeremy Evans and published in 2006. The details and description of Thomas Tompion 3105 are to be found on page 91. The book dates this movement - 3105 - to the year 1700.
The movement is in working order. It was last cleaned and serviced around five years ago and was working fine. Since then it’s been in secure storage and not wound.
Tompion in his day had a worldwide reputation based partly on the soundness of his designs and the quality of his materials. According to Wikipedia, two of his clocks are still in regular use at Buckingham Palace today.
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Thomas Tompion Verge Pair Case Pocket Watch | 1700: $3,110