ARNOLD & DENT, 84 Strand, London. No 4084


Rare Prest Patent keyless watch, in stylish silver case.

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Large and slim silver barrel-edge case with wonderful shape of winding button and bow, hallmarked London 1831, casemaker HH (Henry Hardy, 14 Rosomans Row, Clerkenwell). Early example of the later style Prest three-quarter plate movement with going barrel, with steel plate holding the arbor of the contrate-type winding wheel showing on the top plate. Single-roller detached lever escapement, an improvement on the earlier models that had ruby-cylinders. Plain balance, spiral balance-spring. Signed enamel dial, matching gold hands. 52 mm diameter, only 15 mm deep, including glass.

Thomas Prest, one time foreman at Arnold's chronometer workshops in Eltham, and in whose name PATENT 4501 was taken out in October 1820. This was the first commercially successful keyless work, and was used by the Arnold firm for over thirty years - see also the Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches, page 230, for a later example.

John Roger Arnold & Edward John Dent formed a partnership in 1830 which ran for ten years, this watch being one of the earlier watches to bear their joint names. For more information regarding both these great London watch and chronometer makers, as well as Thomas Prest, see the books on Arnold and Dent by Vaudrey Mercer published by the Antiquarian Horological Society.

Faint hair crack in dial which is almost impossible to see, otherwise in very good original condition - a fine and wearable example. Cleaned and guaranteed.