HEDGETHORNE, Brighton. No 1899


Fine large 52 1/2 minute Bonniksen karrusel with rare safety pinion.

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Substantial double back silver case with stylish and unusual mix of gold joints, lips, olivette and pendant, hallmarked London 1897, casemaker L.D (cameo), a mark which I have not been able to identify. Typical three-quarter plate keyless movement with the frame carrying Bonniksen's Patent stamp, the top plate spotted, in chronometer fashion, and also engraved around the centre arbor jeweling SAFETY PINION. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Enamel dial, original blued-steel hands. 55 mm diameter, just over 156 grams gross weight.

Hedgethorne is barely mentioned in the horological literature, but a selection of fine watches by him are known. These include chronometers and other karrusels, with at least one other with the American-style Safety Pinion, as well as a Swiss made lever watch with fusee and tourbillion. The Horological Journal, in its October 1899 issue, also describes and illustrates a chronometer escapement with complicated remontoire / constant force action by Hedgethorne, and notes that a Patent has been applied for. Evidently this did not proceed as the escapement is not included within the printed Patent Abridgements for Class 139 'Watches, Clocks and Other Timekeepers' 

Bahne Bonniksen, 16 Norfolk St, Coventry, Patent No 21,421, November 1892, inventor of a revolving carriage 'karrusel' in which the escapement and balance is made to turn 360 degrees in 52 1/2 minutes (34 minutes in centre-second movements). This was done in order to cancel out the deleterious effects of gravity in fixed escapement watches. NB: Doing essentially the same as devised by John Arnold, and first made by A-L Breguet who called it a tourbillon, the karrusel differs in as much as the power of the mainspring drives both the carriage and the escapement. In the tourbillon the mainspring drives only the carriage, the escape wheel pinion being driven by a fixed wheel mounted under the carriage - the karrusel does not have a fixed wheel.

A fine example, ex Stanley H Burton collection, and certainly one of his better watches. Those who attended the AHS London talk on Bonniksen given by Clare Woodward will have some understanding of the significance of these watches that for over a decade were among the most accurate money could buy. A short and faint hair crack in the dial, at 4, otherwise in fine original condition showing almost no signs of wear. Serviced and guaranteed.