Jno R ARNOLD, London. PATENT No 61


Rare Prest Patent keyless movement by this most famous firm, circa 1820.

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Large fullplate going-barrel movement, the top plate with engraved scale and the distinctive screw held steel bearing on the top plate supporting one end of the main contrate form of winding wheel which is mounted under the dial. Jewelled (sapphire) cylinder escapement with brass escape. Flat steel balance, spiral balance-spring, the index with compensation-curb. Lovely signed off-white enamel dial in perfect condition, with original gold hands. 49 mm diameter, 9 mm deep, not including centre arbor.

John Roger Arnold, the famous son of a famous father and a very good watch and chronometer maker in his own right, the Arnold firms foreman being Thomas Prest in whose name PATENT 4501 was taken out in October 1820. This was the first commercially successful keyless work, pre-dating Patek, and was used by the Arnold firm, later taken over by Charles Frodsham, for around forty years - see also the Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches, page 230 for a later example.

The steel screw in the minute hand boss broken (the hand is intact), and the winding wheel with a rather poor repair of two broken teeth. Otherwise a fine, large, relatively early and somewhat unusual example of Prest's keyless winding - it has no barrel-bridge. Not cleaned by me and it tries to run when wound, but sold as needing at least a service to do so properly.