Jno ELLICOTT, London. No 1821


Fine quarter-repeating watch by this famous firm, in lovely original condition, circa 1738.

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Beautifully engraved, chased and pierced silver paircase, without any casemakers or assay marks, as is not uncommon at this time, but in a distinctive style associated with Ellicott at this period. Fullplate fusee movement with plain pillars and typically finely pierced and engraved cock and slide plate, the silver cap also signed, the repeat work complete with its pulse-piece allowing silent operation, the bell scratch signed 'Higgens, London,' one of the rarer bell makers of the period. Verge (recoil) escapement. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. Beautiful original 'Roman & Arabic' enamel dial, with original blued-steel beetle & poker hands, with correct high-dome (non bullseye) glass. 51.5 mm diameter.

John Ellicott senior, one of London's premier watchmakers, working at 17 Sweetings Alley, founder of the firm famous for producing the best quality clocks and watches throughout the 18th century, with examples in all the world's major horological museums - see the article on the Ellicotts by David Thompson published in Antiquarian Horology Summer and Autumn issues, 1997 - this watch is not mentioned, being unknown to the author at that time.

NB: Ellicott was among the first, if not the first, English watchmaker to use an upright pin in a flat steel balance to bank his verge watches, and this feature is original in this watch. Acting with an appropriate cut away edge to the table of the balance cock, this method later became much more common and bodgers of all periods would often file off the edge of the cock on watches needing new staffs that were originally banked in the more usual earlier way by pins in the potence acting on the back of the flags. This action defaces the cock and its original engraved edge and often sadly destroys the originality and look of what would otherwise be a fine movement, even on watches by makers such as Graham and Mudge!

A fine and rare example of a relatively early Ellicott repeating watch (few complete examples pre-date this) and all in lovely original condition, the outer case showing some wear to the rear and the dial with just the smallest of chips at the slot for the opening catch - nearly all surviving dials have a chip at this vulnerable point. From the Ballard collection sold in 2010. Serviced and guaranteed.