Rare alarm watch in lovely condition, circa 1745, with provenance.
Silver paircase, the inner beautifully pierced and engraved, and with its original polished bell, the outer with silver pinned horn covering. Top quality capped fullplate fusee movement with vase shaped pillars and the balance jewelled, with diamond endstone in polished steel setting, both cap and movement signed and numbered. Verge (recoil) escapement. Brass balance with spiral balance-spring. Lovely original two-piece enamel dial with alarm setting square (needing a male key) between 3 and 4, and original blued-steel beetle & poker hands under a correct high-dome glass. 53 mm diameter.
Conyers Dunlop, Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, son of and apprenticed to Andrew Dunlop, both fine watchmakers. Conyers finished his apprenticeship and became 'Free' in 1733 and went on to become Master of the Clockmaker’s Company in 1758.
From the collection of the late John Moon (1924-2018). John was a delightful and cheerful character, an early member of the Antiquarian Horological Society and an avid collector of pocket watches which he both cherished and wore. Wherever possible these had to be in the best of condition and this example is certainly one of his finest, both in condition and rarity. Sold with John's notes concerning this watch and a copy of the auction catalogue featuring the sale of his collection as well as a short appreciation.
NB: When originally sold the outer case was probably covered in pinned leather, as was the custom at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Leather does not survive contact with water at all well, however, and around 1775 tortoiseshell (turtle shell) and horn started to be used instead. This withstood damp condition much better and leather soon fell out of favour, plus many earlier watches were also re-covered with this harder wearing material. Few, though, were as carefully done and re-pinned as this example.
The central alarm dial with the faintest of hair cracks from one of the steel screws to the edge near 7 and the outer horn covering (it could be turtle shell) with just a few of the normal age cracks, but most unusually with no loss to either the horn or its pins. Otherwise a beautiful mid-18th century alarm watch by this fine watchmaker, full of the character of the period and in truly outstanding condition - certainly amongst the finest English examples to survive. Cleaned for its previous owner and working well, but can be freshly serviced if wanted.
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