ANON, probably HAHN, Paris, recased in England


Fine quarter-repeating Lepine watch with rare lever escapement, circa 1810.

More details

Purpose made slim silver engine-turned case with repeat plunger in pendant, hallmarked London 1861, casemaker IT (James Thickbroom, Clerkenwell). Top quality, quarter-repeating Lepine calibre movement with typical sprung cuvette, two hammers hitting two square-section gongs, the repeat work mounted under the dial. Rare early French lever escapement with gold escape, the teeth slotted at the tips for oil retention (as both Emery and Breguet), and unusually with Pouzait-type safety action. Gold balance, spiral balance-spring. Purpose made English enamel dial, blued-steel hands. 59 mm diameter and only 15.5 mm deep.

Tardy shows Hahn at various Paris addresses during his working life. Hahn is one of the select few Paris watchmakers to take up Thomas Mudge's detached lever escapement around 1800 and this unusual form is known in watches bearing various famous names - see La Montre Francaise by Adolphe Chapiro, page 299. Banking is achieved by the safety pin entering a circular grooved channel. This acts to keep the lever in its correct position in rough wear. The other two pins on the lever act with the steel impulse roller (finger) mounted on the staff.

After the initial copies of Emery's lever watches by Robert Robin, French makers were quick to take up this new detached escapement and numerous variations appeared between 1800 and 1830, this being one of the more unusual.NB: It is Lepine inspired watches like this, with Mudge's detached escapement, plus the addition of Arnold's compensation balances that soon followed, which can truly claim to be the beginning of the modern watch. 

Dial with faint hair crack and the glass with an edge chip. Otherwise the movement in fine original condition and the case virtually as new. The watch has been serviced and the case cleaned since being photographed and the repeat plunger is now working correctly. A rare, interesting and wearable watch.