Rare 3rd-wheel centre-seconds watch by this famous London firm, circa 1780.
Purpose-made later silver pair case hallmarked London 1822, casemaker JH (John Harris, London). Capped and jewelled fullplate fusee movement with balance-brake and typically well engraved and pierced cock and slide-plate, both movement and cap signed and numbered, the 3rd wheel planted under the dial and driving the c-seconds hand as well as the escape wheel. Graham cylinder (deadbeat) escapement with 16-tooth brass English-form of escape wheel and Graham's method of banking via a pin in the cylinder acting on the potance. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. Beautiful 'Roman and Arabic' enamel dial, enamelled on gold, original gold hands, including the c-seconds. 50 mm diameter.
John and Edward Ellicott, then running what was the largest and most successful business in London, selling top quality clocks and watches. See the two-part article on the Ellicott firm by David Thompson in Antiquarian Horology, Summer and Autumn issues 1997 - note how rare are their watches with centre-seconds.
NB: Watches with centre-seconds work first appear around the time of Graham’s abandonment of the verge for his cylinder escapement in 1725. Graham uses the 4th (escape) wheel to drive the seconds hand which, as with Ellicott’s, is driven by motion work between the hour and minute hands. Elliott uses the 3rd wheel. This has advantages over Graham’s work, but it is Ellicott's design which is far lass common in English work - see Hatton’s Treatise…
The dial with a couple of minor edge chips and the c-seconds hand has probably lost a millimetre or so from its tip. Otherwise the movement showing only a few signs of its age, as does the later but well made case. A most rare form of centre-seconds watch, worth a great deal if all original, the present case making it possible to own such a fine 18th century watch at a more reasonable price. Serviced and guaranteed.
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