T TOMPION, E BANGER, London. No 3866


Fine original watch from this short lived but impressive partnership, circa 1704, with provenance.

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Silver paircase with floral engraved outer including the Darcy coat of arms with cinquefoils and crosses, surmounted by an arm holding a spear, the inner engraved for its owner: Dl Darcy, London-Dery 1762, both cases with the casemaker's stamp WS under a coronet (William Sherwood). Fullplate fusee movement typically well finished and engraved, the pillar-plate bearing a conjoined AP or AR stamp, being that of one of the numerous workmen Tompion was employing at this period, and only the second time this particular stamp has been seen. Verge (recoil) escapement. Steel balance with spiral balance spring, as first developed by Tompion and arguably his single most important horological contribution in an illustrious career. Two-piece silver champlevé dial, the centre with Tompion's beautiful 'cherub and garland' swag to the name cartouche, with blued-steel 'tulip and poker' hands. 55.5 mm diameter.

Though now synonymous with clocks, Thomas Tompion, at the 'Dial and Three Crowns' Fleet Street, London, was truly the 'father of English watchmaking' having been directly involved from the very beginning with the introduction of the balance-spring - see the book by Martin Ball. Tompion's work gave English watches, more particularly 'London' watches, a second-to-none reputation that was to last for over 200 years, from which he became both famous and rich, and it is no surprise that his portrait shows him with a watch rather than a clock - see the rare original mezzotint available on my website, the books by R W Symonds and the recent works by Jeremy Evans. NB: This watch, from the short lived partnership of Thomas Tompion & Edward Banger, is from the period that many believe saw the best of Tompion's output.

NB: Not previously recorded, this watch adds to the very few known Tompion watches that retain their original cases and dial - most that survive having been altered, often drastically.

The French/Norman name of D'Arcy has a long history in Ireland, members of the family being appointed to positions of power there by the English in the 14th century.

Some general signs of age and use, otherwise a rare chance to acquire a complete and original English watch by the founder of what was to become nearly two centuries of English watchmaking dominance. Serviced and guaranteed.