PENNINGTON, London. No 1306


One of a small series of Admiralty lever Hack Watches, with extensive service history.

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Silver openface case hallmarked 1860, casemaker DL (David Lark, Clerkenwell). Full plate keywound fusee movement. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, now converted (as all seem to have been) to be free-sprung with palladium balance-spring, presumably an Admiralty requirement sometime after purchase. Signed enamel dial, blued-steel hands. 55 mm diameter. Together with two-piece admiralty box.

Robert Pennington, grandson of Robert who worked with Thomas Mudge, a family firm that became one of the best and most influential watch and chronometer makers of the early 19th century. This is one of a small series of Royal Navy watches which I believe to be the earliest lever escapement Hack Watches purchased by the Admiralty. For a similar example showing its box complete with ivory plaque, see Antiquorum auction catalogue, 17-18/10/992, lot 75, and also Antiquarian Horology, December 2000, page 642, where No 1306 is featured.

A good and rare example of an Admiralty lever escapement Deck Watch from this early period, and with a long and interesting history from its purchase in 1861 till it was "lost" on the Tug John Payne in 1922. Ships mentioned in its Royal Observatory ledger are: the Ironclad Battleship HMS Northumberland; HMS Brontes; the Ironclad HMS Monarch; the Cruiser HMS Leander; HMS Victor Emanuel; HMS Terror; the Battleship HMS Triumph and the Cruiser HMS Sapphire, as well as being posted at Portsmouth, Devonport, Bermuda. Plymouth and Hong Kong.

Light engine-turning of the case now mostly worn/polished out and the dial with the usual hair cracks visible with a glass, otherwise the movement in good original (noting the conversion) condition. The box has warped causing it to distort and not shut properly, and lacking what would have been an ivory plaque engraved with its number, etc. Cleaned for its previous owner and looks to be working well.