DONNE & Son, 6 Birchin Lane, Cornhill, London. No 1565


£ 3,450.00

Fine free-sprung watch with very rare differential up/down and duo-in-uno spring.

More details

Gold openface case hallmarked 1886, casemaker PW (Philip Woodman, Clerkenwell). Three-quarter plate frame jewelled to the centre with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape, the 16-size pillar-plate stamped JP (Joseph Preston). Double-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance paired with free-sprung duo-in-uno balance-spring, a combination of spiral and helical turns. Enamel dial with sunk seconds and state-of-wind indication at 12 in perfect condition, original gold hands. 51.5 mm diameter. Together with its purple velvet lined leather covered box.

Lewis Donne, member of the Clockmakers' Company, died 1918 aged 78, retailer. The actual finishers of this watch are almost certainly Usher & Cole. 

NB: This movement is rare in having the centre wheel placed 'above' the balance, in continental style, done to allow the differential arbor to run between the plates. The arbor is just 7.5 mm long, and note the extra steel pivot in the top plate, opposite from the 3rd and 4th wheels and their jeweling - I show a close up of the mechanism from one of their other watches. Up/down work is much harder to achieve in watches with a going-barrel rather than the normal English fusee, thus the extra mechanism; plus it was this type of differential work that Anthony Randall describes as the inspiration for his invention of the double-axis tourbillion.

Usher & Cole, Clerkenwell, famous London watchmakers, mostly suppliers to many retailers throughout the UK but occasionally also selling watches. Their surviving work books have now been donated to the Clockmakers' Company and can be viewed as part of their extensive library.

Joseph Preston, Prescot, the most famous of Lancashire watch rough movement manufacturers, supplier to all the best English finishers and retailers of his day.

Outside of box showing its age and the case back with nicely engraved VM monogram. Otherwise the watch in lovely, little used condition, and the only example of this rare caliper of English watch known to me finished with a duo-in-uno balance-spring.