A fine gold cased watch of this famous firm’s larger size.
Plain gold pair case hallmarked 1771, casemaker PM (Peter Mounier), the outer with London watchpaper. Capped fullplate fusee movement of the firm’s standard larger size, typically well engraved, both cap and movement signed in full, the inside of the cap being lightly scratched with the serial number, as was usual by this workshop. Graham’s form of cylinder (dead-beat) escapement retaining the original banking, the brass escape with 16 teeth. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring. Lovely original ‘Roman & Arabic’ enamel dial, enamelled on gold. Original blued-steel beetle & poker hands. 53 mm diameter, not including the pendant, and with a correct ‘high dome’ glass.
Peter Mounier, Frith St, Soho, one of the best London watch case makers of his day, known for providing many of Mudge & Dutton’s finest cases.
Thomas Mudge & William Dutton, Fleet St, London, the foremost watch and clock making partnership in the second half of the 18th century, both having been apprenticed to George Graham. Mudge was still in charge of watchmaking for the firm at this period. He retired, due to illness, from business life in London in 1771, taking up residence in his late father's house in Plymouth. This is a good example of the firm’s standard larger sized pocket watch, of which so very few exist in original condition, most having lost one or both their cases and/or having been fitted with a later dial. See also the recent exhibition catalogue relating to the Mudge and Dutton firm issued by Tobias Birch, for which I wrote a short introduction.
NB: Early (circa 1730) enamel dials are lovely and rather rare survivals, but the quality of firing and especially of the hand lettering improved greatly in the first decade or so. By 1750, London dials are truly exquisite examples of their kind. Dials like this, enamelled on gold, have never been bettered and rarely equalled - so much so, this is one of the few skills within horology that, at its best, has truly become a lost art. Add to this the fact that enamel (fused glass) is highly susceptible to cracks and chips if carelessly handled, even more so if enamelled on gold, and it is no surprise that examples so rarely survive in perfect condition.
Likewise, all beetle & poker hands are not the same and the quality of Mudge & Dutton hands, with their perfect proportions and an hour hand (beetle) with ‘7 points,’ is a match for their dials. Sadly, many hands do not survive breaks and changes, particularly minute hands that were always prone to damage by owners who used fingers rather than a key to set the time. Replacement hands are invariably inferior.
Dial with the usual hair crack (barely visible), the outer showing some wear and the back worn rather thin, and thus priced accordingly. Otherwise one of the very few surviving all original (case, dial and movement) watches from this famous partnership. Serviced and guaranteed.
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