Rare dumb-repeating watch by this important John Harrison associated maker.
Engraved 22 ct gold case hallmarked 1767, casemaker PM (Peter Mounier). Capped and jewelled fullplate fusee quarter-repeating movement with somewhat unusual pierced and engraved decoration, the cap signed for Mathews and the movement numbered in his known sequence but also bearing the name of W Rand. Verge (recoil) escapement. Steel balance, spiral balance-spring with original banking on the balance rather than the back of the flags - this is as made and has not been changed. Original Roman enamel dial with winding at 12, gold beetle & poker hands. 45 mm diameter.
William Mathews, at 27 Fleet St at this period, was one of the three specialist watchmakers appointed by the Board of Longitude for the disclosure by John Harrison of his timekeeper (H4) in 1765. The others were Thomas Mudge and Larcum Kendall. All three have direct connections with George Graham's workshop, which is perhaps not surprising as Graham was, until his death in 1751, Harrison's greatest supporter. More importantly, both Mathews and Larcum Kendall were asked to prepare an estimate for making a copy of H4 by the Board, a clear indication of their capabilities.
Despite this, little is known about Mathews and I have records of less than ten surviving items bearing his name - the Clockmakers' Company strangely sold their one quarter-repeating movement by Mathews at Sothebys in 1974. Britten also records a watchpaper by Mathews engraved "Wm Mathews, late app. to Mr Graham." Mathews ceased trading in 1776, his premises, workshop and stock-in-trade being auctioned off. He died in 1880.
Baillie, Britten and Loomes all show a W Rand as working in London at this period and Britten also notes a quarter repeating watch by William Rand of 1760. Just what relationship Rand had with Mathews is unknown, but it is likely to have been one of master and pupil.
NB: This is one of a small series of London made single cased dumb repeaters that are known with the fusee, thus the winding hole, carefully positioned at 12. All have associations with the best London workshops, and indeed I believe Matthews is likely to have been employed by Ellicott after Graham's death.
In fine original condition showing only minor signs of wear to the case (22ct gold is relatively soft) and almost no signs of wear to the movement. This is the best example of Mathews signed work known to me, as well as being most unusual in bearing a second maker's name; not to mention Peter Mounier, perhaps the finest watch case maker of his day. Serviced and guaranteed.
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