Fine free-sprung keyless fusee, with impeccable Brighton provenance.
Heavy gold half-hunter case, the dome beautifully engraved with the Crest of a bird holding a twig and the motto DIEU ET MON DEVOIR [God and my Duty], plus the names of two members of the Willett family, the rear cover with discrete small repeat engraving of the bird, hallmarked London 1863, casemaker AW (Alfred Woolfe, Spencer St, Clerkenwell). Three-quarter plate keyless fusee movement jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape, the 14-size frame stamped ES (Edward Scarisbrick). Double-roller detached lever escapement. Best quality compensation balance with quarter timing nuts, freesprung blued-steel balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial, original blued-steel hands. 50 mm diameter and weighing just over 120 grams gross. Complete with gold tooled velvet and silk lined box.
Magnus Volk, watch and clockmaker, born in Baden Germany in 1824 he moved to Brighton where he married in 1850, dying in 1869. His son, born in 1851 and also named Magnus, built the short lived Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway and other early electric ventures of some note.
Henry Willett (1823-1905), a wealthy Brighton brewer and a noted collector of paintings, fossils and ceramics, his collection of the latter now in Brighton Museum, of whom he was a founder and generous benefactor. He died at his home, Arnold House, Brighton, and is buried at St Helen's Church, Hangleton.
A fine and well appointed London made watch which will have been state-of-the art at this period, reflecting well on the retailer and owner. Case showing some signs of the expected use and a small local repair to the dial edge at 6. Otherwise in lovely original condition having obviously been well cared for by at least two generations of the Willett family. Serviced and guaranteed.
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