GOLAY, London. No 5732


£ 6,995.00

Unsold and never used, a best quality 'all-English' minute repeater with chronograph.

More details

Beautifully detailed heavy gold hunter case hallmarked London 1903, casemaker FT/LONDON (Fred Thoms). Golay pattern Patent rocking-bar keyless half-plate movement with raised barrel, jewelled to the centre with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape, the top plate left hand stoned (squiggled) ready for the retailers name to be engraved, also lightly scratched with Golay's number 5732. Single-roller detached lever escapement, overcoil balance-spring with fine adjustment regulator. Cream enamel dial by WILLIS in perfect condition, with original gold hands and steel centre-seconds. 54 mm diameter and weighing 172 grams in total, just over 6 ounces.

Charles Hector Golay, later trading as Hector Golay, 'Manufacturer of Complicated Watches' 46 Myddleton Square, London, Patent No 12417, October 1885. Swiss born (the Jura) but working most of his life in London, Golay was the main manufacturer, along with Nicole, Nielsen & Co, of the very best British made complicated work at the turn of the 19th century. Golay is known to have used the top London craftsmen in the manufacture of his watches and, for anyone who still doubts the provenance of his work, a bill by Golay dated 1909 and made out to the chronometer maker Robert Gardner, clearly states "Value of Foreign Material in Repeating Work not exceeding Five Per Cent"

NB: This watch gives every appearance of never having been sold or used and is one of only two such examples that are known to me, the other being still with descendants of the Golay family. It is almost identical with the same pattern of watch featured in Golay's Trade Catalogue of 1885, that watch being No 2087, which is shown unsigned and spotted ready to be supplied - scan attached. The watch is described thus "ENGLISH MINUTE REPEATER HUNTER, with minute and seconds chronograph, double or single roller escapement, free sprung or with auxiliary regulator, in 12, 14, 16 or 18 size...heavy case (from 3 to 4 ounces), interchangeable, adjusted (for observatories)". Golay offered them with or without Kew Certification.

Fred Thoms, 25 Spencer Street, Clerkenwell, considered to be the finest watch case maker of his day. Thoms died in 1930, after which his business was incorporated into Joseph Walton & Co. This case employs the second of his two stamps, with LONDON added underneath, created I believe in order that his work should not be confused with that of Frederick Trahern who was based in Coventry. Thoms other stamp can be seen on the pendant.

A most rare and interesting survival and in lovely original condition showing few signs of age, just the covers with light scuffs and scratches of having presumably spent most if not all of its life in a drawer and being occasionally opened. Because of its rarity I have not polished the case nor serviced the movement. I am more than happy to do this at no extra cost if the buyer decides it should be done.