Verge watch by Peter Debaufre with later modification by Alexander Cumming, London

Made:
1700 in London
maker:
Alexander Cumming

Verge watch by Peter Debaufre with later modification by Alexander Cumming, London
The Clockmakers' Museum/Clarissa Bruce
© The Clockmakers’ Charity

Verge escapement watch with pirouette by Peter Debaufre, in a silver case with small aperture to show balance. Outer case missing. The silver dial has raised figures with blued steel beetle and poker hands and a subsidiary seconds dial with decorative pierced hand. The movement has a stop piece engaging with the contrate wheel, and the balance cock has a rim with two thin arms to show the pirouette balance which has a spring with 4 turns. A 'pirouette' is a device in which the balance is not on the same axis as the verge, but on a separate arbor and geared to the verge, so that it turns more rapidly. In this case a wheel of 60 teeth on the verge-staff gears with a pinion of 6 leaves on the balance-staff which thus has an arc of about 2½ turns.

Signed 'Peter Debaufre London' (Peter is under the foot of the cock). C. 1700.

In May 1815, the Royal Clockmaker Benjamin L. Vulliamy attended the sale of the effects of the late clock- and watchmaker Alexander Cumming. He bought three items for the Clockmakers Company Library including this 'an original Leaver Escapement watch with verge – vibrates seconds –supposed unique invention £3-0-0'.

Although the watch is signed Debaufre and made around 1700, the beautiful verge escapement with a pirouette was undoubtedly the late 18th century work of Cumming.

Clockmakers' Museum No. 77

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Science Museum: Clockmakers' Museum Gallery

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Details

Category:
Clockmakers
Object Number:
L2015-3145
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), glass, silver (alloy) and steel (metal)
type:
watch
credit:
Lent by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

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