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Explore some of the many objects in the Clockmakers' Museum, which tells the story of clock and watchmaking in London and the British Isles from c.1600 to the present day.
Wandering hour watch by Sinclare, Dublin, c.1690
Watch with wandering hour dial by Gordon D. Sinclare, Dublin, c.1690. Silver case, with engraved back and bezel. Engraved silver dial, signed Sinclare. Wandering hour function comprising a semi circular slot in the dial , behind which is a blued steel disc with aperture for the hour figure, acting as pointer. Minute hand missing. Verge escapement with large balance, backcock signed 'Sinclare. Dublin. 146'.
Rock crystal and silver watch in the form of a tulip, by Sermand c.1640
Form watch by Sermand, France or Switzerland. c.1640. Silver case cast in the form of a tulip with three hinged petals, each petal having a carved rock crystal window. Engraved gilt dial plate with a large silver chapter ring, with floral engraving around the outside of the ring, and an engraved scene of a river, bridge and houses in the centre. Steel hour hand with long tail. Verge escapement, with steel two arm balance, Pinned-on, pierced and engraved, oval shaped balance cock. Three wheel train. Fusee with gut line. Gilt backplate signed ‘F. Sermand’.
Flintlock pistol belonging to John Roger Arnold
20-bore flintlock pistol with gold-lined touch-hole and pan, signed 'I. Wilkins' and monogrammed with the initials JRA. Stamped with tower proof mark and fitted with a belt hook. English, c.1770 – 1780.
Wax portrait of Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780 – 1854)
Wax portrait of Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780-1854) by Richard Cockle Lucas 1851
Gilt-metal and engraved silver verge watch by James Valtrolier
Verge escapement watch by James Vautrolier. The oval gilt-metal case has profusely engraved silver covers and band. The engraved silver dial has a gilt hand. The movement has a three wheel train, pinned on balance cock and ratchet wheel set-up. The backplate has an engraved border. With original brass key and plain silver outer case. London c.1625
Deck-watch used by Capt. William Parry during his attempt to reach the North Pole, 1827
Silver spring detent escapement deck-watch in a mahogany case by Parkinson and Frodsham. White enamel dial with a subsiduary seconds dial and blued steel hands, signed 'Parkinson & Frodsham London 948' and the broad arrow mark. Flat spiral balance-spring with its stud on a flexible arm to aid the even coiling and uncoiling of the spring. Hallmarked for 1823 – 4.
Watch movement by Thomas Tompion
Verge escapement watch movement by Thomas Tompion. The movement has a four wheel train and tulip pillars, and is signed ‘T. Tompion London 0598’ c.1692
Sundial by Elias Allen, c.1630
A very high quality horizontal sundial, set out to show individual minutes and signed ‘Elias Allen fecit’. London, c.1630
Silver pair-cased astronomical watch
Silver pair-cased watch with astronomical indications. The matted dial plate is gilded and engraved with cherubs and has two applied silver dials. The lower dial, with blued steel hand, has a pierced centre and indicates the hours. The upper dial comprises a fixed silver ring showing the day of the month with a silver turning disc and pointer inside. The disc has five circles; the outer circle indicates the signs of the zodiac, the second the months, the third and fourth have a series of figures and the fifth shows the length of month. Also shown in separate apertures on the dial plate are indications for day of the week, moon phase and age, and high tides. Signed 'Nathan Barrow London'on the movement, but partially obscured by the balance cock and silver regulator. These appear to be later than the rest of the watch, which may have originally been made without a balance-spring. Verge escapement and three-wheel train.
Spring clock with pull quarter-repeat by Thomas Tompion
Pull quarter-repeating spring table clock numbered 243, by Thomas Tompion in an ebony veneered oak case with gilt brass mounts. The dial has been gilded and has a silvered chapter ring and subsidiary silvered dials for regulation and strike/silent. 8-day movement with latched plates, verge escapement and pull quarter-hour repeating on one bell. Signed ‘Thomas Tompion Londini fecit’. c.1695
Silver watch in the shape of a dove by Soret et Jay
Silver-gilt verge escapement watch in the shape of a dove by Soret et Jay, Europe. The lower part of the dove hinges to form a lid for the watch, engraved with a coat of arms. The oval movement has a worm-and-wheel set-up and a screwed on balance cock. Signed ‘Soret et Jay’.
Portrait of Francois Justin Vulliamy (1712 – 1797)
Oil on canvas portrait of Francois Justin Vulliamy (1712 – 1797).
Drum shaped clock in a gilt-metal case, signed R.S. c.1600
Drum clock in a gilt-metal case, signed R. S. The striking movement is much altered. The foliot escapement and stackfreed are both replaced. Minute markings suggest that the clock was once equipped with a minute hand. The central dial sets the alarm.
'Early 'perpetuelle' watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet
Quarter-repeating, self-winding watch with gold engine-turned case, by Abraham-Louis Breguet c.1783. On the back of the case is a crowned ‘N’. The white enamel dial has Breguet's secret signature. Both dial and case are later replacements by Breguet. Blued steel 'Breguet' hands. Cylinder escapement, with no compensation on the balance. Quarter repeating and self-winding. Signed ‘Breguet à Paris 810/83’.
Gold and enamel pair-cased quarter-repeating cylinder watch by Thomas Mudge
Gold and enamel pair-cased, quarter-repeating, cylinder escapement watch, by Thomas Mudge. The outer case has a blue enamel floral decoration against a gold ground, the inner is pierced and engraved. Signed on the movement ‘Tho. Mudge London 220’.Signed on the dust cap 'Tho Mudge London'. Hallmarked for 1755.
Gold and leather pair-cased quarter-repeater cylinder watch by George Graham
Gold pair-cased, quarter-repeater, cylinder escapement watch by George Graham. The inner case with edge pierced and engraved, the outer covered with leather studded with gold. White enamel dial with steel beetle hands. Signed dust cap, scratched on the inside with the number 883. Pierced and engraved balance cock with diamond endstone. Quarter-repeating on bell. Signed ‘Geo. Graham London 883’, hallmarked for 1745 – 6
Lantern clock by Peter Closon c.1655
Small weight-driven 30 hour lantern or 'house' clock with alarmwork by Peter Closon. The clock originally had a verge and balance-wheel escapement but was converted at some point to anchor and long pendulum. It would have had a twelve-hour duration. The dial is engraved with tulips with a steel hand, and is signed 'Peter Closon Neere Holburn Londini fecit'. c.1655
Gold lever watch by George Blackie
Lever escapement watch by George Blackie in a gold engine-turned case. White enamel dial with a subsidiary seconds dial and up-and-down indicator. Helical balance-spring. Signed ‘Geoe. Blackie fecit 392, Strand, London No. 742’. Engraved on the back plate ‘Nelthropp prize winner 1873’. Hallmarked for 1873.
Early English verge watch by Michael Nouwen
An early English watch by Michael Nouwen in a finely pierced gilt-metal case. The dial has a blue enamel hour-circle and is engraved with foliage and rabbits. The hour hand is missing. The fusee movement has a four-wheel going train, verge escapement, a pinned on balance cock, (with a later repair), a steel balance, with timekeeping regulated via a worm-and-wheel set-up (with a later replaced wheel). The striking train is later. London c.1600.
Oval verge watch by G Petit c.1630
Oval verge escapement watch. Engraved gilt-brass case with an engraved silver band and winding hole with shutter. Gilt-brass dial plate with applied engraved silver dial. Movement with pinned on balance cock, signed 'G Petit Fecit'. London, c.1630.
Gold pair-cased watch with gold champleve dial, by Daniel Quare
Plain gold pair case, probably of a later date to the movement (c.1728) with case maker's stamp IR. Gold champlevé dial with aperture for dial winding. Blued steel hour hand and minute hand shaped to avoid protruding squares through dial. Verge escapement movement. Balance cock with solid engraved foot and diamond endstone. Signed on movement ‘Daniel Quare London 3720’. Clockmakers Museum No. 126
Eight-day longcase clock by Edward East in a later marquetry case
Anchor escapement, eight-day, striking longcase by Edward East London. The oak case, veneered in walnut and floral marquetry, has been altered to fit the movement, which is earlier. The 9¼-inch brass dial has a narrow silvered hour circle with minute figures at every 5, engraved spandrels, and is signed 'Edwardus East Londini'. The two-train movement has count-wheel striking and bolt-and-shutter maintaining power. The movement dates to around 1675 and the case c.1685.
Marine timekeeper known as 'H5' by John Harrison and Son 1770
Silver pair-cased verge escapement marine timekeeper, known as H5, by John Harrison & Son, London. White enamel dial with gold central star to adjust hands. Verge escapement with Harrison’s special diamond pallets. Steel balance and spring. Fusee. Maintaining power. 7 1/2 seconds remontoir on 4th wheel. All wheels from the 3rd, jewelled. Long bimetallic strip on adjustable frame. Original key and starting pin. Signed ‘John Harrison & Son London 1770 No. 2’. Case hallmarked for 1768 – 9 and stamped ‘HT’ (probably Henry Taylor who became a free Clockmaker in 1746). With original mahogany carrying case and three silk cushions.
Verge watch in Staffordshire enamelled case by Ann Phillips
Verge escapement watch with gilt-metal Staffordshire enamelled case by Ann Phillips White enamel dial with gold hands, and winding achieved through an aperture in the dial. Engraved and pierced balance cock, signed ‘Ann Phillips, London 1778’. c.1790
Verge escapement watch movement by Ahasuerus Fromanteel
Verge escapement watch movement, without dial. Signed on backplate ‘Fromanteel’. The fusee arbor comes through the foot of the balance cock, which has two screws. by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, Holland, c. 1685.
Quarter repeating gold watch with guilloche enamelled case by L'Epine, Paris.
Gold and guilloche enamel case depicting a fishing scene bordered by white pastes on the rear. White enamel dial, perhaps replaced, with gilt hands. There is a winding apperture at II o'clock. Quarter-repeating movement. Verge escapement. Signed ‘L’Epine A Paris No. 998’.
Gold watch made for Queen Amelie of France by Henri Motel
Gold engine-turned case. White enamel dial signed ‘hri Motel hges de la Marine Rle No. 48’ with subsidiary seconds. Steel hands. Mahogany deck box with silver plate inscribed ‘Don de la Reine Amelie H H’. Cuvette engraved with equation-of-time table. Pivoted detent escapement. Four-arm compensation balance, conical balance spring without terminal curve. Jewelled to centre. Paris, c.1840
Early domestic weight driven iron wall clock
Verge escapement weight driven wall clock by an unknown maker, Germany Iron frame of four corner uprights surmounted by four curved corner bars forming a canopy supporting a bell. The corner posts carry rosettes. The front has a pierced iron plate on which hour figures are painted. The striking mechanism operates without warning. The verge escapement has a bar foliot with adjustable weights.
Portrait of Benjamin Vulliamy (1747 – 1811)
Portrait of Benjamin Vulliamy (1747 – 1811), oil on canvas, late 18th century
Posthumous portrait of George Daniels
Posthumous portrait of George Daniels by John Walton, RP, 2011.
Box of escapement finisher's tools
Box of escapement finisher's tools used by William Heyes, London, early 20th century.
Pivoted-detent escapement watch by John Arnold 1776-7
Pivoted detent escapement watch by John Arnold in a silver-gilt case with monogram ‘C.M.’ surrounded by chiselled wreaths. White enamel dial with a subsidiary seconds dial and steel hands. Pivoted detent s-shaped balance and helical balance spring. Signed ‘John Arnold Invt. et Fecit No. 28’. London, hallmarked 1776-7
Pivoted-detent escapement watch by Larcum Kendall 1786-7
Silver pair-cased pivoted detent escapement watch by Larcum Kendall, in which the passing spring is operated by an inclined plane on the balance staff. White enamel dial with subsidiary dials for hours and seconds. Brass balance with spiral bi-metallic compensation curb, Signed 'L. Kendall London B+y', London, hallmarked 1786-7
Silver form watch, in the shape of a cockle shell by Richard Masterson, c.1630
Form watch by Richard Masterson, The Royal Exchange, London c.1630. Oval case made of silver, cast in the form of a cockle-shell, with raised ridges on both sides of the case, radiating from the case joint. Shutter for winding hole, made of plain silver. Plain silver dial with small engraved hour circle and steel hour hand. Verge escapement, with steel two arm balance. Pinned-on, pierced and engraved balance cock. Ratchet wheel set-up for mainspring. Three wheel train. Fusee with gut-line. Back plate with engraved border, and signed ‘Ri Masterson at the Exchange Fecit’.
Silver one-minute tourbillon watch by Breguet et Fils, sold to the Princess de Valencay in 1812.
Lever escapement watch by Breguet et Fils, 1812. Silver case, the back engine turned with an engraved crown covered with clear grey enamel in the centre. Silver chain and key attached. The cuvette is signed ‘Breguet et Fils. Regulateur à Tourbillon no. 2571’. White enamel dial with arabic hour figures and a subsidiary seconds dial. Blued steel 'Breguet' hands. Dial signed ‘Breguet’ in cursive script, with a secret signature underneath. Also ‘Breguet et Fils No. 2571’. One minute tourbillon with Breguet’s first form of lever escapement. Unsigned full plate fusee movement, with balance and tourbillon carriage outside of plates. Two arm balance with 2 bimetallic compensation strips attached to each arm. Freesprung spiral balance spring with overcoil.
Pre-balance-spring era watch movement by Thomas Tompion c.1671
Pre-balance-spring era watch movement by Thomas Tompion, with a long screwed-on balance cock and worm-and-wheel set-up. A high quality fusee movement, with no pinion having less than 6 leaves. Signed 'Thomas Tompion, London' in flowing script c.1671
Gold pair-cased verge repeater watch by William Webster
Pierced and engraved gold pair-cased verge escapement repeater watch by William Webster. The gold dial has raised hour figures and large minute figures, a sunk centre with name plaques and steel hands. Repeats on bell or pulse piece. Signed ‘Willm. Webster Exchange Alley London 1033’. Early 18th century
Gold verge watch with red and blue champlevé enamel dial by Edward East
Gold verge escapement watch with a red and blue champlevé enamel dial by Edward East. The fusee movement has a three wheel train, pinned on balance cock and ratchet wheel set-up. Signed ‘Eduardus East Londini’. c.1650
Marine chronometer by John Arnold and Son
Spring detent escapement marine chronometer by John Arnold & Son, London. Held in a wooden octagonal case without gimbals. 4 inch silvered dial. Helical balance-spring with terminal curves. OZ balance. Signed ‘John Arnold & Son, London No. 92 Invt. et Fect’ c.1795.
A selection of watch keys from the 17th to the 19th centuries
A selection of watch keys held in 10 frames, of both British and European manufacture from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
Wax portrait of George Atkins (1766 – 1855)
Wax portrait of George Atkins (1766 – 1855) by Richard Cockle Lucas, London, 1852.
'Millenium' co-axial wristwatch by George Daniels
Gold co-axial escapement wristwatch by George Daniels, with a movement manufactured by Omega. 18 carat gold case and hands, engine-turned silver dial.
Oval silver pair-cased watch by Sampson Shelton
Oval silver pair-cased watch by Sampson Shelton. The silver inner case is undecorated, with a crystal in the cover, fixed by a ring. The winding aperture to the back is shuttered. The outer case is covered in fish skin and elaborately decorated with silver piqué work. The watch's silver dial has an engraved chapter ring and central flower and a blued steel hand. The movement has a three wheel train, Egyptian pillars and an oval pierced and engraved screwed-on cock. Worm-and-wheel set-up. Signed ‘Sam Shelton Fecit’. London c.1640.
Astronomical and automaton Augsberg 'masterpiece' clock by Johann Schneider
The main cylindrical clock sits on a cast octagonal base, and is held up by a group of putti and a dolphin. Above the main clock is a small rectangular clock with a 12-hour dial and a canopy on pillars above it. Under the canopy is an automaton group of St George and the Dragon and above is a figure in Roman dress. The outer ring of the main dial is a year calendar with the Saint’s name for each day. Within this is a narrow minute ring, then a silver hour ring of 24 hours, and then a silver band with shutters showing the hours of light and darkness. The centre is occupied by an astrolabe. The steel hand shows the minutes, the gilt hands the hour and age of the moon. On the back are five small dials, which show the day of the week and of the month and the striking position of the hours and quarters.
Portrait of Edward East
Portrait miniature, believed to be of Edward East, c.1650. Artist unknown
Engraved silver 'Petit' cup
Engraved silver-gilt cup with replaced lid. It is inscribed ‘Dono datum Horologicorum Societati a Guillielmo Petit, 1655’.
Portrait of the Reverand Henry Nelthropp MA, FSA (1820 – 1901)
Portrait of the Reverand Henry Nelthropp MA, FSA, by D. A. Werschmidt
Marine timekeeper by Henry Sully, Paris, 1724
Prototype marine timekeeper by Henry Sully, Paris, 1724 Signed ‘Henricus Sully Inuenit & Fecit’. Frictional rest escapement developed from Huygen’s design, the balance staff supported on anti-friction rollers. Cycloidal cheeks oscillate with the balance, from which hangs a silk cord, attached at the base to a pivoted horizontal pendulum. Contact of the cord on the cheeks was intended to effect isochronism. Later 18th century burr walnut case.
Spring clock in ebony case by Samuel Knibb
Spring table clock by Samuel Knibb in an ebony veneered oak case. The dial is 9 1/4 inch square, and engraved with spring flowers. 8-day fusee movement with verge escapement and short pendulum. Hour and half-hour count-wheel striking. Latched plates. Sparse engraving on backplate. Signed ‘Samuel Knibb Londini fecit.’ Westminster, c.1666.
Silver and leather pair-cased verge watch by Charles Gretton
Pierced and engraved silver pair-cased verge escapement watch by Charles Gretton with the outer case of leather studded with silver The silver dial has long hour figures with a steel hand and a central alarm disk with steel pointer. The movement has a small balance wheel and spring of two turns. London, c.1690.