Thomas Mudge, London
- A HIGHLY IMPORTANT RUBY CYLINDER WATCH, AND POSSIBLY THE EARLIEST PERPETUAL CALENDAR WATCH, NOW IN LATER SILVER CASE
CIRCA 1762, NO. 525
- silver, gilt metal
cap • movement and dust cap signed Tho. Mudge, London, movement numbered 525
• Dial: white enamel, Roman numerals, outer Arabic minute ring, gold beetle and poker hands, aperture for moon-phases with female reset square, aperture to left for months including auxiliary aperture for February with leap year indication, aperture to right for days of the week, outer silver date ring with indicator above 12 o’clock
• Case: later plain silver case
David Landes, Revolution in Time, Viking, 2000, p. 474
George Daniels, Thomas Mudge, The Complete Horologist, Antiquarian Horology Vol. 13, No. 2, December 1981, p. 160 & p. 164, pl, 8A & 8B
R. Good, Watch by Thomas Mudge, London, No. 574 with perpetual calendar mechanism, Antiquarian Horology Vol. 13, No. 2, December 1981, p. 181
Charles Allix, Mudge Milestones, Watch Dates, Antiquarian Horology Vol.12, No. 6, June 1981, p. 629
Both Mudge perpetual calendar watches, nos. 525 & 574 are mechanically and visually similar. Cleary much consideration was given to the design of the dial in order to ensure that it was practical and easy to read. The date is indicated by a gold marker above the 12 o’clock position which reads against a rotating date disc – this ring is geared to take into account the correct number of days in the month. There is a large moon-phase aperture and two larger sector apertures to the left and right. The left aperture displays months of the year, each with the number of days engraved beneath. February has its own auxiliary dial indicating the month’s length and leap year. The right hand aperture shows the days of the week. A detailed description of the perpetual calendar mechanism of no. 574 can be found in R. Good’s article, Watch by Thomas Mudge, London, No. 574 with perpetual calendar mechanism, Antiquarian Horology, December 1981, pp. 181-182. It is also notable that both Mudges, nos. 525 & 574 have a ruby cylinder, as he was one of the first watchmakers to incorporate this important feature.
Thomas Mudge (1715-1794) was born in Exeter and was later sent to London where, on 4th May, 1730, he was apprenticed to George Graham. Mudge was Free of the Clockmakers’ Company from 1738, following which he set up his own business close to Graham on Fleet Street. In 1750, William Dutton who had also been apprenticed to Graham and was Freed in 1746, joined Mudge’s business. Initially their clocks continued to be signed as ‘Thomas Mudge,’ but by the 1760s this was changed to Mudge & Dutton. Thomas Mudge’s 1757 invention of the lever escapement has solidified his reputation as one of England’s most important makers. More than 250
years later, the application of the lever escapement still dominates the production of mechanical watches around the world. In addition to his innovations in precision time keeping, Mudge also made what may be the first watch with equation of time, the first with perpetual calendar and the first with remontoir in the gear train. (See: Landes, Revolution in Time, p.234). In 1771, Mudge moved to Plymouth where he continued
to work on perfecting his marine chronometers.