Auction records for watches made by two of England’s most famous and important watchmakers were set by a silver pocket chronometer by John Arnold, which sold for £557,000 and a gold pocket chronometer by Thomas Earnshaw that fetched £305,000.
The collection, split into four parts, represents the fascinating history of British watchmaking in its entirety. Spanning 500 years, it challenges perceptions of the human pursuit of timekeeping set against, and deeply embedded in, a rich and tumultuous historical landscape. From David Ramsay, Edward East and Thomas Tompion to Charles Frodsham and George Daniels, it forces the observer to ask two questions - firstly ‘to what extent has history shaped British horology?’ and secondly ‘to what extent has British horology shaped history?’
This, the second part of the series, focuses primarily on some of the finest precision time keepers from the workshops of the most notable makers of the era. Perfectly encapsulating this is the pair cased pocket watch by John Barton, son-in-law to the famous John Harrison, and indeed featuring an enamel portrait of Harrison himself commemorating his recognition on solving the Longitude problem.