This magnificent fan watch is signed by William Hughes who specialized in pieces for the Far East market. A large musical and automata coach watch by William Hughes was formerly in the Webster collection and sold at Sotheby’s on 27th May 1954, lot 69. The 1954 catalogue cited two bloodstone boxes and a table mirror which Simon Harcourt-Smith described in his Catalogue of the Palace Museum, Peiping, p. 21 and pls. 24a & b. William Hughes was recorded at the Dial near King Street, High Holborn until 1784 (see: Brian Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World
, Vol. 2 p. 118). Interestingly, F. J. Britten notes that Thomas Earnshaw succeeded Hughes at his address in 1784 and Hughes himself moved to Llanfflewin in Wales. Britten also cites a clock made by Hughes in circa 1765. Hughes was made an honorary Freeman of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1781.
Fans with watches are extremely rare, for two other examples see: Antiquorum Hong Kong, 4th June 1996, lot 406 signed by Upjohn and The Sandberg Watch Collection, Antiquorum Geneva, 31st March-1st April 2001, lot 179 attributed to James Cox.