Lot 3
  • 3

David Ramsay

50,000 - 60,000 GBP
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  • Gilt metal
  • diameter 43 mm
• full plate movement, verge escapement, pierced and engraved pinned-on balance cock, plain steel balance, blued steel stop work for alarm and striking mechanisms and silver locking plate visible to the backplate, wheel and click set up, striking on a bell • gilt dial engraved with flowers and foliage, putto holding blooms at 12, baskets of fruit and flowers at 3 and 9, at 7 and 5 a pair of squirrels and two strawberries by the movement catch, silvered chapter ring, Roman numerals, rotating central disc with blued steel bug for time indication, the alarm indicated by a central blued steel hand to the inner Arabic chapter ring • gilt-metal pierced and engraved case consisting of stems and flowers and a continuous scroll terminating with a head, front cover reduced to a bezel, pierced silver band of flowers and scrolls with dolphins' heads, fixed pendant • movement signed David Ramsay me Fecit


The Collection of Evan Roberts

Christie’s, Robert Atkinson Collection, 27th October 1953, lot 35


The Evan Roberts Collection of Antique Watches, Chicago 1897

F.W. Britten, Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, Sixth edition, 1932,  pp.270-272, figs.427-8

Cedric Jagger, Royal Clocks, Robert Hale,1983, pp. 241-2

Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, pp. 30-31, pl. 7


Movement is complete and in running condition with expected scuffs and wear on back plate. minor Scuffing to alarm dial plate. Case back is slightly rubbed although in otherwise excellent condition, alarm and going train are running, striking train does not appear to be working at this time.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.

Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

Catalogue Note

For a detailed description of the present watch, including illustrations, see Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers, Sixth edition, 1932, pp. 270-271.

This is a famous and well documented watch that was formerly in the Evan Roberts collection and was claimed by Roberts to have belonged to King James I. Although Ramsay was chief clockmaker to James I, there is no proof that this watch belonged to him and, unfortunately, Roberts offered no evidence for his assertion. The piercing and engraving to the case back is very open and the bell can clearly be seen. Within this decorative work, the scroll terminates in a head which is most likely that of a dolphin, an attribute of Fortune in Renaissance allegory. The early use of silver for the band emphasizes the quality and cost of the watch and, similarly, the dial’s silver chapter ring. As often found on watches of this date, the front cover has been reduced to a bezel that is now glazed. To the dial’s centre, the time is indicated, not by the blued steel hand, but by a small blued steel ‘bug’ or pointer at the edge of the central gilt disc. The blued steel hand indicates the alarm time with Arabic numerals to the inner gilt ring. 

The present watch has been illustrated and described in several significant horological publications which are detailed above.

For a note on this important maker, please refer to lot 4.