Lot 5
  • 5

William Houllgatte, Ipswich

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
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  • silver and gilt-metal
  • length including pendant 65 x 35 mm
• gilt full plate movement, verge escapement, pierced and engraved pinned-on balance cock, ratchet and click set-up, flat steel balance, round baluster pillars, fusee • highly engraved foliate gilt dial, Roman numerals with touch pins above, a bird and a salamander depicted to the centre, an angel's head above twelve and a wolf below six, blued steel hand • silver band to the case with scrolling acanthus stems and leaves terminating in dolphin heads, centred by exotic birds, plain gilt-metal covers, back with winding shutter • movement signed Houllgatte at Ipswich


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, p. 32, pl. 8


The movement is running at the time of cataloguing. Dial with light scuffs but overall in very good condition. The gilt cover with indentations to the left hand side to the edge and some discolouration by the hinge, the rear with slight dents. The engraving to the band is worn but still retains good definition.
"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

The dial engraving alludes to Heaven and Hell. To the upper half of the dial, the bird represents the soul rising after death, the angel above signifying heaven. A salamander was believed to be unharmed by fire and placed as it is to the dial above the wolf’s head, which represents hell, alludes to faith’s ability to resist temptation. The oval case has the slightly flattened appearance below the pendant and above the terminal and is relatively slender; these features are typical of the period of this watch, around 1615. The early and handsomely shaped blued steel hand is also particularly noteworthy.

William Houllgatte, from Ipswich in Suffolk, was married to Margery Bassett in 1617 and died before 1644. See, Loomes, The Early Clockmakers of Great Britain, p. 311. Another watch by this maker is in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and is illustrated in Hayward, English Watches, p.18, pl. 4. Since the Hayward book was written, in 1969, much research has been done and today the museum dates their watch to circa 1620. It is interesting to compare the Victoria and Albert Museum’s watch with the present piece: the style and technique of the decorative dials of both Houllgatte watches, whilst different in subject matter, may well be the work of the same engraver and both watch cases have similarly shaped cases and silver bands.