Lot 1
  • 1

George Smith

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
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  • gilt metal
  • length including pendant 76 mm, width 55 mm
Movement: gilded full plate with engraved border, verge escapement, decoratively pierced and engraved pinned-on balance cock and lyre-shaped foot, plain flat balance, ratchet and click set-up, blued steel stop work for alarm mechanism, striking on a bell to the inside case back, gut line fusee, pierced and engraved alarm barrel, round baluster pillars • signed George Smith
Dial: gilded border with engraved floral decoration, central gilded revolving dial with Arabic numerals similarly decorated having, on its outer edge in place of the 12 numeral, a fixed blued steel arrowhead pointer indicating time of day against a narrow applied silver Roman figured chapter ring, friction tight central double ended blued steel hand for setting the alarm against the Arabic numerals
• Case: gilt-metal, the sides pierced and engraved with foliage and fantastical animal heads, the front cover later cut-out to hold a glass, back cover centred with a seeded rose, fixed pendant with acanthus leaf engraving, turned terminal


Camerer Cuss & Co., London, 1984
Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, Inventory No. 3622
Sotheby's New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, Part II, 19th June 2002, lot 6


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, 2009, p. 29, pl. 6


Movement running and alarm sounding at time of cataloguing. The balance, blued steel stop work, blued steel ratchet for ratchet and click set-up have been replaced as part of the watch's restoration since the watch's sale at Sotheby's in 2002. There is blank hole to the backplate just above blued steel alarm stop work. At the 2002 auction the 'bug' for time indication was lacking and has since been replaced with the arrowhead pointer, the alarm hand has also been replaced. The case with wear to the gilding, especially to the case back. The front cover has been reduced and cut to accommodate a glass with bosses to hold the glass in place, there are traces of engraved decoration to the underside of the bezel. Some warping around the bezel, cover will close but there is gaping between the bezel and case, glass is very loose.
"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."

Catalogue Note

Ingeniously what may at first appear a single blued steel hand with arrow-form head, is in fact in two parts.  The ‘arrowhead’ indicates the hours upon the silver chapter ring (with Roman numerals) whilst the hand’s stem can be moved independently to set the alarm time against the Arabic numerals on the central, gilded, revolving dial. Advantageously, this system allows the stem and ‘arrowhead’ to be joined as one when the alarm is not being used, creating a simple and uncluttered design that clearly displays the time with one long hand. When this watch was part of the Time Museum collection and sold by Sotheby’s New York, in 2002, there was a hole in the alarm dial where the time of day arrow-head would have been.  Now it has a later simple blued steel central double-ended hour hand which extends to the edge of the revolving dial. Thus, although the present hand and arrow-head are recent, they are beautifully made in the manner of the period and the maker’s original design has been restored.

In an article written for Antiquarian Horology [Vol. 24, No. 5, Sept 2000, p. 519] David Thompson notes that George Smith had settled in London before 1622. A petition of London clockmakers from 1622 notes that George Smith was an alien working ‘with two apprentices next to New Exchange’. George Smith was a petitioner for the incorporation of a Clockmakers’ Company and became a member of the Worshipful Company in 1632, he died in 1638-1639 [see op. cit.].

A similar alarm watch by George Smith was in the Percy Webster Collection, sold Sotheby's London, 27th May, 1954, lot 33; another with a royal badge, circa 1600, is in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.