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George Smith
A RARE JACOBEAN GILT-METAL TAMBOUR CASED ALARM VERGE WATCH CIRCA 1610-15 
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 18,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
1
George Smith
A RARE JACOBEAN GILT-METAL TAMBOUR CASED ALARM VERGE WATCH CIRCA 1610-15 
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 18,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion

|
London

George Smith
A RARE JACOBEAN GILT-METAL TAMBOUR CASED ALARM VERGE WATCH CIRCA 1610-15 
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
length including pendant 76 mm, width 55 mm
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Provenance

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

Literature

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

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. 

Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion

|
London