Lot 11
  • 11

John Carte, London

5,000 - 8,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • John Carte, London
  • Silver
  • diameter 46.5mm
Movement: gilded full plate, verge escapement, decoratively pierced balance cock engraved with foliage and animal-head streamers at the neck, fusee and chain, Egyptian pillars, signed John Carte, London
Dial: silver champlevé, black Roman numerals with half hour divisions between, outer ring calibrated with five minute divisions, further outer ring with quarter hour divisions composed of alternating crosses, lines and dots, central cartouches signed Carte, London and surrounded by scrolling foliage, single elongated tulip hand
Case: plain silver, stirrup-form pendant, back with winding aperture, case maker's mark RB in cameo probably for Richard Blundell, lacking outer case


Howard Marryat, London


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, 2009, p. 142, pl. 72
Howard Marryat, Watches, Henlein to Tompion, 1938, p. 63, pl. G6
Anthony Turner, John Carte on Horology and Cosmology, plate E, page 15


Movement running at tie of cataloguing, scuffs and scratches to backplate. Dial in refreshed condition with light scuffs and some re-filling of black pitch. Case with light scuffs, slight depression to the band, repair beneath the pendant where there are also some old splits, pendant
"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

The greater accuracy of the watch at the end of the 17th century, as a result of the widespread introduction of the balance spring, saw the increasing use of the minute hand. It is likely that, for some, the introduction of a secondary hand to the dial of a watch was an unwelcome cluttering, or indeed confusing addition to the dial of a watch and it is perhaps partly for this reason that examples of the traditional single handed watch continued to be made. However, there is no doubt that there was also a prevailing fashion to present time in a variety of ways during this period. The single hand indicates time to the outer ring of this watch which is calibrated for each five minute period within the hour. To the edge of the dial are symbols which act as useful reminders for the positions of the quarter hours. 

John Carte was apprenticed to the Coventry maker, Samuel Watson, with whom he moved to London in 1691. In the early 1690s Carte was living at the Dial & Crown near Essex street and in 1698 had moved to Lombard Street where he was said to have been visited by Peter the Great of Russia, to whom he allegedly sold a world time clock. The Bodleian library in Oxford holds a manuscript written by Carte, dated to circa 1713, in which the author outlines his theories for determining longitude. This manuscript is the subject of a book by Anthony Turner: “John Carte on Horology and Cosmology,” published by the AHS and Rogers Turner Books, 2014.