Lot 2
  • 2

Edward East

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
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  • Edward East
  • diameter of outer case 95mm, inner case 85mm
Movement: gilded full plate, verge escapement, decoratively pierced and floral engraved pinned-on balance cock, silver locking plate for striking and blued steel stop-work visible to the backplate, worm and wheel set-up, Egyptian pillars, fusee and gut line, barrels for going, alarm and striking trains, signed Edwardus East
Dial: silver, inner revolving disc engraved with tightly ordered flowers, Arabic numerals for alarm time indicated by central blued steel hand, a fixed blued steel bug indicating time against the Roman numerals to outer chapter ring with quarter hour divisions beneath, outermost edge with decoratively engraved border
Cases: silver inner case, the band decoratively pierced and engraved with flowers and foliage and stylised leaves to the bezel, winding apertures to back for going, alarm, hour striking trains • leather outer case, the bezels with pierced roundels for sound emission surrounded by pin work borders, the centre of the case back with stylised floral pin work motif


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, 2009, pp. 80-81, pl. 36


Plugged holes to the back plate show alteration to the movement and scraping closer to the count wheel. Beneath the balance cock are the engravings of a regulation scale, suggesting that the watch had previously been modified and fitted with a hairspring and regulation arm - the watch has since been returned to use without a balance spring. Balance cock is a possible replacement and there are signs of other restoration to the under-dial work. Dial in attractive refreshed condition, there are some indentations and slight rippling between 1 and 3 o'clock. Inner case generally in good condition with light rubbing to decoration. Outer case with triangular shaped repair to the leather, pin work in good overall condition with just a couple of minor losses and a few replacement pins.
"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

A similar clock watch with alarm by Edward East can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Both the V & A watch and the watch presently offered for sale have engraved dial centres with a profusion of tightly ordered flowers. It has been noted by the V & A that the flowers are “in the style of the prints published for the use of engravers and enamellers by Jacques Vauquer (1621-1686) in Paris and Blois (Loir-et-Cher) in France and Johann Paul Hauer (born 1629) in Germany” [See:  V&A catalogue no. M.64:1, 2-1952]. The central dial hand indicates the alarm time to the inner revolving ring, whilst the ‘bug’ or pointer displays the time to the outer chapter ring; when the alarm hand is not in use, it can be aligned with the ‘bug’ to form one long hand. Both the inner and outer cases have pierced decoration to allow for sound emission. For a further clock watch with alarm by East, see: The Edward Hornby Collection of Rare and Important Watches, Sotheby’s London, 1st December 1978, lot 31.

Without question one of the most important of early English watchmakers, Edward East was born in Southill, Bedfordshire in 1602. At the time there was no Clockmakers’ Company and so, in 1618, the young East was apprenticed to Richard Roger of the Goldsmiths’ Company, becoming a Freeman in 1627. In 1631 the Clockmakers’ Company was formed by Royal Charter and Edward East became one of the Company’s first assistants a year later, in 1632. East was made Warden of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1638 and Master in both 1645 and 1653. In 1660 he was appointed chief clockmaker to King Charles II. In October 1692, East gave £100 to the Clockmakers’ Company with the interest to be used to support poor members. See Loomes, The Early Clockmakers of Great Britain, 1981, p. 206. Edward East lived through almost the entire 17th century and died in 1697, leaving an extraordinary legacy of exceptional watches and clocks.

Interestingly, a clock watch (without alarm) by Edward East can be found in the Royal Collections and is said, by tradition, to have been bequeathed by King Charles I on the day of his execution (30th January 1649) to Sir Thomas Herbert. Herbert had been a companion of the King in the months before his death and that watch later passed through the Herbert and Mitford families before entering the Royal Collections as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II in 1971.