46
46
John Arnold, London
A FINE POCKET CHONOMETER OF "THE BEST KIND" NOW WITH SPRING DETENT ESCAPEMENT AND 'Z' BALANCE AND IN SILVER CONSULAR CASE MOVEMENT CIRCA 1778-1799, CASE 1799, NO. 45
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 18,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
46
John Arnold, London
A FINE POCKET CHONOMETER OF "THE BEST KIND" NOW WITH SPRING DETENT ESCAPEMENT AND 'Z' BALANCE AND IN SILVER CONSULAR CASE MOVEMENT CIRCA 1778-1799, CASE 1799, NO. 45
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 18,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Celebration of the English Watch Part IV, George Daniels 20th Century Innovator

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London

John Arnold, London
A FINE POCKET CHONOMETER OF "THE BEST KIND" NOW WITH SPRING DETENT ESCAPEMENT AND 'Z' BALANCE AND IN SILVER CONSULAR CASE MOVEMENT CIRCA 1778-1799, CASE 1799, NO. 45
Movement: gilded full plate, spring detent escapement, decoratively pierced and engraved balance cock, diamond endstone, 'Z' balance, gold helical spring, signed John Arnold, Invt. et Fecit, No. 45
Dial: white enamel, Roman numerals, outer Arabic minute ring, subsidiary seconds, blued steel hands, signed and numbered Arnold, 45
Case: plain silver consular case, the back opening to reveal fixed cover with winding aperture, inner and outer backs both hallmarked London, 1799 and with maker's mark DW incuse for Daniel Walker
diameter 59mm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Sir John Prestige to Percy Webster, circa 1945
Percy Webster to 5th Baron Harris, Belmont Park, 1945
5th Baron Harris to Camerer Cuss, 1971
Private Collector to Bobinet Ltd and circa 1993 to private collector

Literature

Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, 2009, p. 273, pl. 167
Vaudrey Mercer, John Arnold & Son, 1972, p. 210
Hans Staeger, 100 Years of Precision Timekeepers from John Arnold to Arnold & Frodsham, 1763-1862, 1997, pp. 67-68
Antiquarian Horology, No. 4, Vol. 7, Sept. 1971, p. 275 (Camerer Cuss advertisement)
Antiquarian Horology, No.6, Vol. 20, Summer 1993, p. 491 (Bobinet advertisement)

Catalogue Note

John Arnold used the pivoted detent escapement up to 1782 and the spring detent thereafter. No. 45 is among the first 20 pocket chronometers by Arnold to survive. He and his son were in the habit of updating their early works and, indeed, only one with a lower number - no. 1/36 now in the National Maritime Museum - survives unrestored and in its original condition. The dial, style of signature and hands are characteristic of the period around 1800. It would seem likely that when, probably John Roger Arnold (Arnold senior died in 1799) replaced the dial and case, he changed the pivoted detent escapement and what was almost certainly a 'double T' balance for a spring detent and a 'Z' balance - indeed, Arnold no. 43 which may be found in the Patek Philippe Museum [inventory S-706], has a 'double T' balance. Subsequent to the publication of Vaudrey Mercer's book in 1972, the present watch has often been confused with Arnold's marine timekeeper, also numbered 45, the latter having served on board HMS Providence. 

Born in Cornwall, John Arnold (1736-1799) is one of England’s most famous and important watchmakers. Initially apprenticed to his father, a Clockmaker from Bodmin, John Arnold almost certainly worked for a time as a gunsmith with his Uncle, William (see Vaudrey Mercer, John Arnold & Son, p.4). In the mid 1750s, John Arnold travelled to Holland where he continued work as a watchmaker’s assistant and it is here that he learnt German which doubtless proved a great asset in his later connections with King George III'’s court. In 1762 he moved to London and shortly thereafter presented a repeating watch mounted on a ring to King George III. The watch created a sensation and was widely reported upon with details included in the "Annual Register" for 1764 and the "Gentleman’s Magazine" of the same year. It has been suggested by several researchers, including Cedric Jagger in his book Royal Clocks, that John Arnold was encouraged by King George III to "enter the 'longitude' arena" and make an accurate timekeeper for use at sea. Arnold’s first attempt at a marine timepiece was completed in 1768 and presented before the Board of Longitude in 1770. Arnold realised that a detached escapement would be highly desirable and this led him to invent his early detached escapement in c.1770, followed by his spring detent (which bears his name) in c.1782. To overcome isochronal variation, Arnold took out a patent for a helical spring in December 1775 and used this with his 'double T' and 'double S' balances. In 1787 he took his son, John Roger Arnold, into partnership, changing the business name to 'Arnold & Son', which was retained until his death. A detailed examination of the life and work of John Arnold is given in Vaudrey Mercer’s definitive work on the maker entitled John Arnold & Son, published by the Antiquarian Horological Society in 1972.

The Celebration of the English Watch Part IV, George Daniels 20th Century Innovator

|
London