101
101
Thomas Prest, London
AN EXCEPTIONAL AND VERY RARE GOLD OPEN-FACED SPLIT SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH WATCH WITH APERTURES FOR HOURS AND MINUTES, WITH GOLD AND LAPIS LAZULI CHAIN AND KEY 1840, NO. 527
Estimate
8,50013,000
LOT SOLD. 8,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
101
Thomas Prest, London
AN EXCEPTIONAL AND VERY RARE GOLD OPEN-FACED SPLIT SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH WATCH WITH APERTURES FOR HOURS AND MINUTES, WITH GOLD AND LAPIS LAZULI CHAIN AND KEY 1840, NO. 527
Estimate
8,50013,000
LOT SOLD. 8,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

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London

Thomas Prest, London
AN EXCEPTIONAL AND VERY RARE GOLD OPEN-FACED SPLIT SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH WATCH WITH APERTURES FOR HOURS AND MINUTES, WITH GOLD AND LAPIS LAZULI CHAIN AND KEY 1840, NO. 527
• Movement: gilded full plate key-wound movement, bi-metallic compensation balance, diamond endstone, chronograph mechansim visible to under-dial with recessed barrel pivoted around fourth wheel seconds pivot, spiral spring surmounted by seconds hand • signed and numbered Tho. Prest London, No. 527
• Dial: gilt dial with engraved scroll and foliage decoration, two fan-shaped apertures for the wandering Arabic minutes and Roman hours, large subsidiary seconds dial with two blued steel splitting hands
• Case: engine turned outer, pusher through the crown to split the seconds hands, movement stop slide beneath bezel, hallmarked London 1840, plain polished gold cuvette, case back and cuvette with casemaker's mark HH incuse (possibly Henry Hardy)
Chain: short gold chain, the links separated by lapis lazuli roundels terminating in a key in the form of a T-bar

diameter 51.5mm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

L. E. Christmas, A.M.I. Mech. E., A.F.R.Ac.S., 1963
Sotheby's London, 1 October 1997, lot 27
Christie's Geneva, 12 November 2007, lot 205

Exhibited

Antiquarian Horological Society's 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Science Museum, London, 1964

Literature

Paul Tuck, Horology under the Hammer, Antiquarian Horology, No.5, Vol. 24, Spring 1999, p.447
L.E. Christmas, A Watch by Thomas Prest, Antiquarian Horology, No.2, Vol.4, March 1963, p.47

Catalogue Note

Thomas Prest was apprenticed to John Roger Arnold in January 1784, he became the latter's foreman before leaving to conduct business by himself sometime around 1820. Prest is best known for a patent he was granted (no.4501, 20 October 1820) for an early form of keyless winding system. In an article for Antiquarian Horology where the present watch is discussed (No.5, Vol. 24, Spring 1999, p.447), Paul Tuck notes that: "A lesser known fact is that he [Prest] was one of the first to devise a form of split seconds chronograph mechanism. Only a handful of these are known, this [no.527] being the finest example." 

A most unusual watch which clearly demonstrates Prest's skill and creativity, its refinement has led to the suggestion that Prest may have worked for Breguet early in his career (see op. cit. p.447). Depressing the pusher in the pendant splits the seconds hands within the large subsidiary dial, this stops one of the seconds hands whilst the other continues to run; when the pusher is released, the second hand that is static flies back to join the running hand. A difference of 25 seconds may be measured before an arm on which one end of the spring to which the seconds hand is attached engages a pin to the underside of the plate to prevent the spring from being overwound.

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

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London