William Ilbery succeeded his father John in the family business and became the leading partner of the firm, where he worked along with his brother James. William was active from 1780 until his retirement in the mid-1840s. While James travelled extensively to Canton as a representative of the firm, William ran the business predominantly from London. He is best known for the production of luxury watches for the Chinese Market and arguably set the new fashion for all watches made for the Asian Market. While William's father John usually made watches with a verge escapement, William favoured pieces of Swiss manufacture with the traditional duplex escapement, as seen in the present lot.
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