The 8-day duration movement is intricately engraved to almost every surface and has a large and prominent hanging barrel and a duplex escapement. Although the design of the movement has continental overtones, the style of the gilding and quality of the engraving suggest that these were carried out in England. Significantly, there is no engraving beneath the English diamond settings for the six arm steel balance and duplex escape wheel: these settings were fitted before the engraving which then took them into account.
This watch is part of a small group of less than 10 similar watches by Anthony, which seem to have been made in pairs. R. A. Marryat is the acknowledged owner of this watch, as it appears in the 1965 edition of Watches by Clutton and Daniels. Interestingly, William Anthony no. 1932, which is sequentially the following number to the present watch was sold at Sotheby’s London, 16th April, 1956 – whilst no. 1932 is unillustrated in the 1956 Sotheby’s catalogue, the description of the watch suggests a close resemblance to the present watch. A matching pair of oval watches by Anthony were in the collection of King Farouk and sold as part of the Farouk sale at Sotheby’s in March 1954, lot 564. William Anthony’s numbers 1705 and 1706 appear to be a pair, both have hands which expand and contract within the long and short axis of their dials – no. 1705 was sold at Sotheby’s London, The Belin Collection, 29th November 1979, lot 100 and no. 1706 was sold at Sotheby’s New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, 2nd December 1999, lot 28. Nos. 1705 and 1706 appear to be all but identical with the exception that 1705 is set with a ruby to the centre of the back, whilst 1706 is instead set with a diamond. Three further oval watches by William Anthony were in the Sandberg collection and sold at Antiquorum in 2001. These included a matched pair which were numbered 1913 and 1914, and a further watch numbered 1935, which has similar design elements to the present watch (see Antiquorum Geneva, The Sandberg Watch Collection, 31st March-1st April 2001, lots 208 & 209).
William Anthony (1765-1844) is recorded as having worked at Red Lion Street and St. John’s Square in London. In 1815, he played an active part in the founding of the Watch and Clockmakers’ Benevolent Association. After this date, Anthony’s business appears to have deteriorated, in part due to his costly acquisition of Royal and other wardrobes from the time of Charles I which he then exhibited at Somerset Gallery, but which was poorly attended, and also due to unsuccessful litigation with Grimaldi & Johnson. At his death, he was found to have a substantial lease on the Doughty Estate which for some reason he had failed to collect rent from for the 20 preceding years – indeed, at the time of his death, the leases were almost expired, see: Britten, Old Clocks and Watches and their Markers, ACC edition, 1977, p. 422.
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