About this lot
circa 1700, the outer case of gilded copper, 57mm diameter, with pierced and engraved bezel, verso to match around a plain and polished centre, the cover activated by push button; the open-faced pocket watch with unsigned white dial, 43mm diameter, copper coloured arrow head hands, black Roman numerals and dot minute track with outer Arabic minute ring and fan-form aperture with female square for regulation at half past 10; front loading mechanical key wind fuseé movement with plunger activated repeating mechanism, gilded full plate, signed and numbered 'D. Quare, London, 255', round baluster pillars with three arm balance under a decoratively pierced and engraved masked and winged balance cock with two polished steel hammers repeating on a bell to the inside case back, all under a brass signed and numbered dustcover, pulse piece to the band between 6 and 7 o'clock; later case, 45mm diameter, silver gilt with London hallmarks for 1772, maker's mark not traced (M(?)B pellet between), sides pierced for sound emission and engraved with scrolls, a townscape beneath the pendant and a grotesque mask at 6 o'clock, verso with engraved floral decoration, inner with the bell secured by a single screw, presented with the winding key
Footnote: Most unusually for a repeating watch, the dial in this example has an aperture for regulation with corresponding setting square. Daniel Quare (c1648 - 1724) was born in Somerset. A highly esteemed watchmaker, Quare was admitted to the Clockmakers’ Company in 1671, later becoming Master in 1708. He became one of the most famous and eminent of the early English watchmakers. A contemporary of Thomas Tompion, his watches were not only well-made, but they also introduced innovative ideas which later became standard in watch design. He was one of the first, if not the first, to make intricate repeating [chiming] pocket watches, such as this example, and to make watches in which both the hour and minute hands operated in unison. He traded at King's Arms Exchange Alley, off Lombard St. London (1680) and Exchange Alley in Cornhill, London (1715). He came to the attention of King James II in 1686 when rival watchmaker, Rev. Edward Barlow (Booth), applied to patent a repeating mechanism for watches. Quare appealed the application stating he had been making repeaters since 1680. Repeating mechanisms were important in the days when candles were the only source of light as they enabled the owner to know the time in low lighting conditions or even in the dark. They were also of benefit to the visually impaired. The appeal was decided by having each watchmaker submit a quarter repeating watch for examination by the King and his council. Barlow's design was made for him by Thomas Tompion, but the King favoured Quare’s form, noting that Barlow’s design required two pushers, one for the hour strike and one for the quarters, whilst Quare’s single push-piece activated both the hours and quarters. Quare was granted the patent in 1687 and is said to have gone on to make a repeating watch for King William III. As a Quaker, Quare turned down the office of clockmaker to King George I as he objected to taking the oath of allegiance, however, as Cedric Jagger notes in his book Royal Clocks, Quare “was given free access to the palace via the Back Stairs.” Indeed, Quare was well-connected both at home and abroad, a fact borne out by the impressive wedding guest lists of his daughters Anne and Elizabeth, which boasted noble families and envoys from around Europe. In 1718 Quare went into partnership with his former apprentice Stephen Horseman, after which their work was signed ‘Quare & Horseman’. Quare died on 21 March 1724, aged 75, at his country house in Croydon. The Daily Post of Thursday, 26 March, reported: "Last week dy'd Mr. Daniel Quare, watchmaker, who was famous both here and at foreign courts for the great improvements he made in that art". He is buried at the Quakers’ cemetery at Bunhill Fields, Finsbury. This appears to be one of Quare's early examples of a repeater, with only four earlier numbers in the 'repeaters' series (which seem to have ranged between numbers 108 - 857) identified following lengthy research (108, 168, 237, 253) three of which have sold for five figure sums at auction. The fourth - number 108 - was on display in the Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois until its closure in 1999. Its present whereabouts is unknown. Later examples are on display in the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Science Museum, London, and in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Literature: Sotheby's - A celebration of the English watch, Part III -15 December 2016 catalogue, Lot 18 Frederick James Britten - Britten's Old Clocks & Watches and their makers, Methuen, 9th edition 1982, pages 84,329-330
Condition report: Crystal - Surface scratches as to be expected. A little grizzled to the edge. Complete but detached from the bezel. Outer Case - In reasonably good condition. Push button operates as it should and the hinge does not appear strained. All the piercing in good condition. A dent to the underside near the push button. Verso rather scratched and scuffed. Gilding overall in good condition with minor wear. Inside ungilded. Inner Case - Hinges work well and are unstrained. Gilding overall a little worn. Engraving and piercing in good condition. Crease to the base over the piercing and the grotesque and the piercing edge has come away from the top frame. Verso scuffed and with some surface scratching. Dial & Hands - Some minor scuffs and scratches, particularly towards the centre. Some very minor crazing and chipping around the aperture and square. Some minor staining towards the edge. Hands in good condition. Movement - Appears complete but not currently running. Balance moves freely when under tension, but stops when tension released. Repeating plunger is disengaged though the pulse peace activates one hammer satisfactorily.
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