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Pair-case, Quarter-repeating Watch

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Pair-case, Quarter-repeating Watch

Artist: George Graham (London, England; active 1688 - 1750)

Date: 1720-1745
Medium: Gold, enamel
Dimensions:
69.9 x 50.8 x 30.5 mm
Markings: Movement: : "G. Graham, London, 499" Dust cap: "Geo. Graham, London" Inner case: cm incuse "WS", London HM 1720, "499" Bell: graffito "499"
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Frederick T. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 245
Label Text
Like most watches from the mid-eighteenth century, the outer case on this watch is decorated with repoussé chasing while the inner case features a simple engraved design. On the outer case the central scene, framed by pierced scrollwork, probably represents a scene from the Aeneid.

Text Entries

Like most watches from the mid-eighteenth century, the outer case on this watch is decorated using repousse chasing while the inner case features a much simpler engraved design. The central scene on the outer case depicts a woman on a throng and two standing figures, a female and a bearded man. A plumed helmet has been placed at the feet of the seated woman. This vignette, like others on watches of this time, probably represents a scene from the Aeneid. Characteristics of watches from this period, a pierced scrollwork border frames the scene. The band on the inner case is pierced and engraved with leafy scrolls, strapwork, birds, and a mask. The screw hole has been engraved with a rosette.

George Graham, the clock- and watchmaker, was a star pupil of Thomas Tompion (see PC. 217), with whom he started working in 1695. In 1725 he developed the cylinder escapement, which he used in almost all of his watches. An enameled dial with beetle and ornate poker hands (the beetle hand shaped like a wing and the poker minute hand like a pointer) is also characteristic of his work. Graham, known as “honest George Graham,” was considered an eminent horologist not only in England but throughout Europe as well. He managed Tompion’s business and succeeded him when his mentor died in 1713. When Graham died in 1751, his executors continued the business for a short time.