PORTHOUSE & FRENCH 'Makers to the Admiralty' London. No 7731


£ 6,450.00

Good complete 2-day machine with a best quality 'fancy' box of the period, circa 1862.

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Beautiful 3-piece brass-strung rosewood box with mother-of-pearl plaques, possibly cased for showing at the London International Exhibition of 1862; contained within what is probably its original mahogany travel or 'guard' box. Fullplate fusee movement with cap jewels on balance (diamond) and escape, the brass bowl numbered as the dial. Earnshaw spring-detent escapement, the detent of standard footed form with gold passing-spring. Compensation balance with 9-turn blued-steel helical balance-spring. Silvered dial with state-of-wind indication at 12, gold hands. Box 18 cm square.

Mrs Thomas Porthouse (widow) in partnership with William French, watch and chronometer maker, working from 16 Northampton Square, Goswell Road, the heart of London's premier watch and chronometer making district. The firm is known to have exhibited "specimens of marine chronometers and watches for home and foreign markets" at the 1862 London exhibition, as part of Class XV 'Horological Instruments,' an account of which is reprinted as Appendix D in the book Thomas Cole & Victorian Clockmaking by J B Hawkins. See also the National Maritime Museum chronometer catalogue by J Betts, page 299.

A fine example of this short lived partnership and in one of the best rosewood boxes I have handled. Previously maintained at the US Branch Hydrographic Office, Savannah, Georgia in 1919, possibly having been requisitioned for American use during the 1st World War. The box has just been lightly polished and shows just a few age related marks, the brass furniture, key, bowl and gimbals retaining much of their lacquer. Dial in good condition, with some minor loss of black. The detent also in fine condition, showing no bends or damage to the spring section. Presently being properly serviced (it was photographed prior to cleaning, please note) and accompanied by my usual guarantee.