A unique example of a double virgule, circa 1790, with interesting provenance.
Gilt metal case with glazed front and display back (original). Fullplate going-barrel movement, the balance-bridge with large red endstone. The verge-type escape wheel with extended pins operating on twin virgule-type steel impulse pallets mounted on the staff. Brass balance, spiral balance-spring. Lovely two-colour eccentrically mounted enamel dial signed at the top REYNAUD INVENIT ET FECIT, gilt-metal hands. Please note that the hour hand remains at the twelve-o-clock position when running and only shows the correct hour when the pendant is depressed, a one-handed version of the better known bras en l'air (arms in the air) dial display. 47.5 mm diameter.
Tardy records three watchmakers named Reynaud working in Paris at around this date.
This watch first came to notice when sold at auction in 1974. It was bought by or for Seth Atwood (1917-2101) and remained at the Time Museum until being sold at Sothebys New York in 1986. It was purchased at the price of £3750 for Erivan Haub (1932-2018), the German watch collector and owner of the grocery/supermarket chain Tengelmann. His collection has been dispersed and this watch was sold at Sothebys in Geneva in 2020.
NB: Having been aware of this watches existence since 1974, and expecting to have to illustrate the escapement for a Time Museum catalogue at one time (this did not happen), I have always been looking out for escapements of the same form. Up till now I have never seen another example and it is likely that this is in fact a unique survival. Given its quirky dial display as well, this is even more likely.
An old repair to one escape tooth and probably replaced hands (they were on the watch in 1974), otherwise in fine original condition, especially the dial which, despite one or two minor scratches, has not suffered the usual unsightly chips and cracks around the winding hole. Recently fully serviced and guaranteed, a truly rare chance to fulfil an escapement collector's dream.
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