A fine pocket chronometer in its original box, with most interesting provenance.
Slim engine-turned gold hunter case, the cover with crest and motto: FESTINA LENTE (make haste slowly) and the dome with presentation inscription dated May 1853, the case hallmarked London 1852, casemaker AS (Alfred Stram, London). Half plate keyless movement with hard brass setting at the fusee and cap jewels on balance (diamond), and escape. Spring-detent escapement with original black-polished detent. Compensation balance with 7-turn blued-steel helical balance-spring. Signed enamel dial, blued-steel hands. 50 mm diameter. Together with the original makers 2-piece leather covered box.
The firm of E J Dent, London, one of the leading watch, chronometer and clock makers of the period - see the book on Edward John Dent and the various Dent firms by Vaudrey Mercer.
Reverend William Lake Onslow, MA (1820-1877), FRAS. Educated at Emanuel College Cambridge, he was appointed naval instructor and chaplain aboard HMS Hastings, in 1846, and later as special naval instructor to HRH Prince Alfred who had a position of midshipman on board HMS Euryalus. Onslow saw service in South America, India, China, in the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Crimea. On retiring from the Navy he became Rector at Sandringham-cum-Babingley and was appointed private chaplain in ordinary to HRH the Prince of Wales, a position he held until his death.
NB: A wonderful photographic portrait of Onslow exists in which he is almost certainly shown wearing this watch. Dated 1860, it belongs in the Royal Collection Trust and can be viewed online. Go to: https://www.rct.uk/collection/2906835
The watch and its escapement still in lovely condition but with the usual hair crack into the sunk seconds bit of the dial and numerous light scratches around the winding hole on the dome indicating a deterioration of eyesight in old age. The well travelled and honourably scarred leather covered box also showing that Onslow was a smoker. Serviced, guaranteed and a rare chance to own a unique and most wearable (slim and not too large) pocket chronometer.
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