Description

    French Royal Exchange Extremely Rare, Highly Important & Possibly Unique Eight Day Running Silver Fusee Pocket Chronometer, circa 1826
    Case: sterling hallmarked consular case, four body, plain hinged back with lift spring releasing from a button in the pendant, 60 mm, offset gold hinges, fixed inner dust dome, reeded rim
    Dial: white enamel, black Roman numerals, outermost minute dots and lines, subsidiary seconds with blued steel hand, solid gold Breguet moon hour and minute hands
    Movement: No. 5184, bright gilt full plate, finely engraved and chased main plate and balance cock, free sprung bi-metallic compensated balance with gold mean time screws, diamond end stone, helical hairspring, spring detent chronometer escapement, extra large fusee gearing with and additional wheel which drives the center wheel, jeweled train with rubies in screw down settings, pillars with blued steel screws, running a full eight days on a single wind
    Signed: case with I D makers mark, dial and movement signed French Royal Exchange London 5184

    Note: This rare and impressive timepiece is superbly executed and truly a horological masterpiece. Large ships marine chronometers, with two and eight day running mechanisms, were the standard in the early 19th century. However, portable pocket size examples were a completely different challenge to create due to the smaller size. All pocket chronometers are rare and the present example with eight day running capability can be considered one-of-a-kind. An entry in the "Anteneum or Spirit of the English Magazines" dated 1826 reads in part:

    "The Royal Observatory held timing trials at the directive of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in 1825. It appears that forty-eight timepieces were admitted. By official documents, issued from the Royal Observatory, two prizes were awarded to Mr. J.M. French, Royal Exchange. His eight day chronometers far exceeded in accuracy anything on record; the variation of the first prize having been only six tenths of a second in the twelve months on its mean daily rate; three tenths during the last nine months; and under one tenth of a second during the last four months of the trial. Chronometer No. 975, entitled to the second prize, varied less than a second during twelve months".

    "An expert navigator could have sailed to China and back again with the one, and not have been out of his longitude more than half a mile. With the other, a voyage might have been performed round the world and the greatest error need not have exceeded fifty or sixty perches" (approximately 200 to 300 paces).


    Condition Report*:

    Type: French Royal Exchange Extremely Rare, Highly Important & Possibly Unique Eight Day Running Silver Fusee Pocket Chronometer, circa 1826
    Dial: enamel, Roman numerals, subsidiary seconds
    Hands; gold Breguet moon hands
    Metal: English hallmarked sterling silver
    Case Info: large four body, hinged back with lift spring
    Case Width: 60 mm
    Crystal: glass
    Watch Movement: No. 5184, bright gilt full plate, finely engraved and chased main plate and balance cock, freesprung bi-metallic compensated balance with gold mean time screws, diamond end stone, helical hairspring, spring detent chronometer escapement, extra large fusee gearing with and additional wheel which drives the center wheel, jeweled train with rubies in screw down settings, pillars with blued steel screws, running a full eight days on a single wind
    Circa: 1826
    Condition: movement is in exceptional condition, running and keeping very good time for a full eignt days on a single wind, case is extremely fine and good with rich patina, dial is superb


    *Heritage Auctions strongly encourages in-person inspection of items by the bidder. Statements by Heritage regarding the condition of objects are for guidance only and should not be relied upon as statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty, or assumption of liability by Heritage. All lots offered are sold "AS IS".

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Miscellaneous Collectibles, Small (view shipping information)

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2017
    6th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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