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    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 56

    Dent. A very fine, large and rare silver openface two train quarter repeating grande and petite sonnerie keywound and keyless lever clock watch


    Price Realised  


    Dent. A very fine, large and rare silver openface two train quarter repeating grande and petite sonnerie keywound and keyless lever clock watch
    Signed Dent, No. 31052, Maker to the Queen, 33, Cockspur Street, London, case stamped EN for Emil Nielsen and London date letter for 1892
    With three quarter plate two train gilt-finished lever movement wound by turning the crown to either side or with a key, bimetallic compensation balance, finely engraved balance clock, micrometer regulator, quarter repeating and en passant striking on two polished steel hammers onto two gongs, hinged silver cuvette with gold hinges, the white enamel dial with Roman numerals, gilt spade hands, subsidiary seconds, in large circular plain case with "silence/strike" and "hours/quarters" levers underneath the cuvette, the back with gold hinges and lip, repeating activated by depressing the crown, case and cuvette numbered and stamped EN for Emil Nielsen, dial signed, movement signed and numbered
    71 mm. diam.

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    Listed in Edward John Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer, p. 704, confirming that the ébauche of the present watch was supplied by Nielsen in 1893.

    The firm E. Dent & Co. was originally founded by the English watchmaker Edward John Dent (1790 - 1853), renowned for his high quality pocket and marine chronometers, regulators as well as large clocks he made for the Royal Exchange and Westminster (Big Ben). He worked in the workshops of Vulliamy and Paul Philippe Barraud. In 1830 he went into partnership with the famous John Roger Arnold. When the partnership of "Arnold & Dent" expired in 1840, he established himself at 82 Strand (later moving to 61) and also took workshops at 33 Cockspur Street and inside the Royal Exchange.

    After Edward John's death, the businesses were taken over by his stepsons Frederick and Richard, followed by their successors. The company's name was consequently changed to E. Dent & Co.

    Nicole Nielsen
    The ébauche and the case of the present watch were supplied by Nicole, Nielsen & Co., who towards the end of the Victorian era and for the first 30 years of the 20th Century crafted some of the finest and most complicated English watches ever made.

    In 1839, Adolphe Nicole and Jules Capt, both talented Swiss watchmakers, set up business in London at 80B Dean Street. Nicole & Capt were highly successful and won medals in many international exhibitions. In 1876 Jules Capt died and in the same year his place as partner was filled by the Danish-born watchmaker Sophus Emil Nielsen and the company became Nicole, Nielsen & Co. By 1880, the firm was being run by Nielsen. They specialized in the manufacture of super-complicated keyless watches incorporating features such as perpetual calendar, chronograph, split seconds chronograph, repeating, grande and petite sonnerie, temperature, equation of time as well as their most famous escapement, the Nicole Nielsen tourbillon.

    Many of their best watches were made for the leading English retailers, notably Dent & Co.