• IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1369


    16 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 352

    Henricus Jones. A fine and early silver openface verge watch with protective outer case


    Price Realised  


    Henricus Jones. A fine and early silver openface verge watch with protective outer case
    Signed Hen. Jones, Londini, circa 1680
    Gilt-finished verge movement, chain fusée, pierced and faceted tulip pillars, pierced and engraved balance cock and foot, secured by a pin in the top plate, three-armed steel balance and early hairspring, chased silver dial, raised blackened Roman numerals, lozenge-shaped half hour divisions, inner quarter hour ring, scroll and floral decorated centre, decorative blued steel single hour hand, plain inner case, revolving dust cover for the winding hole, hinged split bezel, silver pinwork tulip and foliage decorated leather-covered metal outer case, inner case stamped with casemaker's initials SB surmounted by a crown, movement signed
    51.5 mm. overall diam.

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    Henry Jones or Henricus Jones, Londini (b. circa 1642, d. 1695) was one of the most eminent English watch and clockmakers of the period. Having begun his apprenticeship in August 1654 he was passed over to the celebrated Edward East and eventually given freedom in July 1663. Between 1664 and 1693 he employed fourteen apprentices including his two sons William and Henry. The number of apprentices taken by a Master can be read as an indication for the workshop's prosperity. The average might have been around five, whilst makers such as Daniel Quare had fifteen and Thomas Tompion no fewer than twenty-three.

    The present lot is an early example of a watch fitted with a balance spring, introduced around 1675 and marking a turning point in the history of horology, the use of these springs significantly increasing the accuracy of time measurement. It is a typical example of a so-called "Puritan" watch referring to the simplicity of its appearance and supposedly in character with the Puritan austerity. The silver dial is easy to read and the double-ended hour hand allows it to be moved with the fingers easily and without damages.

    The watch is furthermore preserved in very good overall condition, still retaining the original fitted outer case meant as an extra protection against damage and dust. These cases were often lost over the centuries.

    For another example of a silver pair case watch with balance spring signed Henricus Jones, London, circa 1675-80, see Watches by Cecil Clutton & George Daniels, first edition, pl. 193-5.