• IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1369

    IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A CONNOISSEUR'S VISION

    16 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 135

    The Northern Goldsmiths Company. A very fine and rare 18K gold hunter case keyless watch with one minute tourbillon carriage by Sydney Better and Kew A Certificate

    SIGNED THE NORTHERN GOLDSMITHS COMPANY, NEWCASTLE, WATCHMAKERS TO THE LORDS OF THE ADMIRALTY, NO. 2049, STAMPED WITH LONDON DATE LETTER FOR 1917

    Price Realised  

    The Northern Goldsmiths Company. A very fine and rare 18K gold hunter case keyless watch with one minute tourbillon carriage by Sydney Better and Kew A Certificate
    Signed The Northern Goldsmiths Company, Newcastle, Watchmakers to the Lords of the Admiralty, No. 2049, stamped with London date letter for 1917
    Gilt-finished three quarter plate keyless lever movement, Better type 1 three-armed steel one minute tourbillon carriage, bimetallic compensation balance, glazed dust cover, off-white enamel dial, Arabic numerals, subsidiary seconds, plain heavy circular case, engraved initials RI to the hinged back, case stamped and numbered, dial signed, movement signed and numbered and engraved "This watch was made in Newcastle-upon-Tyne by the Northern Goldsmiths Company"
    55 mm. diam.


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    With copies from the Kew Observatory Registers confirming that watch no. 2049 was submitted to the November/December 1918 trial and was awarded a Kew "A" rating certificate with mention "especially good".
    According to Reinhard Meis Das Tourbillon, pp. 48, 58 & 59, the Northern Goldsmiths Company manufactured eight tourbillon watches, all with carriages supplied by the talented Sydney Better and sold between 1917 and 1922 when Better was at the peak of his career. Following the detailed listing of these watches, op.cit., p. 351, the present watch, numbered 2049, is the first example of the series. The watches were all submitted to Kew Observatory trials. Research has however resulted in the discovery of four other examples of such tourbillon watches to appear in public to date, including no. 2097 dated 1918, formerly in the Esmond Bradley Martin collection, which had received an "Especially good" Class A certificate with 92.2 points in 1922, holding the record for any English watch tested at the Kew Observatory in Teddington.

    Better made two different types of tourbillon, called "Better 1" with three-arm carriage and double-armed bridge, such as the present watch, and "Better 2" with straight carriage arms and eccentric balance (op.cit. pp. 226 & 227).

    For a detailed illustration and description of the nearly identical watch no. 2051 see op.cit. p. 225. Watch no. 2096 is illustrated and described in Watches by Cecil Clutton & George Daniels, first edition, pl. 613-14.

    The off-white enamel dial of the present watch is in the distinctive style of Frederick Willis, renowned for his high quality dials and cases which he supplied to the best English watchmakers for their most prestigious pieces.