English Cylinder with Chinese Market Interest


Signed  Wm Hughes   -  London
Circa   1786
A late 18th Century English cylinder in gilt metal pair cases bearing a dedication from the maker.
Diameter   55 mm       Depth   14 mm

Out of stock


A late 18th Century English cylinder in gilt metal pair cases bearing a dedication from the maker.  Full plate fire gilt fusee movement with square baluster pillars.  High count train, the wheels with six spoke crossings.  Pierced and engraved cock with large diamond endstone, silver regulator disc.  Plain three arm steel balance, blue steel spiral hairspring.  Polished steel cylinder with banking pin set in the lower plug, large brass escape wheel, pivots with endstones.  White enamel dial with Roman and Arabic numerals, fine gold arrow hands.  Gilt metal pair cases.  The inner bearing an engraved dated dedication on the back from the maker in Latin; “Timotheo Williamlon – Dono Dedit – Gulielmus Hughes – MDCCLXXXVI – Sis licet felix, et memernestri,Vivas”.  Number corresponding to that on the movement.  Fitted in a plain gilt outer with a monogram on the back.

The dedication engraved on the inner case indicates the watch was given by one watchmaker to another.  Both watchmakers have very similar seven line entries in Baillie's.  It shows they both sold automaton clocks and watches in China in the late 18th Century.  William Hughes sold a pair of bloodstone boxes with watches, Timothy Williams sold a pair of agate flasks. Undoubtedly the two men would have had many common contacts within the trade as they produced very similar items and exported them to China.  The gift of a watch to a watchmaker appears to be a strange choice but does perhaps explain the excellence of its execution.  William Hughes, High Holborn, free of the Clockmakers Company 1781 – 94.  Fine musical automaton watch in the Webster collection amongst other  watches made for China.  Timothy Williamson, another eminent watchmaker who produced complex clocks and watches for the Chinese market.  See the large centre seconds clockwatch by him, item A10437.  A high quality movement of similar construction to chronometers of the period.  In addition to the high count train the endstones are in blind brass settings and the minute wheel has a large polished steel pinion with steel arbor.