Minute repeating clock watch by Thomas Mudge

London, England, around AD 1755

Thomas Mudge was one of the first chronometer makers in England to make a successful minute repeating mechanism for the watch. The quarter repeating mechanism for watches, first introduced in the late seventeenth century by Daniel Quare in competition with Thomas Tompion, had become more and more refined during the eighteenth century. At first, depressing the pendant of the watch would cause it to strike the last hour and quarter on a bell in the back of the case. This was followed by half-quarter repeating and five minute repeating systems. The minute repeat, however, was the most sophisticated of all: the watch would sound the last hour, the last quarter, and the number of minutes past the last quarter. This mechanism was a very demanding one and was only achieved by the finest makers.

Such a watch enabled more accurate telling of the time in the dark, and, as a rare and finely-made instrument, would have reflected the considerable status of its owner. It is known that King Ferdinand VI of Spain (reigned 1746-59) had a special interest in Mudge's work and possessed one of his minute repeating clock watches.

On this example, the full-plate movement originally had a cylinder escapement - the most accurate form when the watch was made in about 1755. The movement and dial are housed in triple cases: the two inner cases of gold, pierced and engraved with foliate scrolls and masks; the outer case of leather-covered brass with pierced panels to allow the sound of the bell to escape. The cases are marked with the maker's mark and the movement is signed 'Thos Mudge London 407'.

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Diameter: 75.000 mm (overall)

Museum number

M&ME 1984,3-1,1



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