- Museum number
SILVER CASED VERGE WATCH IN THE FORM OF A HUMAN SKULL [MOVEMENT AND DIAL NOT ORIGINAL].
Circular gilt-brass plates with four baluster pillars. One pillar is a modern replacement, two original pillars are now retained in the front plate by blued-steel screws. Ratchet and click set-up mounted on the dial side of the pillar-plate. Fusee with chain and standard stop-work. Four wheel train with solid centre wheel, the third wheel and contrate pinion recessed into the pillar-plate a running in a separate bridge. Verge escapement, the crown wheel runs between a gilt-brass potence screwed to the underside of the back plate, and a rivetted counter-potence. Gilt-brass balance bridge pierced and engraved with foliate scrolls and with a screwed-on steel coqueret. Brass 3-arm balance with a spiral balance spring and geared regulator. The brass plate engraved A||||R .
The motion work consists of a canon pinion mounted on the centre arbor with the normal minute wheel and pinion driving an hour wheel.
Later silver dial pinned directly to the front plate of the movement. Crudely engraved with Roman hours I-XII, half-hour marks and a quarter circle.
Pierced gilt-brass hand mounted on the canon pinion, revolving once per hour. There is no hour hand.
Silver case in the form of a human skull. The watch is housed in the upper part, the lower section with the lower jaw is hinged to reveal the dial.
In the top, a pendant loop with a loose ring.
There are four recesses in the upper case rim to accommodate the lugs of the original dial.
- Production date
Height: 44.50 millimetres
Length: 45 millimetres (case)
Width: 35.50 millimetres
- Curator's comments
1. The case of the watch appears to be of 17th century date. There are four recesses in the top of the case band for the protruding lugs on the original dial.
2. The present movement, dial and hand are not original. The movement is of mid 18th century date and has been specially made for the watch. The dial appears to be much later, probably 19th century. It is likely that the up-dated watch had an enamel dial which was later replaced with the present dial to give it an earlier apperance.
3. There is motion work for two hands but now only the minute hand survives which makes no sense with the present dial which is designed for a single hand rotating in 12 hours. The surviving hand is probably contemporary with the movement and it is likely that there was also a matching hour hand.
4. The reference to a Johannes Maurer in Füssen by Abeler in, Meister der Uhrmacherkunst, is based on the existence of this watch and the appearance in a Sotheby's sale, [16th October 1961 lot 13] of another 17th century silver skull watch formerly in the Willard Wheeler collection. [DT 11/1991]
5. It is remotely possible that the original watch was signed Johan Maurer but without any known biographical reference this must be conjecture.
Baillie, WATCHES, 1929: plate XXVII/1 p.123.
- Not on display
- Latest: 3 (2017)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The watch was purchased by Morgan from a person at the Royal Porcelain Works at Worcester who purchased it from a Jeweller in Birmingham.NL1NL1(See letter to Morgan from -------- of the Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory in 1870. (HSR/Archives 5/4)
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number