- Museum number
MOVEMENT AND DIAL OF A LEVER WATCH.
Bar movement; hanging going-barrel.
Club-tooth lever escapement; all impulse on the teeth.
White enamel dial; hours I-XII; sunk subsidiary seconds.
Blued steel Breguet hour hand and seconds hand; minute hand missing.
- Production date
Diameter: 43.80 millimetres (dial)
Thickness: 7.50 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Comment from Richard Good, Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum. Vol. V (Unpublished manuscript)
Made by Sylvain Mairet
Le Locle, Switzerland, c. 1840
Movement of a watch with Sylvain Mairet's lever escapement.
Signature: On the dial 'S. Mairet AU LOCLE'.
Case: Missing. The movement was held in the case by a peg and two dog screws.
Dial and Hands: A flat dial with a sunk subsidiary seconds dial. In the counter-enamel in black 'SM'. The dial feet are secured by dog screws. Moon pattern blued-steel hour hand and blued-steel seconds hand. The minute hand is missing.
Dial plate: None intended.
Dust-cap: None intended.
Ebauche Marks: SM 229.(1)
Frame: A bar movement with a separate bridge for the barrel and another for the centre wheel. Separate cocks for the third, fourth and escape wheels and a steel cock for the pallets. The balance cock is plain.
Barrel and Mainspring:
Barrel: A hanging going barrel, scratched '29' on the inside. There are slots for a brace, but it does not appear that one was ever fitted. Scratched '629' twice on the cover. Barrel internal diameter 16.6 mm, height 1.9 mm.
Mainspring: height 1.8 mm, thickness 0.21 mm.
Barrel Arbor: diameter 5.7 mm, snailed and held on by two dog screws.
Train: A high quality train with all the wheels gilded. The centre, third and fourth with five crossings.
Jewelling: Jewelled bearings from the third wheel onwards with all the jewels bombé and rubbed in. The escapement with ruby endstones all in steel caps.
Escapement: Sylvain Mairet's escapement. A straight-line layout lever escapement with a short lever, double roller and a D-shaped impulse jewel. The pallets with open stones. The forked tail of the pallet frame banks on the escape arbor. The polished steel escape wheel, with four crossings, is crossed out leaving the minimum of material consistent with adequate strength. Virtually all the lift is on the wheel teeth.
A mixed impulse escapement.
No of teeth embraced 32.
Balance and Spring: A split bimetallic balance with a mixture of gold, brass and platinum compensation screws. Balance diameter 17.5 mm, thickness 0.9 mm. A bright steel flat spiral spring with 17 close turns and a terminal curve, pinned to a polished steel stud screwed to the balance cock table.
Means of Regulation: An index on the balance cock registers against a divided scale with 'S' and 'F' with an arrow between engraved on the balance cock table.(2)
Train Counts and Beat Rate:
Great wheel 80 (barrel)
Centre wheel 80 pinion 10
Third wheel 75 pinion 10
Fourth wheel 70 pinion 10
Escape wheel 15 pinion 7
Beat Rate: 18,000
Motion work: cannon pinion 12
minute wheel 36, minute pinion 10
hour wheel 40
Keyless Work: Key wound.
Movement: diameter 42.5 mm, height 7.6 mm, frame height 4.1 mm.
Provenance: Formerly in the Ilbert collection. Ilbert purchased this from Jauncey 18/3/1936
(1) A watch made by Silvain Mairet but signed Hunt & Roskell No. 274 in a gold case hallmarked London 1846 appears in Antiquorum Geneva sale catalogue of 21 October 1995, lot 205.
(2) Mairet's strong connection with England possibly explains the fact that the regulator registers against a scale marked 'S' and 'F' for slow and fast perhaps suggesting an intended London sale for the watch.
Another example of Mairet's work is a watch signed Hunt & Roskell on the dial, punched SM 277 on the front plate and in a gold case hallmarked London 1846, see Cuss 1976, pp.224-225, plate 140.
It is hard to imagine a more beautifully made movement than this, it is Swiss work at its best.
Sylvain Mairet was apprenticed to his uncle F. L. Favre-Bulle and the illustration shows him in his uncle's workshop. He was to spend 5 years, from 1831-1834, in London during which time he produced watches mainly for B. L. Vulliamy but also for Hunt and Roskell. Whilst he was in England Mairet became friendly with James Ferguson Cole. He settled in Le Locle after his stay in England, frequently making complete watches as did Cole in England. For further details of Mairet's life see P. Chamberlain, 'It's About Time', pp. 411-413, and Alfred Chapuis, 'Histoire de la Pendulerie Neuchateloise', Neuchatel 1917, pp. 133, 210, 360, 373, 392, 474. Fig 363 shows a portrait of Mairet.
- Not on display
Latest: 3 (2017)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Following the successful acquisition of the celebrated Ilbert collection of clocks (1958,1006 collection), prints and other related materials made possible by the generous donation of funds by Gilbert Edgar CBE Ilbert's watches were then acquired using funds provided by Gilbert Edgar, public donations and government funds.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.1063 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: P45 (Ilbert Ledger)