- Museum number
Movement of hour-striking stackfreed watch with alarum mechanism; case lost.
- Production date
Diameter: 54.80 millimetres (pillar-plate)
- Curator's comments
- Comment from Hugh Tait, Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum. Vol. I (1987)
Made by Hans Georg Reinhold (attrib.) Strasbourg, mid-17th century
Movement of an Hour-Striking Watch with Alarum Mechanism (case lost)
Brass plates and turned urn-shaped pillars. Only the long balance-cock, count-wheel index, brass count-wheel and alarum-hammer bridge survive. The initials HGR are individual punches framed by an engraved rectangle shaded off along the left side; this mark is positioned near the centre of the pillar-plate; just below, a shield with a bend sinister is engraved.
Both mainsprings are contained in bands screwed to the underside of the pillar-plate; the visible surface is pierced and engraved with scrolling foliage. Both trains are made of brass; the crown-wheel is pivoted in two brackets. The locking-arm is pierced and engraved with foliage. The alarum-train is missing but it was of the 'shutter' type. Several holes drilled in the plates indicate later modifications.
Diameter (of pillar-plate): 54.8 mm.
Provenance: Ilbert Collection, 1958.
1. The attribution of this watch-movement to Hans Georg Reinhold, a watchmaker of Strasbourg, is based on the presence of the initials HGR and an apparent misrepresentation of the Strasbourg city-mark.
2. There is no published account of this maker's career.
3. Dr Dollinger, Directeur des Archives et Bibliothèque de la Ville de Strasbourg, very kindly communicated the following information:
(a) date of birth unknown; apparently unrecorded in the parish registers of Strasbourg;
(b) 18 November 1622: married Anna-Maria, daughter of Mathes Geh, a musical instrument maker (St Thomas's parish register, M. 109, f. 137);
(c) 8 December 1634: married Salome, daughter of Martin Naup (Nauber), a tailor (St Thomas's parish regis¬ter, M. 109, f. 354);
(d) 1643: entered the Guild of Smiths as a confirmed master. His 'master's-piece' is described as 'Achteckige Ei Uhr in Bergkristall. . . .' (see 'Alte und neue Strasburger Goldschmiedearbeiten und Uhren', Strasbourg, 1915, p. 135; this book, a collective work, was produced after a congress and referred to as 'herausgegeben aus Anlass des 14. Verbandstages deutscher Juweliers, Gold and Silber-schmeide', Strasbourg, 7-11 August, 1915).
(e) 2 October, 1653: died (St Thomas's parish register, N.250, f. 656a).
4. From the date of his first recorded marriage, it may be assumed that this maker was born around 1600, if not before. The only likely reason for a maker of approximately forty-five or more years old to submit his 'master's-piece' and subsequently be registered as a 'confirmed master' is that he had come from another city, where he had already qualified. As this maker's birth is not recorded in Strasbourg, it may be that he was born in Augsburg, where members of the family of Reinhold were clockmakers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
5. Baillie (in 'Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World', 1929, 2nd edn, London, 1947, p. 266) records this maker as 'Hans Georg Reinboldt' (sic).
6. The maker's initials, 'HGR', have been recorded on one other watch, which is preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no. 2360-55), having been purchased in 1855 at the Sale of the Ralph Bemal Collection (Christie's, 5 March-30 April 1855, lot 3890; see also the 1857 post-sale publication on the Bemal Collection by H. G. Bohn, which incorporates his 'Guide' to the Collection, a complete reprint of all the many days' sale catalogues, together with the prices fetched and the names of the purchasers). However, the Victoria and Albert Museum's watch has a number of significant differences:
i. the mechanism has a fusee;
ii. the initials, HGR, are punched individually but the punches are not the same as those used on the Ilbert Collection example, nor are they within a frame;
iii. the initials are accompanied by a punched shield with a bend sinister. There are no engraved elements in the marks on the Bemal Collection example at the Victoria and Albert Museum;
iv. the case, which has survived, is made of gold-mounted agate but is probably not original.
Both watches appear to date from the mid-seventeenth century and could, therefore, have originated in the same Strasbourg workshop but at slightly different times, thus accounting for the change-over to new punches for the initials HGR.
Less satisfactory are the explanations for the engraved elements in the marks on the Ilbert Collection watch. It is exceptional to find within a mark both punched and engraved elements; consequently, the engraved rectangular frame around the punched HGR may be a recent addition. If that engraved frame is a modern 'improvement', then it is probable that the shield with bend sinister was engraved at the same time - perhaps in imitation of the punched shield on the Victoria and Albert Museum's well-known watch.
7. The engraved mark of the heraldic shield on the pillar-plate, like the punched version at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is thought to be a misrepresentation of the Strasbourg city-mark; the engraver has represented on the shield the heraldic device known as a bend sinister, that is a bend in reverse. Such an heraldic device is most uncommon and suggests that it is a mistake. For a punch-mark with the arms of the city of Strasbourg correctly emblazoned, see registration no. 1888,1201.151.
8. Attention should also be drawn to the existence of a curious form of engraved signature that has been recorded on the movement of a large rock-crystal watch in the Pierpont Morgan Collection (G. C. Williamson, 'Catalogue of the Collection of Watches, the property of J. Pierpont Morgan', London, 1912, pp. 94-5, no. 88): 'Johan Georg Reeinhold' (sic). It remains conjectural whether this watch was made by the Strasbourg maker of this name who died in 1653 and to whom the HGR movement of the Bernal Collection watch can now be attributed with a fair degree of confidence. On the evidence of the latter, the tentative attribution of this Ilbert Collection watch to Hans Georg Reinhold's workshop in Strasbourg now seems justified, but further corroborative evidence is still needed.
- Not on display
- Latest: 2 (1993)
- 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.2221 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: Q251 (Ilbert Ledger)