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pendulum watch

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Escapement

  • Description

    GOLD PAIR-CASED WATCH WITH BALANCE SHOWING THROUGH DIAL APERTURE. Verge escapement. Gold dial; pendulum aperture. Gold pair cases. Fly-back hour hand.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1700
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 47.5 millimetres (inner)
    • Diameter: 54 millimetres (outer)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        Peter Fardoil Londini fecit.
      • Inscription Type

        casemaker's mark
      • Inscription Content

        W.G [outer case]
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        London 1700. [inner case]
      • Inscription Type

        casemaker's mark
      • Inscription Content

        I.D [inner case]
  • Curator's comments

    Text from 'Watches', by David Thompson, London, 2008, p. 60-61.

    Peter Fardoil

    LONDON, 1700

    SIGNED: 'Peter Fardoil Londini Fecit'

    Following the arrival of numerous clock- and watchmakers from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, competition for business in the City of London and in Westminster must have been intensive, and it was during this period that a fashion for eye-catching designs came to the fore. This watch was made as a betrothal gift and love token. Watches, perhaps more than any other gift with the possible exception of finger rings, have been used for this purpose for centuries. That this watch was intended to demonstrate affection is made clear by the inscription on the dial, 'Nihil * Sine * Te' (nothing without you). Such a special watch in gold pair-cases would not have been come by easily and could have cost as much as 25-30 guineas.
    The dial is signed 'Fardoil London' around the bottom. Little is known of Peter Fardoil, except that he probably came from Blois: a Pierre Fardoil, watchmaker of Blois, died in 1669 and his son, also Pierre, became a master watchmaker there in 1684. It seems likely that it was this man who came to England soon afterwards. The watch is of high quality, with gold pair-cases hallmarked London 1700 and punched 'ID', the maker's mark of James Delander, a London goldsmith who became a Free Brother in the Clockmakers' Company in 1669. When Delander entered his Britannia mark at the Goldsmiths' Hall around 1698, he was registered as working at Bolt and Tun Court, Fleet Street. The outer case, which is original, bears the maker's mark 'WG' on the inside. This is the mark of William Ginn, a turner by trade, who was taken to task by the Clockmakers' Company in 1697 when he was given one month's notice to cease his work as a box maker in Little Old Bailey. However, in January 1700 Ginn became a member of the Company and presumably could then trade without hindrance. His mark is recorded on the 1682 register plate at Goldsmiths' Hall.
    The fine-quality gold champlevé dial has a mock pendulum at the top and minutes at the bottom. In the middle is an aperture with a 'fly-back' hand for the hours. The mechanism consists of a blued-steel disc on which is fixed the hour pointer. The dial is calibrated for twelve hours,VI-XII-VI. As time passes, the disc rotates and the hand traverses across the sector aperture to show the hours. As it moves round, the disc sets up a return spring; when the hand reaches the end of the sector, the disc is released and, under the power of the return spring, spins quickly back to its starting position to begin the next twelve-hour period.
    Another eye-catching feature of this watch is the mock pendulum, popular with a number of makers at the time. These so-called 'pendulum' watches had a small disc attached to one of the balance arms, which could be seen moving to and fro as the balance wheel oscillated. This gave the appearance of a swinging pendulum, hence the name.
    With the balance located at the front, under the dial, Fardoil has used the vacant space on the back plate to create a magnificent regulation dial, beautifully pierced and engraved. Turning the hand rotates a geared sector under the dial, which moves the curb pins through which the balance spring passes at its outer end. Shortening the effective length of the spring makes the watch go faster, while moving the curb towards the end of the spring, where it is attached to the watch plate, makes it go slower.

    See Horological Journal September 1912 p.8


  • Bibliography

    • Thompson 2008 pp.60-61 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G39/dc14/no31

  • Condition


  • Acquisition name

  • 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.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • CAI.2347 (Ilbert Collection)
    • N130 (Ilbert Ledger)
GOLD PAIR-CASED WATCH WITH BALANCE SHOWING THROUGH DIAL APERTURE. Verge escapement. Gold dial; pendulum aperture. Gold pair cases. Fly-back hour hand.

Detail: Other

GOLD PAIR-CASED WATCH WITH BALANCE SHOWING THROUGH DIAL APERTURE. Verge escapement. Gold dial; pendulum aperture. Gold pair cases. Fly-back hour hand.

Image description



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Object reference number: MCC1005

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