Watch and case (1)

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Object Type
Watches with balance springs proved capable of keeping time to within five minutes a day, rather than half an hour, thus making possible new concepts of punctuality.

In the 18th century it became standard for London movements to be numbered, but this one of 1685, numbered 281, is an usually early example. The use of an inner case with an outer protecting case is characteristic of London watches in the late 17th century and much of the 18th century.

Richard Colston was the son of a clockmaker, and became a Freeman of the Clockmakers' Company in 1682. He probably died soon after 1702.

Nathaniel Delander was an important casemaker who made cases for a number of watchmakers, including Thomas Tompion. This silver case is typical of its period in that it bears no hallmark. When Delander was threatened with prosecution by the Goldsmiths' Company in 1682 for making a sub-standard gold case, the Clockmakers' Company asserted that gold and silver cases were not liable for hallmarking. However, from 1683 hallmarked cases with Delander's mark are known.

Ownership & Use
The crescent on the chevron in the arms of the Strickland family, which decorate the outer case, shows that the watch belonged to a second son.

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  • Title: Watch and case (1)
  • Date Created: 1680/1689
  • Medium: Inner case and dial of silver; outer case of tortoiseshell, decorated in silver piqué work

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