Paul Philip Barraud, Cornhill, London, Movement No. 323/327, 124 x 75 mm, circa 1802
An important ship’s chronometer of museum quality with 50 hour power reserve, built according to the designs of Thomas Mudge Case: brass, firegilt, applied green shagreen, convex crystal. Dial: applied enamel dials with gilt frames for Roman hours and Arabic minutes and seconds. Retrograde 50h power reserve indicator. Very fine applied foliate scrolls, blued "Poker & Beetle" hands. Movm.: brass, moulded pillars, chain/fusée, Arnold’s spring detent excapement. Z-balance with two weights and two screws.
Thomas Mudge (1715-94) The first timekeeper Thomas Mudge designed with a constant force escapement was built in 1774 and intended as a competitor for the longitude prize of 20,000 pounds the British Parliament was offering. Mudge later produced another two models of the same type but none of his chronometers were recognized and rewarded; Mudge died an embittered man. About year before his death his son had formed a partnership with William Howells and Robert Pennington; his plan was to build timekeepers according to his father's specifications in a factory. Mudge the Elder was supervising the production of the chronometers until his death later in the year. The first pieces were accordingly signed "Howells and Pennington for Thomas Mudge". However, only eight chronometers were produced in the first 18 months and in 1796 Mudge the Younger took on additional staff to increase production; Howells and Mudge did not see eye to eye on this though and ended their partnership. Unfortunately for Mudge the premises belonged to Howells, so that he had to look to move his business to another location. After his agreement with Mudge had finished, Howells went into production with Paul Philip Barraud and George Jamison and they began building simplified versions of Thomas Mudge's original drafts. Once he had established his new workshop, Mudge Jr. took on the escapement maker Richard Pendleton and intended him to work with Robert Pennington on the creation of chronometers according to his father's designs. Howells' team as well as Mudge Jr.'s both saw themselves as the legitimate successors of Mudge Sr.'s work, so there are two separate series from series no. 9 on. However, neither company was really fortunate in their endeavours and Mudge was forced to close his factory in 1798 - only 19 more chronometers had been produced by then, so that the total came to 27. Howells' business was even less productive and closed in 1799 after making only seven timekeepers. Source: Jonathan Betts "The Roadshow" Chronometer, Horological Journal, August 2002, p. 276.
Estimate 200,000 - 250,000 €
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