Lot No. 577 (91st Auction)
Pennington, Pendleton and others for the Son of the Inventor 1796 / Thomas Mudge, London, Movement No. 24, 124 x 60 mm, circa 1796

A one day ship's chronometer of museum quality, built according to the designs of Thomas Mudge
Case: brass, glazed on all sides, moulded pillars, convex glazed. Dial: applied enamel dials with gilt frames on gilt ground plate, very fine applied foliate scrolls, radial Roman hours and minutes, blued Poker & Beetle hands. Movm.: brass, signed, moulded pillars, chain/fusee fitted with Harrison’s maintaining power, finely polished 6-spoked wheels, Thomas Mudge’s remontoire escapement after drafts by Johan Jakob Huber, 15-toothed escapement wheel, large polished three-arm brass balance, steel balance staff mounted between four steel rollers to reduce friction, open work geometric balance bridge, temperature compensation of the lower blued balance spring by way of two straight bimetallic segments on slides with adjustment screws on each side, fine adjustment of the upper blued balance spring by means of a square and an index screw using a slide and lever system, engraved scale with regulator hand.

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.

Anthony G. Randall: 'Huber-Mudge and the First Constant Force Escapement', Antiquarian Horlogy, pages 217-226, 12/2005
Tony Mercer: "Chronometer Makers of the World", page 39, Colchester, 1991

This chronometer is one of the few in the series that was fitted with an escapement after the original design by Thomas Mudge Snr. The production costs for the design, however, were very high and most of the watches by 'Pennington, Pendleton and Others' were fitted later with a chronometer escapement in the style of Earnshaw.

Provenance: George Daniels Collection
Estimate  380,000 - 450,000 €

Price Realised  471,200 €
A lot from a recent auction!

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