Tompion Banger: A rare antique pocket watch

Way back, in the mid 1700s, there was a person who needed to be on time for appointments. The name D. L. Darcy is engraved, just above the date 1762 on the case back of this rare and fine timepiece.

The engraved name on the case

The watch, which still runs, remarkably enough (imagine buying a machine, and having it still working more than 250 years later!), is a wonder of the watchmaker’s art.

The craft of the silversmith’s work on the case is lovely, but the the workmanship inside the case is really of greatest note.

The watch has a chain driven fusee movement. The chain turns around a cylinder to keep the watch running at a regular pace, to keep accurate time. The chain is an extremely tiny version of a chain that would be more familiar today on a bicycle. at about a millimetre, the chain wouldn’t work on a bike very well, and the bicycle wasn’t invented for about another century.

The chain driving the watch

The pillar forms, and the decorative scrollwork in the movement are wonderful.

The intricate engraving is beautiful.

Engraved Plate

Remember, this is all inside the watch, and that is not the part that we expect to see.

The watch has a crystal (the glass cover on the front the dial). The crystal is what is called “bullseye crystal” it has a concave centre. At night the watch is put on your side-table face down. The edge of the “bullseye” is the only contact surface, and the movement of the workings of the watch won’t make the rounded watch wiggle, and it will keep more accurate time.

Bullseye Crystal

Truly a rare timepiece and bound to be a valued addition to a collection. Offered in November 2019.

About Duncan Parker

Duncan Parker, FGA, FCGmA, CAP (CJA), Vice President. Duncan is a columnist and contributor for industry magazines and journals. He has been an instructor of the gemstone course at Ryerson University, the Gemmology courses of George Brown College and Canadian Gemmological Association as well as instructor Master Valuer Program with the Canadian Jewellers Association. A renowned expert, he speaks regularly at international gem and jewellery conferences and symposiums, as well as at less formal events. He has served as President of the Canadian Gemmological Association since 1995. Before joining Dupuis Auctioneers, Duncan was a director of research at Harold Weinstein Ltd., a leading and respected jewellery appraisal company.
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