MOVEMENT : Nicely gilded movement with very ornate pillars, and engraved and pierced balance cock. The movement is signed and numbered (32609). It is in very good original condition and is running well.
DIAL : 43.75 mm. The large white signed enamel dial, with Turkish numerals, is in very good condition with no repairs and just two very light hairlines running across the bottom, from the edge at 5 and 7 to the edge at 8. Also a small chip on the edge at 10. Wonderful original gold beetle and poker hands.
SILVER INNER CASE : 50 mm. Full London hallmarks for 1804, maker’s marks IR. The case and high dome bull’s eye crystal are both in perfect condition. The pendant is a little loose but firmly attached.
SILVER SECOND CASE : 61.5 mm. Full London hallmarks for 1814, with the same maker’s mark as the inner (IR). Very good condition, with just some small light bruises on the back. The catch is complete and the case snaps shut nicely but the catch button is absent.
SILVER/SHELL THIRD CASE : Diameter 71.5 mm. No silver hallmarks. The construction is of a brass base with silver rims. In very good condition with wonderful colour to the shell. No restoration. There is just one section of shell missing from the bezel (about 2cms) near the catch and a few short cracks on the back but no shell missing. There are some silver pins missing from the bezel and back. The hinge and catch are fine and the case closes nicely, though the catch button is dented.
Loomes lists George Prior in London between 1765 and 1812. Like his son Edward, who succeeded him, Prior specialized in watches for the Eastern market and was making verge watches of 18th century style, still popular in this market, into the 19th century.
The middle silver case is a perfect fit for both inner and outer cases, and was made by the same maker (IR) as the inner. I believe that this watch was made in 1804 (the serial number is right for that date) and an outer case provided by Prior (probably Edward) in 1814. The watch may have remained in stock for that period, which would not have been unusual for such prolific makers.