Good late 17th century London verge, in fine condition.
MOVEMENT : Gilt verge movement, with a large and well engraved and pierced winged balance cock, showing birds, scrolls, and a mask on the neck. Signed ‘Mic. Johnson, London’. Four wonderful crested Egyptian pillars and a silver regulator disk. Blued screws and steel work.
The fusee chain is very thick with large links, so is very early and could be the original.
All in excellent condition and running well.
DIAL : Fine silver champleve dial, with signed central disk (JOHNSON, LONDON) and Royal coat of arms. In excellent condition with nicely engraved gilt rim. Early gilt hour hand but later brass minute hand.
INNER CASE : Silver, with maker’s mark TG under a coronet. In very good condition, with just some slight compression. The hinge is fine and the bezel snaps shut correctly. The high dome crystal has one small chip right on the edge at 4, but otherwise fine. The bow is probably a later replacement.
OUTER CASE : Silver, with no maker’s marks. The silver is in good condition with just a couple of small dents. The very large square hinge, catch and catch button are fine and the case closes correctly.
The Royal coat of arms on this watch is not uncommon for watches of this period. When William of Orange and Queen Mary came to the throne in 1689 it became important for English craftsmen (and their customers) to demonstrate their loyalty to the crown. This period of uncertainty lasted until after the Jacobite rebellions and Queen Anne inherited the throne in 1702.
The casemaker’s mark TG is for Thomas Gouldsmith, who was free from the guild in 1692. A watch by Thomas Tompion (No. 2131) from about 1700 bears his mark.
Michael Johnson is listed in London from 1677 and in the Clockmaers’ Company from 1687 until 1704.