Automaton dial with naval scene

Stock No. 1493

Fred Gibson & Co.
London, c1790
Silver & leather pair cases, 59 mm
Verge escapement


A rare automaton dial watch in silver & leather pair cases.

MOVEMENT : Gilt verge movement, with engraved and pierced balance cock and engraved plate. Four round pillars, blued screws and large silver regulator disk. Signed and numbered (6821).

Working, and in quite good condition though the jewel endstone in the balance cock is a later replacement.

DIAL : Polychrome enamel dial, showing a navel battle with two rows of ships. The central window exposes a revolving disc with three ships moving across.

The main dial is in good condition, with no repairs but a hairline from the centre of the dial towards 2, and some smaller light hairlines between 2 and the edge.

The revolving automaton disc is in poor condition with a repaired split across the centre, a piece missing from the edge and some general fading to the painting.
A thin brass disc has been fixed to the back to strengthen the automaton disc,

Gold coloured gem set hands.

INNER CASE : Silver, with rubbed hallmarks, but maker’s mark WH.

In good condition, though the pendant and bow are later replacements.
The hinge has some wear but the bezel snaps shut correctly.

The high dome crystal has a few small scratches, but generally ok.

OUTER CASE : An unusual silver and leather pair case. A brass base with silver rims, pins and straps to the back. The bezel and back are covered in black leather

In reasonable condition throughout, though the catch is missing so the case does not snap shut.
The leather and silver work is all complete, though this leather covering is a replacement.

Automaton dials of this period are quite rare. The most common are the simple windmill sails, mounted on a seconds hand. Less common are the military scenes, with soldiers moving through the automaton window. This naval version is much rarer.