Pair cased verge with maritime history

Stock No. 1564

James Johnson
London, 1781
Silver pair cases, 51 mm
Verge escapement


A good London verge, with an interesting maritime history.

MOVEMENT : Gilded movement with verge escapement, the balance cock finely engraved and pierced, and with a jewelled coquerette to the centre. Blued steel regulator disk and screws. Four square pillars.

Signed (Jas. Johnson, London) and numbered (2853).
Unusually signed or marked under the balance “Com n”. see photo.

The movement is in very good condition and is running well.

DIAL : Nice white enamel dial.
In good condition, though with a repair on the edge at 8, and a short, very faint hairline on the edge at 4.

Nice 18th century steel beetle and poker hour hand, and a later steel minute hand.

INNER CASE : Silver, with hallmarks for London, 1781, and maker’s mark IB.
Also stamped with the movement number 2853.

Good condition throughout. The hinge is fine and the bezel snaps shut correctly.
The high dome crystal is in good condition with no chips, and just some small surface scratches. The bow and stem are fine, though the stem has been reattached.

OUTER CASE : A heavy silver pair case with silver and maker’s marks matching the inner.

The back is engraved with a sailing ship above the initials “LH”, the date ”1781” and below the vessel name “Mabella Truest”. All surrounded by an engraved border.

The catch button has worn down a little, and there are a few scratches, but otherwise the case in in very good condition.

The Mabella Truest was a merchantman, built in Norway in 1777, and owned by N. Moe.
She is recorded (Lloyds Register of British & Foreign Shipping 1781/82) as a 300 tonne brig, 13 ft loaded draught, registered in London. Under Captain L. Hanson, she traded between London and Gibraltar.

So this was the Captain’s watch, with his initials and his vessel engraved.