Early Paris single handed verge

Stock No. 1766

Jean Hommet
Paris, c1690
Silver case, 53 mm.
Verge, single hand


An early and unusual French ‘oignon’ verge, with single handed movement and silver champleve dial.

MOVEMENT : Gilt verge escapement, with a beautifully engraved solid balance bridge, showing foliage and scrolls. Blued steel and silver regulator disk with extravagant pierced blued steel brackets to the sides. Nice elongated baluster crested pillars.

The movement is wound from the back. The second steel arbor on the left is for tensioning the mainspring. The hand is driven directly from the fusee wheel of the movement train (no central wheel as with a two handed watch). The single hand is set from the central square in the dial.

Some scratches to the plate, mainly around the pillar but otherwise in good condition and running.

DIAL : Fine silver champleve dial with Roman numerals and half hour markers.
The centre engraved with scrolls and cherubs, nmd signed HOMMET A PARIS

In good condition, though one of the dial feet has worn down and been replaced by the small screw through the dial at 1. A few light scratches around the opening catch and the screw head. Some small pieces of black wax infill are missing from the chapter ring/

The blued steel hand is probably original.

CASE : A plain silver case, with a square hinge.

The stem is original, though worn, and the bow/ring a replacement but otherwise in nice condition throughout. The hinges are fine. The bezel snaps shuts correctly and the high dome crystal is fine. The movement catch, through the dial at 6, is a little worn so the movement doesn’t snap to the case.

The silver has a pleasant and quite even patina, so has been left unpolished.

This watch is unusual with some features similar to English watches of the period. The movement is wound from the back, and the maker’s signature on the dial rather than the movement. The dial is original with no additional holes added to the plate to accommodate a replacement dial. The mainspring set up, with a square arbor through the plate and a ratchet under the barrel, is also unusual.

Tardy (Dictionnaire des Horlogers Français, p. 299) lists a Jean Hommet (or Homet or Hommer) in Paris in 1690.

A watch by Jean Hommet is illustrated in his book (La Montre Francais) by Adolphe Chapiro.