Found Letter

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by qf33, Oct 8, 2019.

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  1. qf33

    qf33 New Member

    Oct 8, 2019
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    Hello, I’ve recently found a letter about a watch. Based on this letter can anyone give me any info about the watch like where it has come from, or if possible any previous items of likeness and prices. I have not found the watch yet, and am trying to figure out what I should be looking for. Thanks in advance!

    5CD3712D-7334-4BAA-BACC-C2B5C31580DD.jpeg
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi qf33, and welcome to the forum,

    Whilst it would be helpful to see the original enquiry to which this is the response from The Antiquarian Horological Society, it's possible to infer something from it. The letter refers to a watch movement as a reference, that is, the 'works' without its case, and it was made by William Dutton & Sons in London. Dutton was an apprentice to George Graham, and with Thomas Mudge, (another Graham apprentice), subsequently formed a partnership and continued to make watches, (and clocks), in the style and to the very highest standards of their old master. Mudge invented the detached lever escapement and also worked on marine timekeepers. The firm of Mudge & Dutton was at the peak of the London trade at the end of the 18th century.

    William Dutton took charge of the Mudge & Dutton firm when Mudge retired to live with his brother in Plymouth and devote himself to his marine timekeepers, in 1770. The partnership name remained in use until the late 1780's at which point William Dutton took complete control. Just before his death in 1794, and for a very short period, he was in business with both his sons, and this form of the signature is only known on around eight watches.

    The letter mentions a cylinder escapement, but that wouldn't be apparent from a casual view of the movement, which will look similar to the picture below:

    DSCF2844.JPG

    It's typical of the best English watchmaking from the last quarter of the 18th century, and since your target appears to have been signed for W. Dutton & Sons, it must date from just before 1794, when he died.

    If you can locate this watch you will have a rare and potentially quite valuable piece, and if it still has its case, (which would have been a pair case, with separate inner and outer elements and probably made of gold, see pictures below), it would be a real find.

    DSCF2576.JPG DSCF2579.JPG DSCF2653.JPG DSCF2656.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  3. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

    May 25, 2015
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    Just a thought, but AHS Journals for 1971 featured:

    Reports of Sotheby's sales :
    Thomas Mudge and William Dutton, London, No. 1044, good
    gold pair-cased quarter-repeating cylinder watch, two hammers
    striking bell in back of case, circa 1770, 50mm. diam. £650

    Dutton, London, 7803, gold and enamel watch and chatelaine,
    full plate movement, winding aperture at 2 o'clock, blue
    guilloche enamel with split pearls, fitted velvet case. £756

    Thomas Mudge & W. Dutton, London, N o . 1280, gold paircased
    dumb half-quarter repeating cylinder watch, H.M. 1783,
    54mm. diam. £120


    Report of Christie's sale:
    Thos. Mudge, Wm. Dutton, London, 816, fine and rare gold
    repousse pair-cased quarter-repeating watch with steel cylinder
    escapement, inner case pierced and engraved, London 1768,
    outer case embossed with mythological scene of Hercules,
    signed: G. M. Moser, 50mm. diam. £1,890


    In stock at Camerer Cuss:
    Gold pair-case cylinder watch, by Mudge &
    Dutton, H / M 1777.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Davy,

    Many thanks for digging these out. A Mudge & Dutton repeater in a George Michael Moser repoussé case for £1,890; how times have changed!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

    May 25, 2015
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    Yes Graham - I've learnt not to ponder too long on such values when researching - and '71 seems like only yesterday to me!

    A calculation model I use when evaluating nineteenth century watchmaker's probate notices and suchlike suggests that the gold repousse pair-cased quarter-repeater would be setting us back over £25,000 today. This M&D, sold earlier this year by Dr Crott, would appear to be much more affordable!

    MudgeDut05.jpg
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Davy,

    Yes, the Moser 22 carat pair cases would make quite a difference, (almost x10)!

    Regards,

    Graham
     

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