COACH WATCH George Prior London 11773 Ca. 1817
COACH WATCH FOR THE OTTOMAN MARKET
Signed: George Prior London
The spring-driven, 30-hour going movement of this coach watch is constructed between two brass plates. The going train has a spring barrel, chain fusee and anchor escapement with balance and balance spring, whilst the quarter-striking train indicates the quarters, on the hour followed by the hours on a bell (petite sonnerie). The finely pierced and engraved balance cock covers the balance entirely, with adjacent to it a silvered regulation disc with Turkish gradation. The movement is protected by a gilt-brass dust cover, which has apertures for the two winding arbors and the regulation disc. Both dust cover and backplate are signed and numbered by the maker: George Prior London 11773.
The white enamel dial has a black chapter ring with Turkish numerals, Turkish five-minute and minute divisions. The time is indicated by a pair of blued-steel poker and beetle hands. The dial is signed above and below the middle of the dial George Prior London.
The firegilt silver case of this coach watch is elaborately pierced and engraved with floral and leaf motifs. There is an engraved townscape in an engraved cartouche near the VI whilst the back is engraved with a bouquet of flowers. The dial is protected by a comnvex glass in a bezel with a catch at the bottom to open the case. Upon opening another catch is revealed with which the case can be unlocked and turned outwards. Near the III is a strike/silent button, with which the striking can be turned off. The bell is situated on the inside of the case. At the top is a pendant with suspension ring. The gilt-silver outer case is pierced and engraved with flower and vine motifs. On the basis of the hallmarks on the inside of the outer case the watch can be dated around 1817. The case maker has signed his work with his initials: I. R.
Duration 24 hours
Diameter 8.5 cm
Diameter of the outer case 10 cm
– B. Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, London, 2006, p. 622
– P. T. Priestley, Watch Case Makers of England, NAWCC, 1994, pp. 86 and 118.
George Prior was born in 1765 and was active as a clock and watchmaker in London until 1812. He was specialised in making clocks and watches for the Ottoman market and was succeeded by his son Edward.
The case maker
The initials I.R. stand for John Radcliffe, who was established at Prujean Square, London, which was destroyed during WWII