An exceptional and very rare early Thomas Mudge lever escapement pair cased gold pocket watch. An early and highly sought after collectors/museum piece/model. Numbered 474 one of Mudges first masterpieces and signed by the great man himself. Exquisite in every aspect. Watchmaker/horologist to King George III, Mudges works of art/watches are held in The V & A, Science Museum, Royal Greenwich Museum, British Museum, Royal Collection and countless other institutions of importance.
Thomas Mudge (1715 - 1794) was responsible for the invention of the lever escapement – the greatest single improvement ever applied to wristwatches. The most famous example of this innovation is the watch Mudge made for George III (1738-1820) and presented to Queen Charlotte in 1776.
Born in Exeter in 1715, Mudge was apprenticed as a young man to the celebrated clock, watch and instrument maker George Graham who was understudy to Thomas Tompion in the Clockmakers' Company, London. He excelled there, and in 1738 became a Freeman of the Company, before opening his own business at the 'Dial and Crown' in Fleet Street in 1750. At this time, Mudge had a permanent commission from Ferdinand, King of Spain, and his reputation as a supplier soon brought him to the notice of George III.
During this period, Mudge created the earliest known example of a lever escapement, which ensures the movement of a clock's hands at a steady rate. In 1776, he incorporated this device into a watch made for Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), describing it as 'the most perfect watch that can be worn in the pocket, that was ever made'. Mudge's innovation was the forerunner of almost all modern wrist and pockets watches, and was also the first pocket watch to include an automatic device which compensated for changes in temperature.
Mudge was heavily involved in efforts to develop a marine chronometer, although his designs proved too intricate to be easily reproduced. In 1776, Mudge was appointed Royal Watchmaker to King George and acted as an expert for the board of longitude.
Rarely do Mudges works come to the open market and historical sales at Sothebys and Bonhams prices have exceeded estimates of £50,000 - £80,000.
Movement all in working order with key. Original beautiful decorative horn case case.
Gentle harmonious sound to mechanism. Dating from circa 1755 this is a beautiful piece of history to be admired as the work of art it is. A must for any serious collector.
As a genuine antique/vintage piece there is wear and use commensurate with age. Some wooden products may have signs of historic woodworm. As a precaution we apply a clear triple action woodworm treatment that also kills wet rot, dry rot and woodworm. Please look at all the images carefully and ask any questions pre purchase as we do not unfortunately offer refunds due to the size and shipping costs of our antiques/items. All our items are available on line at Search & Rescued and other online stores