Matthew Dutton No. 1575
A rare and important, previously unrecorded early lever watch. Circa 1800.
Later purpose-built silver gilt engine-turned case hallmarked Chester 1839, casemaker JH (probably John Helsby, Liverpool).
Original one piece enamel dial. Gold beetle & poker hands.
Emery pattern fullplate fusee movement with engraved balance-bridge, prominent gallows-stud and balance-brake operating on the underside of the balance via a sprung steel detent, the movement with Lepine-type gilt movement ring and attached dome with further signature. Emery-type straight line detached lever escapement with polished steel escape wheel with teeth slotted for oil retention, and with Pendleton’s later fork - the roller jewel on the opposite side, away from the escape, creating less friction between the jewel and fork when in action. Compensation balance of ‘OZ’ form, but with the brass balance having attached bimetallic strips with adjustment screws let into tapped holes at their free end. 8-turn blued-steel helical balance-spring without terminal curves.
60 mm diameter case, not including the pendant.
This is one of two similar early lever watches known by the firm. The other, a repeater, is numbered 1571 and bears the signature of Matthew & Thomas Dutton. It is in a gold case hallmarked 1800 and was part of the collection formed by George Daniels. This example is signed for Matthew Dutton on his own and the two watches mark the end of the brother’s partnership. Matthew became Master of the clockmakers Company in 1800 and either of these watches could well be associated with that appointment, being eminently suitable to show off to the membership.
Josiah Emery is known to have produced thirty or so such lever watches based on the model supplied by Mudge, via Count von Bruhl, to Emery. The escapement maker used by Emery was Richard Pendleton who is known to have finished a few others after Emery’s death in 1797.
Both these watches are probably Pendleton’s work, possibly finished from the stock destined for Emery. Their balances differ from Pendleton’s work for Emery, however, and are probably associated with Robert Pennington, being the earliest known examples to have adjusting screws held in tapped holes in the bimetallic rim. Both these Dutton lever watches have similar balances and a close association between Pendleton, Pennington and the Dutton’s is not surprising given the former’s work for Thomas Mudge junior in manufacturing box chronometers on his father’s plan a few years earlier.