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Gilded Watch with Multiple Dials

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Period: Late-18th century
Origin: England
Dimensions: 8 × 12 × 4.5 cm

This is a double-sided pocket watch with a fusee system and verge escapement. The watch features an array of dials. One side has only a large enamel dial. On this enamel dial, the hours are denoted with Roman numerals, the five-minute marks are in Arabic numerals, and each minute is marked by dots. Lunar calendar dates are denoted with red Arabic numerals. The hour and minute hands are in the Beetle & Poker style, and there is another hand to indicate the moon phase.

The other side has a large dial and three smaller sub-dials. On the large enamel dial are marks to indicate seconds, while the five-minute marks are in Arabic numerals. Each minute is marked with a line, and between each line are three dots. On the upper sub-dial, the hour marks are in Roman numerals, and the fifteen-minute marks are in Arabic numerals. On the calendar sub-dial (located at about 8 o’clock), Arabic numerals indicate the date for every other day, and between each is a dot. On the regulator sub-dial (located at about 4 o’clock), the even numbers from 2 to 30 are marked with Arabic numerals and interspersed with dots. The hands for the hour and minute hands are in the Beetle & Poker style. The hands for the calendar are of brass or gold. The regulator hand is of blackened steel; the long second hand in the middle is also of blackened steel.

A British balance cock design would not have worked for this double-sided piece. There is a windup handle located at about 11 o’clock (by the hour/minute sub-dial) that passes through the dial.

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Palace Museum