Dreweatts auctions £20,000 innovative William III alarm clock

Donnington in Berkshire, UK, will play host to Dreweatt's auction of Fine Clocks, Barometers and Scientific instruments on September 7.

Among the sale's historic highlights will be this fine William III quarter repeating ebony table clock with alarm by Richard Colston. The piece is traced to London in the late 17th century.

Features of the clock include a fully-latched seven finned pillar rack and bell striking movement, with verge escapement and pull quarter repeater on three bells powered from its strike train.

The clock's foliate engraved black plate is signed "Rich: Colston, LONDON", surrounded by a herringbone border.

Richard Colston was made Free of the Clockmakers Company by patrimony in 1682. He ceased to pay his quarterage in 1702, and was believed to have died soon after this date.

The rare William III quarter repeating ebony table clock with alarm 

This timepiece belongs to a rare group of table clocks which employ an unusual form of quarter repeat mechanism powered directly from the strike train, rather than from a separate spring wound by pulling the repeat cord.

The advantage of this layout is that it has freed-up enough space between the plates to allow for the provision of an innovative alarm mechanism.

This is evident in the seven-inch square brass dial with an alarm disc in its matted centre, along with a Roman numeral chapter ring with Arabic five minutes and stylised sword-hilt half hour markers.

The unique and historic timepiece will appear in Dreweatt's September 7 auction with an estimated pre-sale value of £15,000-20,000.


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