(Enlarged Photo)

Fruitwood Bracket Clock by Charles Dupont

In 1795, the business of the eminent Swiss-born watchmaker Josiah Emery in Cockspur Street was taken over by the partnership of Louis Recordon and Charles Dupont, also of Swiss-French extraction.

Of the two partners, Recordon was the better-known, mainly because he acted as the London agent of the great Breguet. Dupont, however, was no mean designer in his own right and we have just restored one of his bracket clocks, which has several interesting features.

The ebonised fruitwood case is extensively brass-bound and very compact – only 11” high. The most striking feature is its architectural roof, culminating in a small finialed dome. The white enamel dial is marked “Dupont, late Emery’s”, and has a gilt-brass mask around it with an unusual diagonal design that mimics a textile pattern known as ‘4X4 tabby’. There is another aspect of the dial’s appearance that is not obvious at first glance: each of the twelve Roman numerals is set in the horizontal plane, whereas in a normal dial, the foot of each numeral points towards the centre of the circle. This stylistic feature is usually only to be found in Swiss watches of the same period, ie: c.1800.

The two-train movement has several technical characteristics, which also show Swiss-French influence, for example the mounting and springing of the bell-striking hammers. There are two bells: the larger is struck to give the hours and both are struck in succession to indicate the quarter hours, with a pull-cord that repeats the same information on demand to tell the time in the dark.

This is a unique clock, of an overall design not previously recorded in the literature.

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