We recently carried out an extremely interesting bespoke clock making project. The brief was to design and reverse engineer a movement and case to ‘replicate/restore’ the original manufacture of the object based upon the only surviving aspects – the dial and hands. The dial was a lovely example of Joseph Knibbs’ work, circa 1675. It displayed two very interesting features. One was the very low locations for the original winding holes, and the second was the engraving of the chapter ring being IV rather than IIII for four o’ clock.
These two features demonstrate that the clock was originally a three month Roman striking long case clock of a very specific type. Knibb only made a very few of these clocks and they are subsequently extremely rare and valuable. Not being able to access an original example for research we had to design the replacement movement and case from photographs and sketches.
A replica movement was subsequently manufactured by hand, in house and was the result of many months of detailed and skilled work. A slide show of some of the work involved is shown below.
The case was also reverse engineered and was made from seasoned oak and veneered inPear before being Ebonised. The hinges, lock, catches and ‘spoon’ were all forged by hand by Piotr Dullek. The finials, feet and capitals were all cast from ‘yellow’ brass and then gilded. The frets were designed after an original period design and then cut by hand.
The case is a very specific style associated with Knibb from this period and includes the period rising hood style.
Now up on our YouTube channel is the latest installment in the Knibb reconstruction series.
In this episode we showcase the process of crossing out the great wheels. This is done in the traditional manner, by hand with a piercing saw and files. Many hours of work go into making components such as this.
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We have just added a selection of high quality gold watches just in time for you to finish your Christmas shopping.
The selection includes a superb crisp and almost unused example of a high quality solid gold pocket watch by Waltham. The watch is in almost perfect condition and even comes complete with its original presentation case and leather pouch. An absolute bargain at £995.00
Completing the line-up is a brace of Jaeger Le Coultre gold dress watches. These extremely high quality watches are vastly underrated and extremely good value when compared to their contemporary Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe models.
There are few names in Horology which really move the soul and inspire one to dream the dreams of a maker. Breguet is one of them, and this particular name went on to inspire undoubtedly the finest watchmaker of our time. George Daniels. Much has been written on the output of this great man, and I don’t feel that I would do justice to begin describing the complexity and wonder of his creations, however I do feel compelled to highlight one of his most famous pieces – ‘The Space Travellers’ Pocket Watch’.
This watch has recently been truly in focus in the watch world following it’s recent sale where it reached a staggering £3.2 million.
This tour de force of horology was completed by Daniels following the sale of a previous version. The first watch had a mechanical error in the calculation of the sidereal train, something which all clocks and watches containing this function had also been subject to. This was improved on for the second watch with the help of Daniels friend, another Daniels, Professor Henry Daniels. He managed to successfully design a train with ratios giving an accuracy in the calculation of 0.28 seconds per year.
Completed in 1982 the ‘Space Traveller’ has to be one of the finest and most important pocket watches of recent times. Yes there are others, you are probably screaming out at me “what about the ‘Graves’ Patek?!” – the most complicated (and expensive) watch ever made at the time and selling most recently in 2014 for a whopping $24,000,000.
The only watch that I can think of which comes close is the Breguet masterpiece made famously for Marie-Antoinette, but even this somehow lacks the essence captured by Daniels. All of these watches, perfect and magnificent in their own ways, somehow lack the purity of thought and design displayed by Daniels. I don’t believe that Daniels was striving to achieve super complication for the sake of it, or even for one upmanship, but simply as a way of improving a design which was open to improvement.
This clarity somehow makes the watch feel pure and honest, a quality which is surely the most super complication of them all.