Early and important sun and moon watch by Ahasuerus Fromanteel II, circa 1690, SN 834. Fromanteel SN 842 is in the Ashmolean Museum.
The Fromanteel family introduced pendulum clocks to England in 1658 and made exceptional clocks and watches from workshops located in both England and the Netherlands for two generations. Brothers John, Ahasuerus II, and Abraham, and their father, Ahasuerus senior, were well traveled and made watches and clocks for the English and Dutch markets from locations in both countries. This watch was made for the London market likely by Ahasuerus II who was running the business from The Hague and Amsterdam. It could have been retailed by younger brother Abraham who was located in London at this time.
Sun and Moon Pocket Watch
The movement is gilt-brass with a four wheel verge and fusee movement that is signed Fromanteel London in outward facing script. Intricate foliate balance table and foot that is not bordered. Four divided tulip pillars and divided decorative fusee stop-work foot. Silver regulator dial. No serial number on the movement but number 834 stamped on the outside of the box (inner case) as often found on early English watches of this period. This movement design with the fusee winding arbor at the neck of the balance cock and foot, and the foot attached with two screws is distinctive to very early Fromanteel watches.
Silver champlevé sun and moon dial with calendar and seconds signed FROMANTEEL LONDON, the name having a conjoined “T” and “E”. Split bezel. Cases have 7-knuckle hinges. Turtle shell outer case on brass, with silver and gold pique work around the circumference and bezel. Center design depicts birds and flowers, the silver and gold inlay now largely absent. Silver box (inner case) with makers mark “B” with a 5-pointed star above, likely made in Amsterdam.
Additional References and recommended reading:
Keith Bates, Early Clock and Watchmakers of the Blacksmiths' Company, Pendulum Publications, 2018
Jeremy Evans, Jonathan Carter, Ben Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, A Celebration of the Life and Work of Thomas Tompion, Water Lane Publishing, 2013
Richard Garnier, Leo Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, The early development of the pendulum clock in London, Fromanteel Ltd., 2018
Brian Loomes, Clockmakers of Britain, 1286-1700, Mayfield Books, 2014
Richard Newman, A Well-Traveled Fromanteel Watch, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 450 (March/April, 2021), pp. 99-106