William Harrison Pocket Watch

This very unusual and visually appealing dial configuration is called a “pendulum watch.” The faux pendulum was intended to entertain its owner, show that the watch was running, and perhaps was a reminder of the seemingly magical technology within. The effect is caused by modifying the shape of one of the oscillating balance arms to give the appearance of a free-swinging pendulum.

Having both the balance and fast-slow regulator on the front of the watch movement freed up the entire back plate to be artistically engraved.

William Harrison apprenticed to Richard Blundell from 1692/93 to 1699 (Loomes). This watch was made circa 1702.

Pendulum Pocket Watch

Sometimes the false pendulum was located on the back on the watch, a design that utilized a standard ébauche (rough or unfinished movement) and was relatively easy to make. But the owner had to open both cases and swing out the movement to see it (a particularly nice Dutch example is by Jacobus Vand Hegge). In contrast, the movement sold by this London maker was specifically designed for the balance and false pendulum to reside directly behind the dial. It was therefore much more expensive to make and repair, and is seldom seen.

Notice that the fast-slow regulator is also set through the dial, located next to the number 4. The catch to release the movement from the case is located next to the number 7.

The full-plate, gilded-brass movement is signed “William Harrison London” on both the dial and within a cartouche located in the center of the movement’s fully engraved back plate. The movement has four divided Egyptian pillars that are topped with decorative crests, and a divided fusee stop-work foot.

The sterling silver pair case has a maker’s mark “CC” with a coronet above likely for Christopher Cutting (Priestley). It has a split bezel. The case measures 59mm in diameter.

London Pocket Watch
William Harrison Watch
Early English Hallmarks

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Brian Loomes, Clockmakers of Britain, 1286-1700, Mayfield Books, 2014

  • Philip Priestley, British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, 2018