William Reeves

Many provincial makers were capable of producing good quality watches. This maker, William Reeves, had his shop in Rye, an old port town in East Sussex on the English Channel. It features an interesting and perhaps unique three arm brass engraved balance that depicts female faces, and long streamers with inward facing sea monsters - - no doubt a reflection of Reeves' sea faring clientele. A glass over the balance protects it from dirt and damage from careless handling. Remember, this is a time when witches, devils, monsters and other nefarious creatures were commonly used to explain events that the scientific community could not. Another nice depiction of sea creatures is on a Dutch watch made by Vand Hegge.

William Reeves Pocket Watch

Circa 1715, gilt-brass verge and fusee movement signed WILLM REEVES RYE with inward facing block letters. No serial number. Egyptian pillars and decorative fusee stop-work foot. Restored champleve silver dial signed REEVES RYE. Tulip style hands.

Plain silver pair case. Inner case has a 7-knuckle hinge with makers’ mark “HR” (likely Henry Rawlins), outer case has a 5-knuckle hinge and is not marked. 56 mm.

Early English Pocket Watch
Sea Monsters Watch
Brass Balance Cock
Henry Rawlins Case Maker
Rye England Pocket Watch

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Brian Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, N.A.G. Press, 2006

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