Many had a provenance to the collection of TP Camerer Cuss, the author of several books on the subject including The Country Life Book of Watches (1967) and The Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches (1976) in which some of the watches were pictured.
Leading the Watches and Wristwatches sale was a fine and rare gold and ruby set key wind triple-case pocket watch with a shagreen outer case by Joseph Martineau. The height of luxury when it was made c.1760, it is set with 441 rubies forming a radiating circle to the back and bezel of the middle case and further decoration to the white enamel dial.
In what Bonhams called ‘remarkable’ condition, it was last sold at auction in 1958 when it took £380 at Sotheby’s. Estimated at £20,000-30,000, it brought £38,000 (plus 27.5/26% buyer’s premium).
Martineau is recorded as working in London from 1744- 94, first at Orange Street and then later at St Martin’s Court.
Sold towards the top end of expectations at £17,000 was a rare silver and leather key wind pair case pocket watch with a pinwork case, c.1670. Signed for William Snow in Marlebrough [sic] he is thought to be the son of Nicholas Snow of nearby Salisbury who in his will stated “my working tooles belonging to my trade shall be kept and preserved for the use and benefit of my said sonne William Snowe”.
The accuracy and performance of watches greatly improved when the movements were made with four- rather than three-wheel trains, and this is an early example. Purchased from Dennis Brown c.1947, it was illustrated in FJ Britten’s Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers (1956).