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Abraham Gribelin (1589 - 1671)
Oval gilt-brass and silver cased verge watch with astronomical dial and sun-rise sun-set table

Movement: Gribelin Blois, c. 1630

case; gilt-brass, silver

case 83.1 mm length case 54.1 mm width case 31.9 mm thickness movement 42 mm length movement 37.1 mm width pillar 10.2 mm height

Case: Oval gilt-brass and silver case with integral back and hinged lid. The silver lid is cast and chased in high relief with a depiction of Orpheus playing to the Animals. The back, decorated in a similar style, depicts Minerva, Venus and Juno. The inside of the lid is engraved with a table of sunrise/sunset times. The cast pendant is screwed into the case band, the finial is rivetted. Dial: Silver dial plate engraved with foliate scroll ornament in the spandrel spaces. At the bottom an oval aperture reveals the days of the week. A wide gilt-brass ring is engraved in concentric circles for the date, months, and the degrees and signs of the zodiac. Within this ring is a silver chapter-ring with hours I-XII and arrow-head half-hour marks. The chamfered inside edge of the chapter-ring is calibrated 1-292 for the age of the moon. A central gilt-brass disc is engraved with an aspectarium incorporating an aperture for the moon's phase. A steel pointer registers against the gilt-brass calendar ring and a central blued-steel hand shows the time. The back of the dial plate has an engraved border to surround the movement. Movement: Oval gilt-brass plates with four baluster pillars. Mainspring barrel with ratchet and click set-up; fusee with gut line and standard stop-work; three wheel train; verge escapement; later pierced foliate balance cock pinned to a stud on the back plate. Striking train powered by a fixed gilt-brass barrel pierced and engraved with foliate scrolls and with geared stop-work; six wheel train of solid gilt-brass wheels, the last a weighted pinion. Count-wheel controlled striking with warned release, the silver count-wheel, numbered 1-12 and with a rose at the centre, is mounted on the back plate. Movement signed: Gribelin Blois Abraham Gribelin, the son of Simon Gribelin, watchmaker and engraver of Blois, was born in 1589 and became established as a watchmaker in his own right in 1614, succeeding his father as Clockmaker to King Louis XIII. He was the father to fifteen children born between 1620 and 1638 to his wife née Judith Festeau. He died in 1671 at the age of 72 Literature: Gerhard König, Die Uhr, Berlin 1991, ill.57-60 D. Thompson, 'Watches in the Ashmolean Museum: Part 1', Antiquarian Horology, Vol XXV, pp.512 - 514, figs. 24-29 D. Thompson, 'Watches in the Ashmolean Museum' Ashmolean Handbooks, 2007 Notes: 1. The times of sunrise and sunset are those relevant for use at latitude 52o -53o North. Blois is on a parallel slightly greater than 48o North, making it clear that the watch was made specifically for someone living in Northern Europe, perhaps Amsterdam. 2. For a similar dial, see J.F. Kendal, History of Watches, 1892, fig. 22, where a watch by Pierre Combret of Lyons. is illustrated.

Captain H.G. Wilbraham
Sotheby's, 1939

Thompson (2007) 9

Bequeathed by J. Francis Mallett, 1947.