NAPOLEONIC AUTOMATON VERGE – 1795
This is a highly unique late 18th Century verge automaton watch that portrays the battle of Arcola. It comes with silver pair cases and a full plate gilt fusee movement. The bridge cock is finely pierced and engraved with an endstone in a polished steel setting, and the watch has a plain three-arm gilt balance with a blue steel spiral hairspring. There is a silver regulator dial with a gilt indicator and a white enamel dial with a small subsidiary of Arabic numerals and blue steel hands. The lower half of the dial showcases the battle of Arcola in polychrome enamel, where Napoleon is seen riding a black horse onto the bridge with his troops. The Croatian and Austrian forces are seen firing cannon on the right. The central part of the bridge has a semi-circular opening that reveals a rotating disc painted with cavalry riders appearing to charge across the bridge while the watch is in operation. The text, "Bataille bei Arcola gewonnen von Bonaparte - d16ten Novbr 1795" is displayed above the scene. The matching silver pair cases have a silver pendant and bow, with the inner case bearing faded hallmarks.
This antique watch is in excellent condition and is seldom seen with scenes depicting precise historical events. The battle of Arcola took place in Italy in November 1795 when Napoleon, frustrated by his forces' inability to take Arcole, led Augereau's troops forward for another assault on the bridge of Arcole over the Alpone River. The watch bears the name G Masterman London but is thought to be of French origin. It has a diameter of 64 mm and a depth of 14 mm.
Signed G Masterman London
Hallmarked London 1795
Diameter 64 mm
Depth 14 mm