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Coach watch: M/P.36-1913

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker of movement: Margetts, George
Maker of bells: Traecher, Andrew




Cylinder musical coach watch with automated scene inside back

MOVEMENT: Dial inscribed 'Geo. Margetts LONDON'. Top plate kidney-shaped cut-out to take the bells, pin drum and hammers. Cock for pin drum. Edge of plate and hole chased, with an applied painted plaque of a water-mill, with the mill wheel a painted brass disc, fixed on an extension of the pivot of the second wheel of the musical train. All covered by a painted domed brass disc on four feet, with irregular hole over the mill, painted with a mill pond and trees with fisherman and a driver watering his horses. Back of disc with two pullys around which runs a chain carrying five brass plaques shaped and painted as boats. One pulley has a pinion driver by the pin drum, back of disc stamped '2'. Pillar plate with four turned pillars with rib and tapered ends, hole for bells. Reverse fusee and chain, plain barrel, set up click under dial. Off-set second wheel. Under dial, fourth wheel in centre and escape wheel and balance. Cylinder escapement with brass wheel and steel cylinder. Musical train with reverse fusee, five pinions regulated by fan between plates and through top plate. Dial plate was four pillars and edge chased with hole for balance and balance bridge screwed to it. Balance bridge is pierced and engraved with a lyre at the top and regulation crescent at bottom with two dragons engraved 'Fast' and 'Slow'.

DIAL: White enamel on copper. Outer radial Arabic 5 second figures, second ring of line with cross-lines. Time dial above centre with ring, with cross-lines minute ring. Radial Roman chaptes. Below centre two circles, right hand circle marked 'CHIME' at top, and 'NOT CHIME' at bottom. Left hand circle marked 'SONG' at top, and 'DANCE' at bottom. When selecting 'CHIME', the chosen tune can be played automatically at 12, 3, 6 or 9 o'clock, or on demand by depressing the push-piece at the top of the watch. When the music is played, an automated scene is activated at the back, where the water wheel rotates and the five boats pass by in succession
Time winding hole, bushed, at 60 seconds and music winding hole at 43 1/2 second. Hole for balance bridge above 30 seconds.

HANDS: Gold, plain second hand with crescent moon counterpoise, minute hand missing, hour hand beetle, chime hand with heart-shaped pointer and crescent counterpoise, song/dance hand as chime, but counter poise missing.

BELLS: Nest of five, scratched inside, largest bell 'Drury London', '3 1/3' over '14 3/4' and 'c/16' next 'd/18'. Also 'Andrew Traecher' above '6 Grand Hotel' above 'Buildings' above 'London' above '291192' middle bell 'e/20' next bell 'f/21' smallest bell 'g/23'.

CASE: Gilt brass with enamel, painting, rubies and pearls. Opening front and back. Body rim thin central flange engraved, bottom of pendant stamped '2'. Bezel pierced and chased with musical trophies, solid crescents at quarter, edge of glass opening set with alternative pearls and red glass rectangles, scratched inside '381' and 'co/-/-'. Back bezel as front, inside stamped '2', glass replaced by plaque of translucent blue enamel over engine turning. Counter enamel painted with scene of travellers on horses outside a classical building. Plain pendant, top engraved with round 'ruby' on top of central music push piece. Stirrup bow.


History note: Unknown before Frank Gray Smart

Legal notes

Frank Gray Smart Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1913) by Smart, Frank Gray


18th Century, Late
George III
Production date: circa AD 1780


The enamel back of the watch, replacing a glass, is not in keeping with the rest of the case and the painting on its inside is not in keeping with the painting on the movement. The back was probably added to the watch in the 19th century. This panel obstructs the view of the water wheel which works whenever the music is played.

This large and rare coach watch plays two different tunes: 'Song' and 'Dance' selected via the left dial. The chosen tune can be played automatically at 3, 6, 9 or 12 o'clock by selecting 'Chime' on the right dial, or on demand by depressing the push-piece at the top of the watch. Whenever the music is played, an automated scene of a water-mill pond is activated at the back of the watch, in which a water-wheel rotates and five boats pass by in succession.

Components of the work

Dial, Case composed of enamel ( white)
Case composed of paste (red) pearl glass Diameter 93.75 mm Height 113.5 mm Thickness 41 mm
Dial composed of copper
Hands, Case composed of gold
Movement composed of steel
Movement, Case composed of brass (alloy)
Movment (dial Plate) Diameter 71 mm
Movement (top Plate) Diameter 74.75 mm
Movement (pillar Plate) Diameter 77 mm
Movment (pillar) Height 11.75 mm
Back Of Case

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Geo. Margetts LONDON
  • Location: On dial at bottom
  • Type: Maker's name
  • Text: Andrew Traecher/6 Grand Hotel/Buildings/London/291192
  • Location: On bell
  • Type: Inscription
  • Location: On face above and below left dial and right of dial
  • Method of creation: Written in black
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M/P.36-1913
Primary reference Number: 200548
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 10 February 2015 Updated: Wednesday 14 March 2018 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Coach watch" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-04 11:00:55

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