From a Clock to a Watch
One of the more interesting and unique exclusive products we have produced this year is our leather strap watch, based on the clock face of the North West Tower of Westminster Abbey.
The West Towers of Westminster Abbey were the last major addition to the Abbey and were made around 500 years after Henry III first started construction of the building.
As you can see in the image above the west side of the Abbey looked quite unfinished before this addition was made in the 1700s; with the two towers being of unequal height and not reaching the top of the Nave roof. It was Christopher Wren who decided that they needed to be completed to ensure the Abbey looked at its most magnificent and so he wrote to the Dean of Westminster, Thomas Sprat, in 1713 to raise the issue. He felt that the towers should be raised so they exceeded the height of the roof of the Nave and so that the bells could be heard from a greater distance by sitting higher above the main structure. He believed they should be extended and that this should be done in the existing gothic style of the building. This was unusual, as during this period it was common to add to buildings in the current style of the day rather than respecting the previous architectural style that it was built in. Wren died before his plan could be taken any further and the project was given to his protégée, Nicholas Hawksmoor. Sadly Hawksmoor did not get to the see the project completed either as he died in 1736, nine years before the towers reached completion.
The inspiration for our watch has come directly from the clock that adorns the North West tower. The clock was made and installed by John Seddon in 1738 (seven years before the towers were finished). The clock was made with only an hour hand as it was common for tower clocks (and a fair number of domestic clocks) at this time. The Abbey clock wore out and the movement was replaced in 1861. Remarkably – and perhaps to save money – the original dials by Seddon were retained and the clock was not fitted with minute hands. It was perhaps felt unnecessary, as in 1854 the clock which we incorrectly call Big Ben was installed in St Stephen’s Tower which does have minute hands on each face.
In creating this beautiful watch we have considered the needs of our customers, and so whilst the design of the dial has been faithfully replicated we have included a minute and second hand so accurate timekeeping can be maintained. You can see more about this exquisite product by clicking here.