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What Charles Hanson called “a truly magnificent and historically important object” had come from the Belper estate of a north Derbyshire man linked to the mining industry.

Although it was not catalogued as such, the clock has a double fusee movement fitted with a complex trip repeating mechanism.

If the cords attached to two short arms at the back of the clock are pulled, the hour and quarter hour are struck on two bells of different pitch, a valuable feature in darkness.

The dial includes a mock pendulum and date apertures, plus regulation and strike/not strike dials to the corners f lanking the signature Tho. Tompion Londini Fecit.

Quarter repeater

A number of similar Tompion quarter repeaters are known with the same case and dial arrangement that are typically dated to the late 1690s.

The example (with a contemporary oak carrying case) sold as part of the collection of horologist George Daniels at Sotheby’s in November 2012 was numbered 287 for c.1697.

Another in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is numbered 35.

Although it post-dated Tompion’s numbering system (begun in the early 1680s and carried on after his death in 1713 by business partner and fellow innovator George Graham), the Derbyshire clock sold at Hansons did not appear to be numbered.

A UK buyer tendered the winning bid via thesaleroom. com on October 12.