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A mantel clock representing an incident in the struggle between the Sabines and the Romans and an interpretation of Jacques-Louis David's painting when the Sabine women intervene to reconcile the warring parties. Romulus, to the right, is poised to hurl h
Keeping Time: Clocks in the Royal Collection

Extraordinary timepieces in the Royal Collection, 1630-1830

THOMAS MUDGE (1715/6-94)

Queen Charlotte's Lever Watch and Pedestal


RCIN 63759

George III's wife, Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), was said to keep ‘twenty-five watches, all highly adorn’d with jewels’ by her bed at Buckingham House, and this watch may have been added to them when it was acquired by him in 1770.  Its maker, Thomas Mudge (1715-1794), referred to it as the 'Queen's watch', claiming it was 'the most perfect watch that can be worn in the pocket, that was ever made'.  

Mudge's pride in his work was not misplaced.  This unique piece has been described as 'perhaps the most historically important watch in the world', since it incorporates the earliest known example of a lever escapement – which ensures the movement of the clock's hands at a steady rate.  With the exception of the balance spring, Mudge's invention is the greatest single improvement that has ever been applied to watches.  As such, this watch is the forerunner of almost all modern wrist and pocket watches.  In addition, it was the first pocket watch to include an automatic device which compensated for changes in temperature.

How It Works

    The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.