The Ray Butcher Collection of Pocket Watches and Carriage Clocks - Springtime Auction!


Our Springtime 4th/5th of April Auction will include The Ray Butcher Collection of Pocket Watches and Carriage Clocks!

Pocket watches will be sold on Tuesday 4th April and Carriage clocks on Wednesday 5th April.

Ray Butcher (2nd November 1939 – 28th December 2014)

                                        Ray Butcher

Ray was born in Hemel Hempstead and joined the Navy on leaving school at 15 initially as a Shipwright which allowed him to travel the world whilst working his way up the ranks to become an Officer. When Chatham Dockyard closed Ray left the Navy and ran a small shop in Thanet for a number of years before starting a very successful building business which he carried on for over 20 years. Rays skills were in carpentry and joinery and he was never slow to remind people that he favoured chainsaws to cut the joists and rafters when constructing a roof.

His interest was in history and all things mechanical from steam engines to ancient roasting spits but with a special regard to clocks and watches. His particular interest was in the very fine work of the very early English clock and watchmakers who put in time and effort to create something to be proud of and others would envy, at the same time demonstrating their skill as craftsmen.

He was an active member of the Antiquarian Horological Society and would regularly attend the branch meetings in Maidstone. He would rarely miss the Annual meeting at Greenwich and would attend some of the special meetings held in the Students rooms of the British Museum. It was at some of the meetings that he could inspect at close quarters some of the very fine work of the best English clock and watchmakers, much of which was not always apparent to the casual observer.

Ray was a regular visitor to the Dorset Steam Fair and had an interest in early classical cars, some of which he restored. His horological activities extended out to a comparatively modest collection of clocks, watches, early clock makers tools and horological books. He was an avid reader of all things historical, in particular the Royal Navy, of which he had a very high regard and very fond memories – I don’t think he ever left the uniform behind.

 He was a true family man having lived in Kent for the past 40 years and it was his wish, and that of his daughter, that his collection should be sold through The Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Ray was someone who truly believed that if we studied the past we would create a better world for the future and if a very fine pocket watch was beating away in your waistcoat you were keeping in touch with a master craftsman of a bygone age.  

We are particularly indebted to Mr Clive Driscoll, a long term friend, for this introduction and also assisting his daughter in bringing the collection back to Canterbury from the North of Scotland.

Highlights of the collection include -


Lot 232 - A good mid-18th Century gold coloured metal repousse gilt metal and shagreen covered triple cased verge pocket watch by John Cater of London, No .5930, the white enamel dial with Roman and Arabic numerals, the verge movement with finely pierced and engraved watch cock and back and pierced rectangular pillars, contained in plain gold coloured metal inner case, repousse centre case boldly embossed and chased with two classical figures, attendants looking on and with pyramid to background, with gilt metal and green shagreen covered outer case, 53mm diameter overall (shagreen to outer case worn and damaged) - Estimate £1000-1500


Lot 233 - A good early George III silver and green shagreen covered pair cased verge pocket watch by Thomas Mudge of London, No.704, the white enamel dial with Roman and Arabic numerals, to the verge movement with finely pierced and engraved watch cock with jeweled centre and with rectangular baluster pillars, contained in plain silver inner case and green shagreen carved outer case, 50mm diameter, with fitted and engraved dust cover, watch hallmarked London 1763 (shagreen replaced in recent years) Note: Thomas Mudge an eminent maker - born 1715, member of The Clockmakers Company 1738, liveryman of The Clockmakers Company 1766, died 1794 - Estimate £1000-1500


Lot 1042 - A good mid-19th Century French carriage clock by Bolviller of Paris, No.197W, the white enamel dial with Roman numerals, to the two train movement with chronometer escapement and striking on a bell, contained in ornate gilt brass and bevelled glass rectangular case, frieze and uprights cast with bold leaf scroll ornament, with lions masks corner panels, the shaped folding handle cast mask and scrollwork, 6ins high (lacking key) - Estimate £800-1200


Lot 1043 - A late 19th/early 20th Century French carriage clock, the 2ins diameter cream enamel dial with gilt Arabic numerals and gilt brass champleve enamel slip, to the eight day two train movement with alarum striking and repeating on a gong, contained in rectangular gilt brass champleve enamel and bevelled glass case boldly decorated with floral and leaf scroll ornament, on a turquoise ground, 6.5ins high (lacking key and strike hammer present but not connected - one side panel extensively chipped along bevelled edge) - Estimate £300-400



< Return to Blog