Gene Clark exemplified American watchmaking at its best. We’re not talking E. Howard, Waltham and Elgin. That was kid’s stuff in comparison to Clark. He ranks up there with the likes of George Daniels in that he made everything, and I mean everything, by hand using old tools and ordinary watch and clock making equipment. We’re talking balance springs, plates, dials, hands and jewels, yes jewels! Not even the big brands can claim that feat.
If you think this watch resembles the work of Breguet or George Daniels, then Clark is certainly smiling from his heavenly watchmaking bench. He wasthefirst American watchmaker to make a tourbillon in the style of Breguet,a man whose work greatly influenced him.
Number 7, as the watch is known, is the final piece in a total production of just seven tourbillons over Clark’s lifetime. It’s a tourbillon with constant force escapement, two rare elements coming together. Any precision freak will go crazy over the Earnshaw-type chronometer escapement with Peto Cross detent. Together the carriage of the tourbillon and the escapementconsist of over 80 parts. It took 4000 hours and almost four years to develop and complete this masterpiece.
Not only is number 7 technically sophisticated but also it’s very beautiful. The movement layout with the two barrels is symmetrical and pleasing to the eye and the blued screws just pop against the gilt finish. Exemplifying the detailed craftsmanship of Clark, the unique sunburst pattern on the engine-turned dial was done on a machine designed by him. The case is composed of Clarks’ special 19K gold alloy, a true beauty with engraved floral and foliage decoration and engine-turned gold center. Lynton McKenzie who is considered one of the finest gun-engravers, is responsible for the engraving, the only part of the watch that isn’t from Clark’s hand.
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