The James McCabe name and the House of McCabe is part of a watchmaking dynasty that lasted for over a century and furnished luminaries with timepieces that are now enshrined in the annals of history
James McCabe was born in 1748, in the town of Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland. McCabe was born into a watchmaking family of 4 brothers. His father Patrick McCabe was himself a watchmaker and supplied clocks and instruments to the community.
The McCabe family became known for their commercial interests and their involvement in local politics.
Thomas McCabe in particular became a noted watchmaker, industrialist and anti-slavery activist remembered for his opposition to the slave trade in Belfast.
Moving to Belfast, James McCabe apprenticed under his brother before setting shop in London in 1775, where he set up his own business in Bells Building, Fleet Street.
James McCabe and his descendants would continue to produce timepieces becoming one of Britain’s most prolific watchmakers with over 50,000 watches, 7000 clocks and 500 marine chronometers produced in its 100 year history.
Among notable owners of McCabe timepieces were Lord Horatio Nelson, and the first President of the United States – George Washington who purchased his McCabe pocket watch in Philadelphia in 1793.
The House of McCabe was renowned for the sheer variety of its designs and the creativity and prestige of their manufacture was celebrated and revered by owners worldwide. These pieces remain highly collectable today and fetch increasingly higher prices at auction houses worldwide.