James McCabe born in 1748 was the son of Patrick McCabe, himself a notable watchmaker from Lurgan in County Armagh in Ireland. James McCabe immigrated to London in 1775 where he established his own business in Bells Building, Fleet Street. On 2nd April 1781, James McCabe, was made an Honorary Freeman of the Clockmakers Company.
He progressed to the Livery in April 1787, Junior Warden in January 1809 rising to Senior Warden in 1811. Shortly therafter McCabe passed away and his company, now situated at 97 Cornhill Royal Exchange, was passed on to his sons Thomas, Robert and James Jr and formally taken over by Robert McCabe in 1833 until it closed for the last time in 1879. This illustrious watchmaking house, one of Britain’s finest and most prolific produced - 50,000 watches, 7,000 clocks and 500 marine chronometers in its 100 year history.
Among notable owners of McCabes was 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.