Pocket Watches

Quarter repeating hour striking center seconds musical duplex watch

    Quarter repeating hour striking center seconds musical duplex watch

    Switzerland, Geneve

    Circa 1835


    Gold, enamel, glass, metal alloys, pearls; painted enamel, champlevé, engraving

    6.3 cm in diameter
    0.9 cm thick

    Movement - "VOUMARD LOCLE".
    The case's cover - "18К", "624", "G", "B".

    Mechanical pocket watch in round enamel-adorned case, with two lids, the repeater lever in the shape of a crown with a sliding pin and a ring. The case lid is rimmed with small pearls and decorated with the painted image of a pair of doves against bright green background surrounded by flowers, glass movement lid.

    White enamel dail; numerals and  hours' scale graduations are black, gilded hands. Three scales are on the dial: seconds' - divided by dots; minutes,' - divided into 60 intervals with Arabic numerals; and hours' - divided into 12 units with Roman numerals. The bezel is adorned with pearls. The movement, decorated by chasing, with balance wheel, spring powered duplex escapement, hourly striking by two hammers, repeater, barrel drum for the music movement, sliding stopper for striking and tunes, and hands indicating hours, minutes and seconds. The watch is key-winded, the same key is used to set the hands.

    Watches intended for the Chinese market had certain outer distinguishing features. Geneve merchant, Charles de Constant (1762-1835), who spent many years in Canton and Macao, studied the preferences of the Chinese buyers and made appropriate recommendations to Geneva watchmakers. His advice was to take into account not just the tastes, but also the local weather conditions. The watches intended for China, for instance, were to be fitted with music movements and automata, and their cases decorated with pearls and colour enamel. The second hand should be in the centre of the face, together with the hour and minute hands, due to the high humidity leading to various technical issues. Thus, the desire of Geneva watchmakers to account for the local market reflected in a number of features one can clearly see in their items. For instance, hands in the Geneva watches intended for China were made of steel, and a small seconds dial was a rarity. The face was usually covered with white enamel, and the dial units were marked with Roman numerals that apparently were more acceptable to the Chinese, possibly because they resembled hieroglyphs. (See: Neglinskaya M. A. Mechanical watches in the China under Qing dynasty (18th – early 20th centuries)).