Pocket Watches

Gold and enamel musical quarter repeater, with key, in the box

    Gold and enamel musical quarter repeater, with key, in the box

    Switzerland, Geneve

    Circa 1820

    Piguet & Meylan

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

    5.5. cm in diamter
    0.9 cm thick

    On the dial welt: "9348", "PIGUET ET MEYLAN A GENEVE". On the case and movement lids: "9348"


    Musical mechanical pocket watch in round gold case decorated with floral ornament with inset pearls, with two lids, repeater lever in the shape of a hub with ring adorned with enamel and pearls. The case lid rimmed with small pearls, features the painting of a young man and girl in the ancient clothes sitting under the tree. The movement lid is adorned with the polychrome image on blue field, flowers in the bouquet holder framed with floral scrollwork.

    White enamel dial, numerals and graduations of hour scale are black, and the Breguet hands are from blued steel. The dial has two scales: minute - divided into 60 graduations with Arabic numerals, and the hour - divided into 12 graduations with Roman numerals. The bezel is edged with small pearls.

    The movement adorned with engraving, with balance wheel, spring-powered cylinder escapement, quarter repeater on two gongs, music movement with comb, and hands indicating hours, minutes and seconds. The watch is key winded, the same key is used to set the hands. The sliding lever to start the tune is located on the case, opposite the numeral VI.

    The key is decorated with the two-side insert of feminine portraits on translucent red enamel guilloche field. The watch is stored in wooden box.


    Intended for the Chinese market.

    The first mechanical clocks and watches were brought to China by an Italian Jesuit missionary, Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), at the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) some of whose members showed interest in clockwork and astronomical measurement instruments. With the onset of the Manchu era, clocks and other modern age astronomical instruments from the West came in regularly. Although in the 17th – early 18th centuries the local clocks and watches market in China was only emerging, the reign of Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795) marked the boom that continued until mid-19th century and benefited from the best Western watches made for China. The specimens that were imported between 1715 and 1774 and started imitations in China came mostly from England. Later in the 18th century France and Switzerland (Geneva) moved to the fore. Significantly, the Chinese nobility wanted to have only the best clocks and watches, with complicated mechanisms – music movements, repeaters or automatons. There were special requirements for the case too: it had to be decorated with painted enamel of a landscape or a classic scene, and edged with a sash of pearls or precious stones. The watch as shown combines a complicated movement and a “beautifully” decorated case and is a good example of such watches made to order for a Chinese grandee. (See: Neglinskaya M.A. Collecting interior clocks at the time by the Qing dynasty court, and its role in the 18th century watchmaking [in Russian])