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Pair-case Watch

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Pair-case Watch

Artist: Simon DeCharmes (London, England; active 1688-1730)

Date: c. 1725
Medium: Gold, enamel, steel
66.7 x 47.6 x 25 mm
Markings: Movement: "Simon De Charmes, London" Reverse on dial: "IIG" (enameler's mark)
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 365
Label Text
The inner case of this watch is pierced and engraved with a pattern of birds, vines, and leaves. A boar hunt is depicted in repoussé work on the outer watch case. The stippled background contrasts the shiny gold figures.
Text Entries

The inner case of this watch is pierced and engraved with birds, vines, and leaves. The repousse scene on the back of the outer case portrays a boar hunt. A mounted huntsman, holding a spear in a striking stance, gives chase to a boar rearing its head back and snarling at the hunter, whose hound runs along in the foreground. The layout of the scene is characteristic of portrayals of St. George slaying the dragon. The background is stippled to provide contrast to the shiny gold scroll border with four cartouches, each centered by a portrait bust; pierced scroll panels complete the design. The frame of the exterior case, pierced with vignettes of a dog, squirrel, monkey, and stag, holds a glass cover through which the dial is viewed.

This piece is a typical example of a repeating watch construction. The inner case is fitted with a bell attached to the center of the case back by a single screw. The bell shape conforms closely to the shape of the case. Both the bell and the case are pierced by the winding aperture. The bell is held in the correct position by a raised square on the case and a square hole in the bell. The case band, pierced to let out the sound, is engraved with elaborate leafy scrolls with birds, squirrels, and grotesques. The movement is protected b a silver dust cap engraved with an elaborate leafy scroll and bearing the maker’s signature.

The watchmaker, Simon DeCharmes, a Frenchman who settled in London in 1688, was a member of the Clockmakers’ Company from 1691 to 1730. His son David became a renowned watchmaker. Because he signed only the dust cap of the movement, it cannot be determined whether he also made the case.