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Watch

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Watch

Date: 1610-1620
Medium: Gilt metal, amethyst
Dimensions:
50.8 x 25.4 x 33.8 mm
Markings: Movement: "Jϋrgen Tihle (?) Hamburg" (Germany)
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 277
Label Text
The oval shape was the dominant watch shape in the mid-sixteenth century. By the end of the century other geometrically shaped watches--square, hexagonal, trapezoidal, and circular--became fashionable. Octagonally shaped watches began to appear around 1575. Although normally made of brass or silver, some watchcases were made from hollowed-out and faceted rock crystal or amethyst.

Text Entries

The oval shape was the dominant watch form in the mid-sixteenth century. By the end of the century other geometrically shaped watches- square, hexagonal, trapezoidal, and circular- became fashionable. Octagonal-shaped watches, for example, began to appear around 1575.(1) Although most circular and octagonal watches have circular movements, the movement on this watch is oval-shaped.

Normally made in brass or silver, some watches were made from hollowed-out rock crystal or amethyst, cut to create both sides of the watchcase. These hard stones were also used in jewelry, where artisans worked them in relief and intaglio designs to set in rings and shaped them into beads for bracelets and necklaces.

On this watch two lids, formed from faceted amethyst, are joined by an octagonal gilt frame with a serrated bezel. The silver chapter ring is a late seventeenth-century replacement, but the watch retains its original hand.

1. Cedric Jagger, Artistry of the English Watch (Rutland, V.T.: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1988), p. 11.