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Form Watch

Artist: Maker unknown (Switzerland)

Date: c. 1800
Medium: Gold, enamel, silver
Dimensions:
44.5 x 31.8 x 25.4 mm
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 391
Label Text
This watch, which simulates a basket, might have been worn about the neck as a pendant, suspended by the bail from a chain.

Text Entries

Everyday objects were a source of inspiration for the watch designer creating novelty timepieces. The shape of this watch simulates a basket, even to the gold handle that resembles a twisted rope or wicker. The watch might have been worn as a pendant about the neck, suspended by the bail from a chain. The lid on the basket is hinged and, when a lever is pushed, the top springs open to reveal a dial with Arabic chapters. The cylindrical body of the basket has been champlevé enameled with alternating panels of engraved gold Xs on a blue ground, engraved laurel leaves on a black ground, gold Xs on a white ground, gold laurel leaves on a black ground, and gold Xs on a blue ground. The gold rim around the bottom is faceted.

The lid is decorated with a starburst in white enamel and gold on a black ground, surrounded by ornamental bands that parallel the colors and motifs of the body of the basket. The bottom of the case is as elaborately decorated as its sides and lid with an engraved gold rosette on a black enamel ground with cross pieces of gold bands with hatchings and stylized gold laurel leaves on a blue ground. This basket form watch epitomizes the extent to which watch- makers and enamelers were able to make a beautiful object that belies its intended purpose as a timekeeper.