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Quarter-repeating, Jacquemart Watch

Not on view

Quarter-repeating, Jacquemart Watch

Date: 1800-1825
Medium: Gold, varicolored gold, enamel, steel
Dimensions:
76.2 x 54 x 19.1 mm
Markings: Case: cm incuse "SSS / 4611 / K18 / 782"
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Frederick T. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 224
Label Text
The most common automaton watches are those featuring two jacquemarts striking bells. On this watch, the mythological figures of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice strike the bells when the repeating mechanism is activated.


Text Entries

The most common automaton watches are those featuring two jacks striking bells. On this watch, Orpheus and his wife Eurydice strike the bells when the repeating mechanism is activated. Orpheus, the son of Apollo and the muse Calliope, was a great musician. His playing moved animals as well as rocks and the elements. When Eurydice died of a snake bite, Orpheus pleaded with Hades, the god of the underworld, to bring her back to life. After mournfully playing his lyre, his wish was granted. On this watch Orpheus is holding a lyre on the right, while Eurydice, on the left, is clad in a fashionable, classically inspired, high-waisted dress of the sort made popular by Empress Josephine, wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. Below the figures is an assortment of objects relevant to the story of these two famous lovers, including a trophy comprising a torch, a lyre, and arrows. When Orpheus descended to the underworld, he played the lyre which drew “iron tears” from Hades. The torch lit his way in the underworld; the arrows symbolize death.

The case is plain with a scalloped band. The watch movement is visible through the glass.