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Pair-case Watch

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Pair-case Watch

Artist: Daniel Debary (Geneva, Switzerland)

Date: 1675-1700
Medium: Gilt metal, copper, enamel
74.6 x 55.6 x 31.8 mm
Markings: Movement: "Daniel Debary"
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 323
Label Text
The scene on the inner case of this watch depicts the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, known as la dama del latte (the nursing mother), a religious scene typical of watches made about 1700.

Text Entries
The scene on the inner case of this watch depicts the nursing Virgin Mary and Christ child, known as la dama del latte (the nursing mother). This religious scene is typical of the decoration on watches made about 1700. The mother supports the child in her left arm; her right arm holds the swaddling clothes over the child as she turns her gaze to the viewer, acting as intercessor between the Christ child and the viewer. Mary wears a blue dress (the color of constancy) and a white underdress (designating purity), and at her left is a purple curtain (signifying royalty). Both her hairstyle and dress are characteristic of early eighteenth-century fashion. The band around the edge of the case depicts two walking figures within a landscape of trees and houses. Dials of early enameled watches were ornamented in the same manner as were watchcases, but by 1700 plainer dials began to appear. Because the band around the center of its dial is enameled and depicts a traveler by a stream in a wooded landscape, this watch can be dated to the end of the seventeenth century when this type of design was prevalent. The Roman numerals on this watch are bulging, typical of oignon timepieces. The outer case is chased with leafy scrolls within strapwork on a matte background. The key for this watch has a shaped loop, embossed on one side with St. George slaying the dragon and on the other with a basket of flowers.