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Pendant Watch and Chatelaine

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Pendant Watch and Chatelaine

Date: c. 1880
Medium: Yellow, green, and pink gold, half-pearls, sapphires, enamel, steel
Dimensions:
103.2 x 27 x 12.7 mm
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Frederick T. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 184
Label Text
By the late nineteenth century the watch chatelaine had evolved into a rich, gemmed accessory, a piece of jewelry more than a timepiece. At that time jewelry and watch designers boldly adopted realistic forms of insects and flowers, reflecting the interest in naturalism. Flowers, which communicated symbolic meanings during the Victorian era (1837-1901), bedecked all types of jewelry from brooches, necklaces, and scarf pins to watches.

This watch chatelaine, decorated with a daisy motif (an emblem of innocence), exemplifies the interest in naturalism. The three uppermost flowers can be unscrewed and worn fastened to an accompanying lapel pin.


Text Entries

By the late nineteenth century the watch chatelaine evolved into a rich, gem-set adornment, more highly regarded for its jewelry-like qualities that its utilitarian purposes. At that time jewelry and watches boldly adopted the realistic forms of insects and flowers, reflecting the period’s interest in naturalism. The travel of artists such as Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904), who journeyed to South America to paint orchids and hummingbirds in their natural habitat, spurred an interest in exotic flora. Flowers were also imported from the Far East, and many of them became sources of inspiration for Victorian artists and jewelers. Flowers, which communicated symbolic meanings during the Victorian era, bedecked all types of jewelry from brooches, necklaces, and scarf pins to watches.

This watch chatelaine, decorated with a daisy motif throughout (an emblem of innocence), exemplifies this interest in naturalism. On the front side, petals set with half-pearls and finished with sapphire tips surround richly textured centers of yellow gold. The underside of the watch is engraved to replicate the reverse of the flower and is finished in pink gold with the same attention to detail; it features a stem growing out of the green-gold center and gracefully blending with the watch stem. The chatelaine, supported from a tongue-shaped hook, consists of a three-daisy arrangement terminating on a swivel with a leaf from which the daisy watch is suspended. The plant theme continues onto the bail which is fashioned into a twig with a bud-shaped stem that, when depressed, opens the watch. The three top flowers can be unscrewed, and each one can be fastened onto the accompanying chatelaine pin to wear on the lapel.