Wendell Stanton Howard Mrs. George A. Hearn.

Collection of watches loaned to the Metropolitan museum of art of the city ... online

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Collection of watches loaned to
the Metropolitan museum of...

George A. Hearn, Wendell Stanton Howard, John H. Buck,
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), Charles Balliard



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COLLECTION OF WATCHES

BELONGING TO

MRS. GEORGE A. HEARN



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39 GREGSON
27 FRENCH OR SWISS 22 JOS. BUUMB

84 FRENCH
12 BERTHOUD 37 CHCVAUER AGO.

38 ACHARD 8. SONS



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COLLECTION OF WATCHES

LOANED TO

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
OF ART

OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

BY

MRS. GEORGE A. HEARN




PRIVATELY PRINTED
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FOGG MUSEUM LIBRARV
HARVARD UNIVERSIIir






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COLLECTION OF WATCHES

BELONGING TO

MRS. GEORGE A. HEARN



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THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE
FROM PHOTOGRAPHS MADE EX-
PRESSLY FOR THIS CATALOGUE
BY MR. CHARLES BALLIARD



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54 SWISS

51 SWISS 40 BORDIER

55 FRENCH OR SWISS

24 - t1CUR0N 8c CO 60 GEORGE PRIOR

50 BAUTTE fc CO.



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CONCERNING TIME-KEEPERS



THE necessity of having some mechanism
for marking the passing of the hours has
brought into existence an infinite variety
of time-keepers, and this variety has made the
collecting of clocks and watches one of the most
interesting fields for the collector. Since men
must collect, how fortunate are they when the ob-
jects of their search show the change and develop-
ment of an artistic handicraft through a course
of centuries.

No attempt has been made in this collection to
cover the field of watch-making; on the one hand
the desire was to acquire certain examples of
pocket time-keepers, which were interesting be-
cause of the artistry which had been lavished
upon them, and on the other to add contrasting
examples of early craftsmanship.

A few facts as to the history of time-keepers
may be of interest in this connection. Clep-
sydrae or water-clocks were used from the earliest
times by the ancient Egyptians, as well as in Baby-



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Ion, Judea and elsewhere. These were basins
from which water trickled drop by drop into a
receiving glass having marks to indicate the hours.
Sun-dials and sand-glasses too, are of ancient
origin, but the weight-clock with which we are
familiar was unknown before the end of the tenth
century; some writers even place its origin three
centuries later. While contradictory records ex-
ist as to the invention of the first time-keeper in
the form of an assemblage of wheels actuated by
weights, Gerbert, a studious monk of Magdeburg
Cathedral, is generally credited with the contri-
vance.

The first portable time-keepers were made in
Nuremburg and were due to the ingenuity and
skill of one Peter Henlein or Hele, who lived
between 1480 and 1542. His invention, which
originated shortly after 1500, employed a long
steel ribbon tightly coiled around a central spindle
to maintain the motion of the wheels. These
portable time-keepers did not come into general
use for a long time, but were reserved for wealthy
people who showed a fondness for the novelty,
which at first took the form of table-clocks.

The very earliest watches and table-clocks are,
indeed, similar in form, showing a cylindrical metal
box, chased and gilt, with a hing^ lid, engraved
and usually pierced to show the figures on the dial ;
they were often provided with a bell to sound the
progress of the hours. Few of these early pro-
ductions bear their makers' names. Sometimes



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an initial is given, and occasionally a work-stamp
appears for the purpose of identifying the locality
where made. Most of the German towns adopted
a distinctive trade or work-mark which appeared
on all their productions. Thus Nuremburg chose
the letter N enclosed in a circle, Augsburg used a
pineapple, Mayence a wheel, Breslau a W, Beam
a bear, etc.

The term watch as applied to a time-keeper
seems to have been derived from the German
wacben — to wake — ^but did not originally have
the particular significance we now attach to it,
for the term watch, clock or orloge was applied
indifferently and equally to all time-keepers.
The word clock, from the German glocke or the
French cloche, signifies a bell and its use may have
resulted from the sounding of a bell at r^ular
intervals by hand, the time of sounding being
determined by a sun-dial or hour-glass.

Though originating in Germany, the making of
time-keepers soon extended to France, but to-day
examples of early sixteenth century production,
either German or French, are exceedingly rare.
By 1 590 watch-making had become a flourishing
art in France and numerous beautifully orna-
mented time-keepers, both large and small, were
produced. Still, although the exterior cases were
richly ornamented, the interior workmanship on
the mechanism was exceedingly rough. While
these productions were imported into England,
there is no record of any English manufacture of



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watches before the very end of the sixteenth cen-
tury, though it is known that Queen Elizabeth
possessed a large number of watches, many being
of great beauty and value, which were given her
by her subjects and courtiers. At that time
watches as a rule were not carried in pockets.
The larger ones were kept on tables, the smaller
ones, when worn, were attached to chains about
the neck. Others again were attached to brace-
lets as were many belonging to Queen Elizabeth.
Only with the Puritans, who were opposed to the
display of any ornament whatever, came the
fashion of concealing the watch in the pocket and
the introduction of the fob, which derived its
name from the German word fuppe signifying a
small pocket. This fashion has continued ever
since, and at the latter part of the eighteenth cen-
tury it was customary for the exquisites of the day
to wear two watches with suspended fobs.

With the fondness for exercising their handi-
craft which marked the metal workers of the six-
teenth and seventeenth centuries, few of the cases
of these portable time-keepers remained plain,
all, whether small or large, showing more or less
decoration. The cases were generally pierced in
elaborate patterns and richly chased. As the ex-
travagance in dress which marked the reign of
Elizabeth increased, greater variety was de-
manded in the color and decoration of ornaments,
when watches enriched with colored enamel
were mounted in rock crystal cut in forms of

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46 TRURY

25 FRENCH 30 FRENCH OR SWISS

43 SWISS

26 CLARV 28 FRENCH OR SWISS

32 FRENCH OR SWISS



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crosses, stars, skulls and other shapes. These
decorated toys mostly came from France, Blois
being the seat of manufacture. Several time-
keepers of this fashion, though of later date and
coming from Vienna, are to be found in this col-
lection under the numbers 74 and 75. However,
the seventeenth century brought the greatest
variety in the form of the watches as well as
in their decoration, the greatest ingenuity being
shown in varying the external appearance of
these fashionable novelties. It is interesting to
recall the fact that the dealers who made and
sold them were designated as "toymen."

The earliest watches had but a single case; but
when the cases became more enriched by enamel-
ing and costly jewels, and since watch glasses
were not used before the seventeenth century,
many watches to protect their decorations were
provided with several cases, one outside another.
These outer cases were sometimes of metal, some-
times of wood, or tortoise-shell, amber, shagreen or
of combinations of more than one of these ma-
terials. As time went on the makers began to
ornament these outer cases, and we find shagreen
bound with chased gold, tortoise shell piqu^, and
wood cases delicately painted with pictures or
flowers. In number 64 of this collection we have
both the outer and the inner cases beautifully
enameled, the same design being repeated on
both. At the end of the eighteenth century loose
outer cases of gold with designs chased en repoussi



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came into fashion, and became an important
art in watch-making. A number of such outer
cases are to be found in this collection in numbers
56, 57, 58, 59, 60 and 62. Giasing is a very an-
cient art, and is to be distinguished from engraving
in that instead of cutting away the material, it is
brought into relief by punching or pressing from
the back to form the ornament. In some of these
cases may be found a combination of both chasing
and engraving for ornamental embellishment,
while a combination of chasing and enamel is
quite frequent.

Enameling as employed on watch cases is of
several kinds; for example in number 61 may be
seen a fine watch by Wetherell and Janaway
in which the gold case is enameled with a trans-
lucent enamel of royal purple surrounded by
pearls. This style of enameling was much in
fashion during the reign of Louis XVI. The
actual date of this watch is about 1790.

The pictures in opaque enamel on watch cases
were often the productions of artists of note, but
few of these occur before the end of the seven-
teenth century. While enamel decoration was
used before the middle of the seventeenth century,
this did not usually take the form of pictures but
is found in foliations and arabesque patterns;
in fact the process of painting in opaque enamel
on watches was only discovered about 1635, and
was the invention of John Petitot, a native of
Geneva, who won success as a miniature painter.

8



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For some time this mode of decoration was con-
fined to French artists, a number of whom greatly
excelled in it. As examples of particular ex-
cellence in this line attention is invited to num-
bers 2, 8, 9> 10, ii> 13, 15, 25 and 26.

In numbers 5, 6 and 7 we have examples of
engraving of an exceptional style giving the effect
of the niello work of the Italians. In these
watches, made by Lepine, watchmaker to Louis
XV, the contrast of light and dark is secured by
rubbing in preparations of lead and silver. This
method brings out the design of the engraving and
produces a beautiful decoration with the ap-
pearance of enamel.

What is known as engine- turning is so familiar
a form of decoration as to need no illustration.
It is an intricate series of repeating lines in curves
that was introduced as a decoration for watch
cases about 1770 by a Geneva watchmaker to
overcome the tendency to show scratches, and is
very popular with modem watch-makers.

Repeating watches, a number of examples of
which are included in the collection, came into
existence in the last quarter of the seventeenth
century in England in the time of James II.
They were made to repeat the hours and quarter
hours, on a bell, by pushing a pin in the pendant.
Applications for a patent for the device were made
by two different watch-makers, and to test the
superiority of each maker's claim, repeating
watches were presented to the king. There will



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also be found here repeating watches of large size
with mechanical figures such as numbers 33, 34,
and 45. These were popular novelties in the
latter part of the eighteenth century produced by
French makers. They, like the richly decorated
number 21 or number 22, served as presentation
watches for royal visitors, ambassadors and others
at court. In repeaters like numbers 34 and 45
the hours and quarter-hours are really struck on
small gongs inside, but appear to be struck by
the figures whose hammers are set in motion
against the suspended bells at the top of the dial.
In number 33 the spit before the fire revolves,
as well as the squirrel in the cage on the wall,
and the seated woman vigorously chops away at
what may be in the chopping bowl on her lap.

The various forms of mandolins, butterflies,
beetles, lyres, etc., like most of the small toy
watches, are of French origin and belong to the
nineteenth century. They show beautiful enam-
eling and are often enriched with jewels, serving
as handsome gifts. In fact it has become the
fashion with French watch-makers in their search
for novelty to insert watches in fans, umbrella
handles, smelling bottles, walking sticks and
wherever a place can be found for them.

While it is not possible to take special note of
watch-makers in this connection, their names
being given when possible in the catalogue added,
attention may be called to Br^et, the most
eminent of Continental watch-makers of his time,

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36 FRENCH OR SWISS

29 FRENCH OR SWISS 48 COURVOISIER «fCO.

35 FRENCH OR SWISS



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who is represented here by several numbers.
Br^et lived between 1746 and 1823 and was a
man of brilliant powers of invention. Everything
he produced bore the stamp of originality and
whatever defect was pointed out to him, or what-
ever whim of patron was suggested, he was ready
to meet the requirement, and his productions re-
main as models of inventive ingenuity and taste.
The majority of his watches had plain exteriors,
the dials as a rule being either of silver or white
enamel and often very novel. After his death
he was succeeded by his son, and later by a
grandson who maintained the reputation of the
house.

Other eminent French watch-makers repre-
sented are Pierre Gregson, who received the
coveted title of Horloger du Roy from Louis
XVI.; Jean Antoine Lepine, who was watch-
maker to Louis XV.; Julien Le Roy, who was
patronized by the same monarch; J. Baptiste
Baillou, and Ferdinand Berthoud, who was
perhaps the most scholarly of all. Berthoud,
who lived between 1745 and 1807, wrote much
on the horological art and was thoroughly in-
formed as to its history and all the inventions
and improvements which had been accomplished
up to his time.

In England to be chosen master by the Clock-
makers' Company was an honor highly esteemed
by native artisans.

Some reference should be made here to certain

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marks stamped on watch cases of gold and silver
to guarantee the quality of the metal and known
as "Hall-marks." These stamps are impressed
after the test of the quality has been made at
certain official Assay Halls. In Great Britain the
marks are compulsory and consist of several im-
pressions in separate shields. By means of them
the careful collector is enabled to determine not
only the quality of the metal, but also the ap-
proximate date of manufacture, as well as the
particular hall at which the metal was assayed.
These marks are of the greatest variety and in-
terest and cannot be disr^arded. Repouss^
cases were exempt. The use of such marks
was not compulsory with G>ntinental makers.

Since only the artistic side of the subject was
considered in making this collection, only those
watches were selected for illustration which
showed artistic embellishment, but examination
of the objects individually will reveal the great-
est diversity both in style and craftsmanship.
Most of them were purchased from European
collections which delicacy forbids naming.

In making the list chronological order was
followed as nearly as possible, and it was also
thought advisable to separate the makers ac-
cording to their different nationalities in order to
further assist the amateur in their examination.

W. S. H.



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CATALOGUE



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61 RIVERS



59 WINDMILL
66 POTTER



60 MILLER



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CATALOGUE
FRENCH

ARTHUR, X PARIS.

1 Octagonal watch with crystal and metal
mounts enameled in conventional patterns,
with scrolls and pierced edges; enameled
dial. Early eighteenth century.
"Arthur, un des plus renomm^ et des plus
k la mode pour les montres k r^p^tition."
Horlogers de Paris cit^s dans L'Almanach
Dauphin.

J. BAPTISTE BAILLON, X PARIS.

2 Gold watch, chased border of vari-colored
gold, the back encircled with pearls, enclos-
ing a painted pastoral love scene. Middle
of eighteenth century.

Jean Baptiste Baillon, Horloger du Roy.

JULIEN LE ROY, X PARIS.

3 Small gold watch, the border encircled and
the hands mounted with sparks, the back
with a cartouche of chased vari-colored gold

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and sparks, enclosing a portrait of a lady
painted in colored enamel.
Julien Le Roy, bom, 1686; master-clock-
maker, 171 3; died, 1759. Horlogerdu Roy.

JEAN ANTOINE LUPINE, X PARIS.

4 Gold watch, bordered with chasing of leaf
pattern having pendant and thumb-piece
jeweled; the back of green enamel set with
a canopy of sparks and vari-colored gold
with a Cupid in the centre. Lupine (1720-
181 4), watchmaker to Louis XV.

JEAN ANTOINE l£pINE.

5 Thin gold watch, the dial decorated with a
scroll pattern in vari-colored gold on a silver
engine-turned background, with opening
for "flirting" the hour; the back, borders and
pendant of niello.

JEAN ANTOINE LUPINE.

6-7 Thin gold watches, with engine-turned
silver dials, the backs, borders and pendants
of niello enamel in conventional leaf pat-
terns, with white enamel flowers and scrolls.

B. HUBERT A LA ROCHELLE.

8 Metal pendulum watch, gilt, plain case; rich-
ly engraved cap over balance, gilt dial with
enameled hour plaques. Early eighteenth
century.

16



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PIERRE GREGSON, A PARIS.

9 Gold watch, with border, pendant and back
enameled; the latter showing a female figure
and Cupid, with classic temple on a back-
ground of dark translucent blue. Pierre
Gregson, Horloger du Roy, Louis XVI.

PIERRE GREGSON.

10 Gold watch, bordered with pearls, the back
enameled with a pastoral scene on a light
blue ground.

BERTHOUD X PARIS.

1 1 Gold repeating watch, skeleton dial, with two
figures in vari-colored gold, striking on bells;
the hour figures on a circle of white enamel-
plain back. Early nineteenth century.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD, X PARIS.

12 Gold watch with borders of chased vari-
colored gold, jeweled; the back enameled in
color showing a lady and Cupid in a land-
scape on a ground of translucent rose.
Early nineteenth century.

Ferdinand Berthoud, bom 1745; died 1807.

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

13 Gold watch with enameled borders back and
front; painted pastoral scene in centre of
back. Abraham Louis Brfeguet, bom 1747,
died 1823; a French watchmaker of rare at-
tainments and inventive power.

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ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

14 Gold watch, the sides and back decorated
with a conventional chased pattern of vari-
colored gold.

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

1 5 Gold watch, encircled with pearls, back and
front; the back enameled with a picture of
Venus and Cupid in a landscape on a dark
blue ground of rayed translucent enamel
within a cartouche of pearls (the back
damaged and restored).

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

16 Gold watch encircled with pearls front and
back; the latter enameled with a landscape
painted on a rose ground rayed.

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR£gUET, X PARIS.

17 Gold watch, paneled edges, with a border of
enamel; the back enameled with a pastoral
scene, woman and lambs in a landscape on a
rose ground.

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

18 Thin gold watch, with engine-turned silver
dial with rays; the back showing a conven-
tional leaf pattern in niello with white enam-
eled flowers.

ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

19 Gold repeating watch with engine-turned
face and back.

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ABRAHAM LOUIS BR^GUET, X PARIS.

20 Etui of bloodstone mounted with pierced
gold scrolls and figures. At one end a small
watch by Br^et, encircled with sparks;
the mid-band shows a motto in gold on
white enamel: "Dieu toujours avec vous."


1

Online LibraryWendell Stanton Howard Mrs. George A. HearnCollection of watches loaned to the Metropolitan museum of art of the city ... → online text (page 1 of 2)