Gold and enamel cased watch by David Bouquet

London, England, around AD 1650

By the beginning of the seventeenth century there were a number of foreign clock and watchmakers working just outside the city of London, particularly in the area of Blackfriars, one of the so-called 'liberties'. Many of these 'strangers' were Huguenot exiles from France. Their particularly accomplished skills in the arts of engraving, enamelling and lapidary work had such an effect on the city of London watch and clock-making trade that a petition was raised sent to King James I in 1622 in an attempt to prevent them from trading. David Bouquet was mentioned in the 1622 petition, and perhaps his work epitomizes the skills which the Huguenots brought to London, and the establishment found so threatening.

This watch is one of the finest to come from Bouquet's workshop in about 1650. The case consists of a gold box enamelled all over in black onto which is laid a spectacular floral design. On the inside, the dial is enamelled with a painted landscape within a white enamel chapter ring. The counter-enamel on the inside of the lid has a black-painted rural scene over a blue ground. On the cover is an impressive array of ninety-two foil-set diamonds.

The movement is of a standard design, being of fairly large diameter and undoubtedly made to fit the exquisite case and dial. Unlike the normal practice, these would have been delivered to the watchmaker to fit the watch. Once completed, alterations could not be made to an enamel case.

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Gold and enamel cased watch by David Bouquet

  • Case: front

    Case: front

  • Case: back

    Case: back


More information


H. Tait, Clocks and watches (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)


Museum number

M&ME 1888,12-1,219


Bequeathed by Octavius Morgan


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