Collection online

watch-case / watch

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Escapement

  • Description

    GOLD AND DIAMOND-SET ENAMEL CASED VERGE WATCH. Verge escapement. Enamel dial; pictorial centre. Enamel on gold case; raised floral design; diamond-set cover.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1640-1650
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 46.5 millimetres (case)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        D.Bouguet, Londini.
  • Curator's comments

    Cardinal, Catherine, LA MONTRE, Paris 1985, illus.98, p.132. Good, Richard, WATCHES IN COLOUR, Poole 1978, plate 8. Ullyet, Kenneth, British Clocks and Clockmakers, 1947, p.41 Illus (colour).Text from 'Watches', by David Thompson, London, 2008, p. 40-41.

    David Bouguet

    LONDON, 1650

    SIGNED: 'D Bouguet Londini'

    By the beginning of the seventeenth century there were a number of foreign clock- and watchmakers working just outside the control of the City of London, particularly in the area of Blackfriars, one of the so-called 'liberties'. Many of these 'strangers' were Huguenot refugees from France who were particularly accomplished in the arts of engraving, enamelling and lapidary work. Their existence so near the City had such an effect on the established London clock- and watchmaking trade that a petition, raised in 1622 by a group of watchmakers in the Blacksmiths' Company, was sent to King James I in an attempt to prevent them from trading and to establish a Livery Company for the clock- and watchmakers of London. David Bouguet is first recorded in that petition, where he is described as 'David Bowkett at Mr Sampson's house with two apprentices' and living in Blackfriars.
    David Bouguet became a Free Brother in the Blacksmiths' Company on Thursday 12 June 1628, as recorded in the minutes of a meeting of the Court of Assistants at Blacksmiths' Hall on that day. In 1632 he became a Free Brother in the Clockmakers' Company and held the office of Assistant there between 1634 and 1665. He was a prominent member of the Huguenot church and served as a warden at the French Church in Threadneedle Street for four periods of three years each between 1637 and 1662. He had three sons: David and Solomon, who both became watchmakers, and Hector, who was apprenticed to the diamond cutter Isaac Mebert. Bouguet continued to run a prolific workshop with numerous apprentices in Blackfriars until his death in 1665.
    This watch is one of the finest to come from Bouguet's workshop and was made around 1650. The case consists of a gold box enamelled all over in black, onto which is laid a spectacular design of realistic flowers. This superb example of flower decoration can be closely compared with designs by the Blois engraver-designer Jacques Vauquer (1621-86). 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. Watches such as this one are extremely rare and in their day were probably the most lavish examples that money could buy, surely only affordable to those of courtly rank.
    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.Another enamel cased watch by David Bouquet can be found in the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan Inv. no 3446


  • Bibliography

    • Thompson 2012 56 bibliographic details
    • Wood 1866 p.281 bibliographic details
    • Britten 1894 p.72 bibliographic details
    • Tait 1983 pl.48, pp.47,49 bibliographic details
    • Baillie 1929 pl.XXXIV, p.139 bibliographic details
    • Thompson 2008 pp.40-41 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G39/dc14/no20

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: Archaeological Institute, London, 6th Jun 1862, by Octavius Morgan.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Image Caption: Case: back

Full: Back

COMPASS Image Caption: Case: back

Image description



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Object reference number: MCC434

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