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Pair-case Watch

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Pair-case Watch

Artist: Bertu (Paris, France)

Date: 1775-1800
Medium: Gilt metal, enamel
47.6 x 36.5 x 22.2 mm
Markings: Movement- "Bertu à Paris"
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 338
Text Entries

Watchcases in the late eighteenth century were enameled with idyllic vignettes, such as this pleasant scene of a strolling man and woman enjoying each other’s company. The use of primary colors and the sketchy quality of the drawing (including the facial details) typifies the enameling of the period. The border is enameled with white half moons.

Small watches such as this one would have been part of a macaroni or hookless chatelaine, which became stylish in the early 1770s.(1) The watch was attached by a swivel to one end of a chain, and either a key or a seal was suspended from the other end.(2) The macaroni style of wearing a watch was favored by affluent society.(3)


1. “About 1772 the macaroni or hookless chatelaine came into fashion, to be worn as a handkerchief might be with two ends hanging down from a close-fitting belt.” See Joan Evans, A History of Jewellery, 1100-1870 (Boston: Boston Book and Art, 1970), p. 161.

2. For an illustration of a patch box with naive enameling and suspended from a macaroni chatelaine, see Genevieve E. Cummins and Nerylla D.Taunton, Chatelaines: Utility to Glorious Extravagance (Woodbridge, Suffolk, Eng.: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1994), p. 76.

3. For illustrations of women wearing macaroni chatelaines, see Ibid., pp.11 and 12.