Elongated octagonal gilt-brass and silver cased verge clock-watch

On display


  • Handbook text

    In the first half of the 17th century, Lyon was one of the major centres of watch-making in France. One of the more accomplished makers working there until his death in 1622 was Pierre Combret the younger.

    Made in about 1620, this example of his work has an elongated octagonal silver case in which the back consists of eight small panels, engraved with foliate scrolls, rabbits and musicians surrounding a larger central panel decorated with a depiction of Susanna and the Elders. The silver front cover also has eight smaller panels engraved with foliate scrolls, fabulous animals and nude figures around a larger central panel showing Daniel Confounding the Elders.

    Reclining nude figures and foliate scrolls adorn the dial, on which is pinned a gilt-brass chapter-ring engraved with Roman hours and dot half-hour marks between two circles, with dots at the hours around the inner one. The area within the chapter-ring is engraved with a depiction of The Stoning of St. Stephen. Such scenes taken from the bible were popular as decoration on French watches of the first quarter of the 17th century and may well have taken as their source the engravings.

    The movement is also typical of the 1620s with a going period of about 16 hours from a single wind. This meant, of course, that in use the watch would have to be wound twice per day. As a clock-watch, in addition to indicating the time, the watch strikes the hours on an oval bell mounted in the back of the case.

    In: Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007)

Further reading

Thompson, David, Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 8

Reference URL

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