Baroque Watch

England | 18th century | Gold, diamonds, moss agate | Joseph Martineau Senior (maker)


This rare Baroque gold pocket watch inlaid with moss agate dates from around 1760, during the Qianlong period in China, and may have been a custom-made timepiece for the Qing dynasty's royal family.



Moss agate was rarely used as decoration in the West, but the stone was found in watches and snuff bottles given to or sold to China. In the view of the Europeans of that time, moss agate resembles ink painting, thus appropriate for the Chinese taste. Excellent works of moss agate are today found only in a few examples in the Forbidden City, in the Rose Castle in Denmark, and in the Bertaphy Museum in Switzerland.

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