This is a very short video - less than a minute - but it's still an impressive tribute to the level of craftsmanship of 18thc. jewelers and watchmakers. Made of gold with enamel, the watch's artistic detail is as stunning as the clockwork mechanism that animates it. Alas, both the maker and the original owner's name are now forgotten, and today the watch is most famous for having been in the collection of King Farouk of Egypt during the 20thc.
But it's easy to imagine some wealthy (for a watch like this would have been a very costly bauble) nobleman easing this from the fob pocket of his silk breeches and ostentatiously checking the time, making sure that all around him saw the tiny country miss swinging back and forth from the dial. Click on the photo right to see all the details. Beautiful!
Automaton watch, quarter repeater, gold and enamel, late 18thc. Shaw Watch Collection, Guernsey Museums & Galleries.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.