Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I covered the ultimate skull watch in SKULL WATCHES Part One and here is the second part of the two part series.
Originally, watches were the preserve of the rich and powerful showing off their control of time in a portable setting.  The skull shape remained as an unusual case along with cross-shaped watch for four hundred years.  The bun shape persevered over the centuries and became more flattened to the shape we are familiar with as the venerable pocket watch.  
Germany and Switzerland became important watch making centers, although France also began to make watches along with England.  The Swiss watchmakers seemed to have a propensity for unusual shaped cases such as Isaac Pernard and apprentice to Jacques Sermand, both known for their skull watches in the 1600s. 

By the Victorian Era there was a new vogue for the outrageous and the antique.  Watch makers in the middle and late 19th century made skull watches for wealthy collectors, but with fully modern (by the standards of the day) movements.  The rising middle class of the Industrial Era saw more people with more disposable income and lesser expensive skull watches were collected by the well to do.
This 18k gold skull watch dates to 1810 and had diamonds for teeth and eyes.  The enameled skull opens up to reveal the watch face and there is a small glass port under the skull to watch the movement operate.  This watch sold recently for $18,000.

ModernSkullWatchWEB By the early 20th century, old world watchmakers were making copies of skull watches for collectors.  Even now, there are a few watch makers producing quality sterling skull watches such as the one to the right vs the plethora of cheap Chinese-made skull watches out of plated base material and quartz movements.

Those of you who enjoy Steampunk or a bit of Cthonian or Victorian dress up have enjoyed this two part trip into exotic time pieces and this sterling horologic cranium.  I am sure all of us have wanted a goodie or two for Christmas like this.  It's a no-brainer.  


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