The lower jaw is hinged to the base of the skull to make a cover for the dial of the watch. The dial is engraved and filled with niello marking the hours with Roman numerals (I–XII) and the half hours with fleurs-de-lis. The skull watch was a specialty of Geneva, and to a lesser extent of Blois, both prominent centers of Protestant watchmakers during the first decades of the seventeenth century. Isaac Penard was a native Swiss who was apprenticed to the Genevan master Jacques Sermand (1595–1651), a well-known maker of skull watches as well as watches in such shapes as tulip buds, crosses, and stars.
[Clare Vincent, 2009]
Signature: Signed on back plate of movement: Isaac Penard
Dunn Gardner ; Frederick George Hilton Price ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
Artist: Watchmaker: Lambertus Vrythoff (recorded 1724–69)Date: case ca. 1645, movement ca. 1750Medium: Case and dial: enameled gold; Movement: gilded brass and steel, partly bluedAccession: 17.190.1413On view in:Gallery 532