Almost nothing is known about the watchmaker who signed the movement of this watch, F. Meybom AParis/St. Germain, except that he made at least three of these unusual square-plated movements. The Paris watchmaker Auguste Bretonneau (recorded working 1638–58) and Balthazar Martinot (recorded working 1661–97), both better known than Meybom, also made them. All three provided movements for cases that are almost identical to this one, and one of these has been plausibly attributed to the Paris goldsmith Isaac Bergeron. The case is covered with panels of blued steel overlaid with openwork floral designs of gold. It has a hinged cover of rock crystal with beveled sides set within a silver and diamond bezel that permits an unobstructed view of the white enamel chapter ring with its black numerals for the hours and decorative marks at the quarters. The center of the dial is a circle of dark-blue basse-taille enamel, and the spandrels are painted with pink and blue floral ornament, completing the extraordinarily rich effect.
Bergeron is recorded as a maker of watchcases in 1671, but as he was a Protestant, he was never allowed to become a master goldsmith in Paris. In 1686, he was probably the goldsmith on whose behalf King Louis XIV intervened by ordering that he be allowed to continue making watchcases. In 1694, he fled with his family to London.
[Clare Vincent, 2009]
Signature: Signed on top plate of the movement: F. Meybom AParis/ St. Germain
Artist: Clock maker: Jean Godde l'aîné (French, ca. 1668–1748/49)Date: ca. 1740–45Medium: Case: gilded bronze, oak, and tortoiseshell on brass marquetry on oak; Dial: white enamel and gilded brass with blued-steel hands; Movement: brass and steelAccession: 1971.206.27On view in:Gallery 526
Artist: Clockmaker: Ferdinand Berthoud (French, 1727–1807)Date: ca. 1768–70Medium: Case: oak veneered with ebony and brass, with gilt-bronze mounts; Dial: white enamel; Movement: gilded brass and steelAccession: 1982.60.50On view in:Gallery 540
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
Artist: Watchmaker: Pierre Vernede (probably French, active ca. 1630)Date: ca. 1650Medium: Case: rock crystal and enameled gold mounts; Dial: gold, champlevé enamel, and painted enamel; Movement: gilded brass and partly blued steelAccession: 17.190.1579On view in:Gallery 532