Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Watchmaker: Nicolas Bernard (French, active 1560–90)
16th century
French, Paris
Gold, enamel
Diam. 1-1/4 in. (3.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
A very few watchcases survive with this variety of openwork design of tour-de-force raised-and-dotted enamel. The dial, too, with black numerals on a pure white enamel chapter ring and a deep red basse-taille enamel center, is the product of a highly skilled artisan, who was almost certainly working in Paris about the middle of the seventeenth century. The pre-balance spring movement of the watch is signed Nicolas Bernard AParis. While there are several clockmakers named Bernard, or Benard, known to have been working in Paris in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, there is no record of a Nicolas Bernard before 1636, when a man by that name was made a master clockmaker there. By the time of his death in 1670, he had become a merchant clockmaker and a burgher of Paris.

[Clare Vincent, 2009]
Signature: Nicolas Bernard à Paris (on movement)
J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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