Exhibitions/ Art Object

Pair-case repeating watch

Watchmaker: John Champion (British, 1730–1779)
ca. 1770–72
British, London, made for Chinese market
Outer case: glass and gold set with diamonds, pearls, emeralds, and rubies; Inner case: gold; Dial: white enamel with black painted Chinese characters and blued steel hands; Movement: gilded brass and partly blued steel
outer case, confirmed: 1 13/16 × 1 13/16 × 7/8 in. (4.6 × 4.6 × 2.2 cm) watch, with bail, confirmed: 2 3/8 × 1 9/16 × 7/8 in. (6.1 × 3.9 × 2.3 cm) Diameter (back plate): 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.1440a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 510
The hours and minutes are in Chinese characters on this British watch made for export to China. The painting of the characters suggests the hand of a European craftsman not entirely comfortable with Chinese calligraphy. They correspond to the twice - twelve division of the day customary in the West and do not relate to traditional Chinese methods of dividing the day, which are too complex to fit on a simple watch dial.
Signature: Signed on back plate of movement: Jno. Champion/ London and numbered 1995

Marking: Case: HT (unidentified casemaker's mark)
possibly Emperor of China ; Carl Heinrich Marfels , Frankfurt and Berlin (sold to Morgan) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (until 1917; to MMA)
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