Watchmaker: Simon Hackett

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 532

“How goes your watches ladies? What’s o’clock now? First Lady: By mine full nine. Second Lady: By mine a quarter past.” These three lines by the Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton (d. 1627) sum up the unreliability of pre-balance-spring watches, which for the most part were more useful as jewelry than as timekeepers. The case of this example displays panels of the rare French émail en resille sur verre, a technique for embedding enameled gold designs in colored glass. Hackett was a goldsmith before becoming a member of the London Clockmakers’ Company in 1632, and he may have imported the case himself.

Watch, Watchmaker: Simon Hackett (before 1620–1664, active 1630–60, master 1646), Case: enamel, glass, gold, and gilded brass; Movement: gilded brass and steel, partly blued, British, London movement with French case

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