Watchmaker: Isaac Penard Swiss
Casemaker: probably the Firm of Moulinié, Bautte & Moynier Swiss

Not on view

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. The sundial motto “Oh, remember how short my time is,” from the Eighty-ninth Psalm, explains the form of this watch.

Watch, Watchmaker: Isaac Penard (Swiss, 1619–1676), Case: silver; Dial: silver, partly nielloed; Movement: gilded brass and steel, Swiss, Geneva

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