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
Overall (outer case, confirmed): 1 13/16 × 1 13/16 × 7/8 in. (4.6 × 4.6 × 2.2 cm); Overall (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
Not on view
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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