Swiss Pocket Watch | Art Nouveau Enamel Case Pocket Watch with Duck
Hunter Scene & Fancy Dial
Country: Switzerland; Type: Man's; Circa Date:1900
Style: Open Face
Material: .800 Silver with black Niello Enamel background and Rose Gold inlaid.
Decorations: This case comes with a rose-gold image showing two gentlemen in a
rowboat. The duck hunting motif is complete with mountains in the background,
ducks flying in the air and fancy water flowers in the foreground areas. The
front bezel is also chased with silver flower designs.
Conditions: Very Presentable - Some wear or loss of niello. May have more
extensive repairs but patterns and designs are still nice.
Color: Two Tone Silver and gold.
Conditions: D 3 (The dial is in Very Good condition)
Jewels: 15 Jewels.
Setting: Stem Set.
Layout: 3/4 Plate
Conditions: M 3-11 (The movement is in Very Good condition - plating slightly
The niello watch case became a canvas for outstanding art works that will likely
never be duplicated. The term niello comes from the Latin word nigellum that is
the diminutive of niger (black.) It was a technique used by the ancient Greeks,
Romans, Egyptians and Persians. Niello is a black or blackish-blue composition
of lead, silver, copper, sulfur and ammonium chloride. The mixture is fused onto
an engraved or cut-out metal base by firing the mix in a process similar to
champleve' enameling. Silver was the most often used metal for niello objects
since the soft white silver color contrasted beautifully with the darker niello.
Rose-gold inlay work was also seen in combination with niello and tri-color
effects were achieved by the use of rose-gold, niello and silver. When the
niello was heated and fired onto a silver watch case, it actually fused with the
silver very strongly, almost as if it were soldered in place. The niello would
be filled, finished and polished, leaving the surface of the watch case smooth
and flat. One can readily assume that the process of engraving the areas which
were to be filled with niello, the firing stages, and the finishing stages were
very time consuming and therefore costly. Aside from the production end, the
niello cases also had to be designed by artists who would pre-determine the
subject matter and then the cases were finished by engravers who produced the