Nouveau Niello Enameled Silver Case Onoto
Pocket Watch CA1910s | Swiss Made
Manufacturer: Onoto; Country: Switzerland; Type: Man's; Circa Date: 1910s
Size: 42 mm.
Style: Open Face.
Material: Coin silver with Niello enamelwork.
Decorations: Fancy engraved and enameled floral designs.
Conditions: C 3-55 (The case is in
Very Good condition - very slightly chipped.)
Type: Single sunk porcelain dial.
Numerals: Arabic numerals.
Hands: Spade hands.
Conditions: D 3 (The dial is in Very
Jewels: 15 Jewels.
Setting: Stem Set.
Escapement: Lever escaepement.
Layout: 3/4 Plate Layout.
M 3 (The movement is in Very Good condition)
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.
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 fine details.
What is the design on the dust
cover of the watch?
Longines Universal Exhibitions Medals
Universal Exhibitions were World's fairs originating in the French tradition of
national exhibitions, a tradition that culminated with the French Industrial
Exposition of 1844 held in Paris. This fair was soon followed by other national
exhibitions in continental Europe, and eventually the United Kingdom. Many of
the dust covers on the Longines Pocket Watches from the 1900s exhibit the
Universal Exhibitions Awards Medals. Longines won a record of ten Grand Prix and
28 Gold Medals, more than any other watch manufacturer! These include 1885 Grand
Prix in Antqerp; 1897 in Brussels; 1889, 1900 & 1925 in Paris; 1906 in Milan;
1914 in Genoa; 1914 in Philadelphia; and 1926 & 1929 in Barcelona.