Art Nouveau Niello Enamel 800
Silver Case Swiss Pocket Watch CA1910
Manufacturer: Miramar; Country: Switzerland; Type: Man's; Circa Date: 1910
Size: 46 mm diameter- approximately 14 Size
Style: Open Face
Material: .800 Silver, Niello Enamel
Decorations: The extra-wide bezel on this case and the back cover are
both completely finished with miniature star designs set against black niello
enameling. An uninitialed silver crest appears on the back.
Conditions: Very Presentable - Some wear or loss of niello. May have more
extensive repairs but patterns and designs are still nice.
Numerals: Arabic hour chapters.
Conditions: D 3
(The Case is in Very Good Condition)
Jewels: 15 Jewels
Setting: Stem Set
Escapement: Lever Escapement.
Layout: 3/4 plate layout.
Conditions: M 3
(The Movement is in Very Good
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