Swiss Pocket Watch | Art Nouveau Niello Enamel Flower Case with
Rose Gold Shield Perrenoud & Fils & Co.
Manufacturer: Perrenoud & Fils & Co.; Country: Switzerland; Type: Man's; Circa
Style: Open Face.
Material: .800 Fine Silver with black niello enamel and rose gold inlay.
Decorations: Swirl patterns, interesting flower designs and a rose crest all
decorate the wonderful case. On the dust cover you will notice Universal
Exhibition 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 Pocket Watches from the 1900s exhibit the
Universal Exhibitions Awards Medals.
Conditions: Strong condition with only minor or slight flaws.
Numerals: Roman hour numerals, smaller Arabic numerals on the subsidiary seconds
Signed: The dial is signed “Martinez Jewelry Co.”
Hands: Breguet/spade hands
Conditions: This beautifully engine turned, textured silver dial is in Very Good
Jewels: 15 Jewels.
Setting: Pin Set.
Layout: 3/4 Plate Layout.
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