Niello Enamel .900 Silver with Rose Gold 3 Leaf Clover Design Case Swiss
Pocket Watch CA1890
Manufacturer: Unsigned; Country: Switzerland; Type: Unisex; Circa Date: 1890
Size: 44 mm diameter- approximately 12 Size
Style: Hunter's Case
Material: .900 Silver with Rose Gold
Decorations: Niello Enamel. This case has numerous 3-leaf clover patterns
and fancy dandelion-type patterns on both the front/back covers. The front cover
also carries an uninitialed rose crest. The front cover also carries an
uninitialed rose crest.
Conditions: Very Presentable - Some wear or loss of niello. May have more
extensive repairs but patterns and designs are still nice. Slight, barely
noticeable repairs, light scratches or minor niello wear.
Numerals: Arabic Hour Chapters
Conditions: D 3-29
(The Dial is in Very Good Condition - well reprinted)
Jewels: 15 Jewels
Setting: Stem Set
Escapement: Lever Escapement.
Layout: 3/4 Plate Layout.
Conditions: 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.
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