Hong Kong, May 29, 2022

LOT 341

Large revival skull watch; “memento mori”; silver

HKD 56,000 - 95,000

EUR 6,700 - 11,500 / CHF 7,000 - 12,000 / USD 7,100 - 12,100

Sold: HKD 75,000

Silver, hunting-case, key-winding, revival watch in the shape of a skull, so-called “memento mori”.

The upper cranial hemisphere engraved in taille-douce (fine cut) with Latin sentences and scenes and characters probably taken from the Holy Scriptures; the front with a skeleton in majesty. Inside cover decorated en suite with a Nativity.

Dial engraved in taille-douce with foliage; applied gilded brass ring for the time; blued steel “Spade hands”.

Movement 16’’’, full plate, gilded brass, fusee and chain, verge escapement, monometallic balance (probably gilded brass) and blued steel flat hairspring, pierced and engraved silver continental cock, polished steel end-piece, silver regulator disc.

Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-01


HANDS Original

Brand Unsigned, probably Germany

Model “memento mori”

Year circa 1880

Movement No. unnumbered

Case No. unnumbered

Material silver

Caliber 16’’’, verge escapement

Dimensions 60.2 x 47.4 x 60.4 mm. (approx., without ring)


Revival Watch

After the revival of the Medieval and Renaissance styles, initiated in France by Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870) and Eugène Violet-le-Duc (1814-1879), objects of vertu inspired by works of art from the 16th and 17th centuries were much in favour in most European countries in the second half of the 19th century.

This kind of watch in the style of the 17th century may have come from the workshops of Kirks & Schwartz in Munich, Bavaria (Germany), active between c.1875 and c.1920, which is a specialty to recreate from ancient elements, including movements with verge escapement of the 18th century.

Such watches were sold as exhibition pieces and were not intended to be used and were sometime not fitted with working trains. As often, these reconstructed objects are later offered for sale as originals.

The watch we are presenting is characterised by its quality of execution and its size.