French Enamel & Diamond Watch, ca. 1860

Value (2008) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction

Approximately 20 years ago, my mother and dad, who were in the antique business, purchased this item at a private estate sale, and the price was approximately $500. Never have known too much about it. Has some diamonds on it that we can tell. Has the Lord's Prayer inside. Very unique item, and I've always wondered about it. Um, and about two or three years ago, she gave it to me.


Now, you mentioned the diamonds. They're in the form of a cross. Do you know what kind of diamonds they are?

I believe she thought they were mine-cut diamonds.

Ah, a good guess, but not correct. They're rose-cut diamonds, the difference being the rose-cut has a flat bottom and fewer facets on top. Typical for the period when this was made: 1850 to about 1865.

Gosh, that old?

Now, surrounding it is that blue guillochet enamel, where they do some engine turning or engraving underneath in the metal, and then they put the translucent blue enamel on top, and we get that nice finish. The enamel was most probably done in France. There is some deterioration of the enamel. That doesn't bother me a whole lot. That can be repaired. When we turn it around and we open it up, you can see the Lord's Prayer there. I'm not doubting that that's been there a long time, but it may have had something else in there...

I see.

earlier in its life. Very possible-- could have been some other inscription. But what we do notice... if you look to the other panel, we notice there's two holes. And when we open it up, we see the movement to...

A watch.

A watch, right. And this is only part of the surprise we're going to show everybody. Okay, there's the front. Now we'll talk about the movement. The movement... is most likely Swiss. There aren't any markings on it. You can see the enamel from the back is carried over to the front with the rose diamonds, also. We call these things objets de vertu. An object of virtue, if you will. It's just so sweet and so pretty. You just don't see them like this too often. I would say, at auction today, in the neighborhood of somewhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

Goodness gracious.

Appraisal Details

Doyle New York
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Chattanooga, TN (July 19, 2008)

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