Firm of François Czapek (Swiss, born 1811, recorded 1839–65)
Case of enameled gold; dial of painted enamel; movement of gilded brass and steel
2 1/2 x 1 13/16 x 7 1/16 in. (6.4 x 4.8 x 18.1 cm)
Bequest of Vladimir Eitingon, in memory of his parents, Michail and Betty Eitingon, 1982 (1983.183.5)
On the back cover of the case is a portrait of the Russian czar Nicholas I (r. 182555) in painted enamel, indicating that the watch was probably commissioned as a present to a subject in recognition of loyalty or service. The movement, with separate cocks for the train of wheels, has jeweled end stones, a lever escapement, a temperature-compensated balance wheel, and a keyless stem-winding mechanism. It is a very early example of a stem-winding movement, made by the original partner in the firm that became Patek-Philippe, still in existence in Geneva. The mechanism is the earliest practical one to have been produced in quantity. It was invented by Antoine Norbert de Patek's subsequent partner Jean-Adrien Philippe (18151894) and patented in 1845.