Maker: Watchmaker: François Czapek (Bohemian, 1811–before 1895)

Date: ca. 1850–55

Culture: Swiss, Geneva

Medium: Case: partly enameled gold; Dial: white enamel with gold hands; Movement: gilded brass and steel

Dimensions: Overall: 2 1/2 × 1 3/4 × 1/2 in. (6.4 × 4.4 × 1.3 cm); Diameter (plate): 1 9/16 in. (4 cm)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Bequest of Vladimir M. Eitingon, in memory of his parents, Michail and Betty Eitingon, 1982

Accession Number: 1983.183.5


On the back cover of the case is a portrait of the Russian czar Nicholas I (r. 1825–55) 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 (1815–1894) and patented in 1845.