One of the world’s great horological curiosities, the present miniature watch case is billed as “the world’s smallest”. Certainly it is smaller than the complete watch made during more than five years by one Edward Funnell, a jeweller of Brighton in England who presented the then “smallest watch in the world” at 11.2 mm in diameter and 3.2 mm thickness at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.
The present watch case appears to be of Swiss manufacture and although of indeterminate date is most likely to be from the second half of the 19th century. It is a work of remarkable dexterity with hinged sprung front cover and sprung catch release from a button in the pendant. It is unknown whether a suitably small movement was ever constructed, it is however highly unlikely that a movement of only 2.8 lignes would be achievable.
This delightful case is simply a tour-de-force of miniaturization, demonstrating amply the skill of the master casemaker’s art.