With original wooden chain and outer travelling box.
The present timepiece is one of the exceptionally rare birchwood watches made by the famous Bronnikovs from Vyatka, Siberia, specialized in the manufacture of all-wood, all-bone and all-ivory watches.
It started in 1837 when the 60 year old Ivan Tikhonovich Bronnikov, a skilful joiner and turner, was asked by the Vyatka Industrial Town Council to prepare items for the first local exhibition in order to demonstrate his skills. He excused himself as being too old but promised that his son Semyon would prepare "some small things".
Three months later, Semyon Bronnikov startled everybody at the exhibition with his "small things" which turned out to be a hand-made pocket watch, an extraordinary rarity by itself in these days, but most importantly all components were entirely made of wood. A premiere in the history of clock making, this masterpiece was supposedly bought by the future Alexander II.
Based on the immediate success, Semyon Bronnikov continued the production of watches made of wood or bone while passing on his exceptional skills to his children. Two of his seven sons, Nicolas and Michael, and also his grandson Nicolas Michailovich, inherited his talent and continued the business for more than 70 years. Entirely hand-made, all of their watches, although looking alike, are unique pieces. Various kinds of wood were used, such as birchwood for the cases, walnut, palm tree and hardened bamboo for the movement parts. The dials were adorned with inlaid mother-of-pearl, bone or ivory, some watches were completely made of ivory or bone.
Bronnikovs' watches were more expensive than a gold watch at the time and although less reliable and accurate, they were highly popular in Russia and often used as expensive unique gifts. They were also awarded numerous Russian and international prizes.
Examples of Bronnikov watches can be found in the Kremlin's Armoury Chamber, in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and other museums in Russia and internationally.
Similar watches signed H.S. Bronnikov & Son, also with chain, are illustrated in Taschenuhren - von der Halsuhr zum Tourbillon by Reinhard Meis, p. 207, pl. 451, and in The Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches by T.P. Camerer Cuss, second edition, p. 215, pl. 131.