The present watch is a highly unusual example of Margetts' work. With its attractive combination of a large, lavishly decorated case, two dials and a musical automaton, it is the perfect example for such a timepiece made by special order for a Chinese dignitary. The automaton scene representing a tightrope walker is of finest quality, the complicated movement allows choosing if one wishes the music, "song", or the automaton, "dance", as well as the speed "faster - slower".
A similar double dial watch signed George Margetts featuring an automaton scene depicting boats and a watermill was sold during The Art of British Horology, Antiquorum Geneva, 21 October 1995, lot 192.
The first "Chinese Market" watches were made by Jesuit missionaries during the Ming Dynasty in the late 16th century. The Emperors had an avid interest in horological and astronomical instruments, which allowed the missionaries to enter China.
By the late 18th century, Chinese patrons requested only the finest watches, featuring complicated movements such as repeating, music or automatons. To satisfy their desire for aesthetics, the cases had to be highly enamelled with motifs representing nature or classical scenes, set with pearls and precious stones. Many of these marvels were made for the Imperial Palace in Beijing.