Since their commercialization in the 16th century, at a time when grandeur and pomp were a must among nobility, watches were greeted with enormous enthusiasm. The inaccuracy of the early movements was equalized by the opulence of the case decoration, adapted to the taste of the period. The cases were equipped with a ring from which they could be hung from a ribbon or a chain and worn around the neck or on a girdle, demonstrating the wearer's wealth and status, treasures for ceremonial occasions.
The present watch is a very fine and exceedingly rare example of such timepiece, the most notable and eye-catching features doubtlessly the comparatively small diameter of only 31 mm. of the highly ornamental carved rock crystal case embellished with a polychrome enamel floral decoration in high relief, features suggesting that it was made as a lady's pendant watch.
Pierre Duhamel II (ca. 1630-1686), master watchmaker originally from Blois, settled in Geneva around 1650. He was renowned for his astronomical watches but also for form watches, rock crystal and enamelled cases, particularly en vogue at the time.
Pierre Duhamel is listed in Dictionnaire des Horlogers de Blois by Thibaud Fourrier, La Garmonière 2000, p. 25, and in The Mastery of Time by Dominique Fléchon, p. 168.