The present timepiece is a highly unusual timepiece made for the Ottoman market, distinguished by the prominent representation of the crescent and star, the traditional symbols of the Ottoman Empire.
Signed by the eminent watchmaker Jacques Vully, it was unmistakably made by special order for an Ottoman high official.
Jacques Vully, active in Geneva circa 1775 - 1840, specialized in enamelled watches for the Ottoman market, using a specially designed movement with the balance mounted on the top plate. The colour of the background, turquoise, represents the traditional colour of the Turkic people. Turquoise blue, from the French word meaning "Turkish", is the colour of the stone turquoise, popular for centuries and still used as jewellery and a protection against evil eye. The star and crescent historically was an emblem of the Ottoman Empire but actually pre-dates Islam by several thousand years. Its origins are difficult to ascertain but these ancient celestial symbols were widely in use in central Asia, ancient Ethiopia and South Arabia (modern day Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia).
It would appear that the Greek colony of Byzantium also used the emblem on their flag as an official governing symbol. The city of Byzantium, later known as Constantinople, today's Istanbul, won in 339 BC a decisive battle under a brilliant waxing moon. The victory was attributed to the city's patron Goddess Artemis whose symbol was the crescent moon which was made Byzantium's symbol in her honour.
In 330 AD, Byzantium became the Christian Constantinople and Virgin Mary's star was added to the flag. After the seizure of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans adopted the city's existing flag and symbol which later became associated with Islam in general.
Still today, the crescent and star are the symbols of Turkey but can also be found on the flags of other Muslim countries.