Although the present watch is not typical of the elaborate clocks that were presented by English traders as gifts to Chinese dignitaries, this example would nevertheless have very likely fulfilled such a purpose. The English tea and opium traders of the late 18th. century were well known to have used amazing musical automaton clocks and watches as bribes to facilitate their lucrative business deals. The fact that such timepieces were very expensive clearly indicates that the English traders could make huge profits when engaging in business with the Chinese.
Large watches such as the present example were popularised in the beginning of the 18th. century for use whilst travelling. They seem likely to have been developed by French watchmakers for hanging in carriages and were consequently known as montres de carosse. The English aristocracy, who were continually copying French fashion, followed suit, and the adoptation of the "coach watch" was soon emulated by those in England who could afford them.
The present example is particularly rare for two reasons: firstly, it has back to back dials, and secondly, because the calendar work is particularly complicated. This use of complicated calendar work was a clever ploy as it would have been deemed a compliment to its intended recipient, acknowledging he was clever and would be able to understand such intricate astronomical clockwork.