This superb ruyi sceptre was originally inset with a European watch and was probably presented to the Qing court as a gift. During the Qing period, ruyi sceptres were considered to be auspicious, since ruyi can be translated as 'as one wishes'.
There are two comparable examples, elaborately encrusted on the entire upper surfaces with paste and inset with a watch on the terminal of the ruyi head. The first is in the Beijing Palace Museum collection, embellished with ruby-red paste and dated to the 18th century, illustrated in Qinggong Zhongbiao Zhencang, Timepieces in the Qing Palace Collection, Forbidden City Press, 1995, pp. 206-207. The second example is inset with a repeating and striking watch signed by Windmills and engraved with the Prince of Wales feathers, and was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 26 April 2004, lot 1388. See also another comparable ruyi sceptre sold in Nagel, 11 May 2012, lot 1029.