AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION FROM A FAMILY TRUST
Chinese market watches
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 enameled 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.