As we get ready to usher in a new year, Katrina and I thought we would share a watch made in 1899, 125 years ago, to usher in the beginning of the 20th century. This watch looks just as good entering 2024. While it is astonishing that the delicate enameling has never chipped or faded, none of the diamonds are
missing, and the watch keeps incredible time after 125 years — it is the imagery that we will focus on today. The art, not the science.
These cherubic figures, actually called putti, often depicted as young children with wings, have been
recurrent in art throughout history. From renaissance paintings and baroque sculptures to jewelry and
watches, they are often seen in finer goods. The symbolism behind putti imagery varies, but typically they represent innocence, joy, and the divine. In classic art, they are often seen gracefully floating amidst garlands of flowers. These floating bouquets, which feature prominently in many artworks, symbolize abundance, celebration, and the arrival of the new year or in this case, a new century. The use of garland flowers is symbolic of fertility, growth and the cycle of life, the passing of time and the anticipation of new
beginnings. As Katrina noted, the artists seemed to “skillfully incorporate garland flowers into their compositions, intertwining them with putti to create a harmonious balance.”
The small ladies’ watch was made in 18k gold and retailed by Duhme & Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although they were known as a watch case making company this was likely ordered direct from Patek as Duhme was reorganized in 1898 amidst financial troubles. If the case had been signed, we could have sold it for $5,000 or more. But since the case was unsigned, we sold it for $3,500. We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
Go ahead. Google us. Three former sothebys.com associates and two art
historians on staff. You read about us in the Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times and Fortune magazine. Do you have a valuable watch for sale? Contact us!
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