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Verge watch shaped as a skull

First developed in Italy c.1500 from portable spring-driven clocks, mechanical watches were made across Western Europe with centres of excellence in France (Paris, Blois, Lyon), southern
Germany (Nuremberg and Augsburg), Flanders (Brabant), Switzerland (Geneva) and England
(London). By the 1540s, watch movements had become compact enough to be incorporated into jewels, rings or other precious objects. 
Watches were protected from damage, dust and dirt by one or more cases, sometimes made by the watchmakers themselves, and sometimes by goldsmiths or professional case-makers, who rarely signed their work. Most watchcases were made in gold or silver, and were engraved, embossed, enamelled and/or inlaid with gems. In Geneva, watchcases were crafted from rock crystal and hardstones. Some cases were shaped, such as the one formed as a human skull (fig. 151), which recalls the verse from Psalm 89, ‘Remember how short my time’. Recording the passage of time, and thus serving as memento mori, watches were often associated with skulls in other artforms, such as still-life vanitas paintings, or portraits.