The making of pocket-watches may be said to have begun with small ones of spherical shape about 1520. These resembled pomanders and were worn similarly; from a chain round the neck, or at the girdle. The round flat watch Came later, and was enclosed in a plain inner case, usually of silver, and an outer case with elaborate ornamentation. The movements are found to be most carefully made, and the cock, or cover of the balance-wheel, usually pierced and engraved in a complicated pattern.

The maximum decoration was given to watches by the French and Swiss: cases of gold were enamelled or set with precious stones, and intricate movements with small automata that struck the hours were made. The watches of Abraham Louis Breguet, born in Switzerland and working in France, are among the very finest ever made. He died in 1823 and it has been said by an expert that 'all his watches show perfect workmanship, originality in design and beauty in form'. Like the early eighteenth-century work of Thomas Tompion, that of Breguet has been faked, and the fame of both makers was so great in their lifetimes that many of the forgeries were contemporary with them.

Collectable Antiques: