|James Cox, 1770|
Nécessaire and Watch
Gold, Silver, Enamel, Paste Gems, Pearls, Glass
The Royal Collection
Cox created several unusual watch cases. This one, for instance, is a combination nécessaire and watch case. A nécessaire is exactly what it sounds like—a case for necessary things. In this instance, perfume bottles and other cosmetic items. The case is adorned with enamel, fanciful gold work of animal figures, silver, colored paste, glass and pearls. When opened, a watch and automaton are revealed. Ten jeweled bands spin around the face of the watch as the watch’s frame spins in the opposite direction. This was a favorite trick of James Cox who employed the same mechanism in a series of other watches and clocks.
Mary of Teck was a tremendous fan of Cox’s work—quite antique by her lifetime—and collected several pieces of his design. This one was gifted to her by King George V, her husband, in 1925.