Isaac Penard’s “Skullitime”
I’ve been hearing that at first people were getting sick of me talking about how much I enjoy collecting time pieces, then I was told that some people had no idea that some of the watches I’ve written about existed. So in the interest of informing the public about one of the rares time telling devices I’ve come across, I present a this piece from Isaac Penard. The lower jaw is hinged to the base of the skull to make a cover for the dial of the watch. The dial is engraved and filled with niello marking the hours with Roman numerals (I–XII) and the half hours with fleurs-de-lis. The skull watch was a specialty of Geneva, and to a lesser extent of Blois, both prominent centers of Protestant watchmakers during the first decades of the seventeenth century. Isaac Penard was a native Swiss who was apprenticed to the Genevan master Jacques Sermand (1595–1651), a well-known maker of skull watches as well as watches in such shapes as tulip buds, crosses, and stars.