Tulips were and are, of course, a well-loved flower. The price of tulip bulbs boomed in the 1630s only to implode at the end of the decade. Fortunes were made and lost. Silver cases cast in the form of tulip buds are known from the period, however, this example carved from rock crystal is especially unusual. The oval movement of the watch was custom made by the 18th century maker A. Anton Lasacher and designed to fit the shape of the case. Lasacher's movement would have replaced a single-handed pre-balance spring movement that would originally have been fitted to the case. Although it is possible that the original movement was damaged, requiring replacement, it is perhaps more likely that the owner of the case, admiring its beauty, simply wanted an updated movement that was both more accurate (by having a balance spring) and more practical by the addition of a second hand for minute indication.
Alberten Lasacher is recorded in Baillie, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, as working in Cologne circa 1730.
For an example of a similarly tulip-formed watch, see: Sotheby's London, The Edward Hornby Collection, December 1978, lot 15, and Sotheby's London, The English Watch Part 1, 15 December 2015, lot 17.