During the 16th and 17th centuries, complex scientific instruments were highly desirable objects which alluded to their owner's status and education. Portable instruments were especially coveted and the combination of an astrolabic dial with a striking watch movement would have rendered the present lot a particularly important object for its 16th century owner. Although undoubtedly made in Germany, attributing this watch to an exact maker is difficult. Many early stackfreed watches were unsigned and others were simply stamped with the initials of the maker, not all of whom have been identified. The backplate of this watch is clearly stamped 'CK' within a shield and this mark does appear to be similar to one found on a watch from the Fränkel Collection
which is now at the Horological Museum in Le Locle, Switzerland. The Fränkel
watch, in addition to its CK stamp, has a stamp in the form of a horse which is the town mark of Stuttgart in Germany.
Interestingly, the distinctive pillars to the case sides of the present lot are very similar to two watches in the British Museum, one of which exists as a case only, the other of which has an unsigned movement. The pillars of these two pieces are illustrated in H. Tait and P.G. Coole (revised by D. Thompson), Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum - I The Stackfreed, 1987, plate 45.