TIME FOR LOVING
Why would anybody want to make an erotic watch? Why would anybody want to wear one? Because images surrounding sex have preoccupied humankind since the dawn of time.
Once known as ‘pocket porn’, the existence of erotic watches dates back centuries, and it’s never really gone away. Because? Well, sex is resilient, and it sells. These days it’s possible to see scenes that were once reserved for the owners of watches considered “polissonnes” – meaning naughty in French.
A fresh popularity was awakened a few years ago for collecting erotic watches, which has subsequently led to the inclusion of previously unpublished illustrations in catalogues of auctions that before only appeared in the inventories of private collections and museums.
The history of erotic watches spans two and a half centuries. Firstly they appeared with only enamel dials and later, with the advancement of technology, by presenting little automatons. Erotic watches became a ‘must’ for noblemen and tradesmen, who sought to surprise and to seduce women by showing them these sinful images.
The art of enamel dial watches began in the second half of the seventeenth century when the portable clock combined reliability with an acceptable size for transport in the pocket. In these early times, themes of vignettes were exclusively religious or mythological. However, as an antecedent, mythological or biblical scenes allowed the subject matter of the female nude. Adam and Eve, Cleopatra and the asp, Leda and the Swan, Diana leaving the bath, Venus with Cupid or Adonis, the rape of Europa, and the judgment of Paris were some such images.
Therefore, no one should be surprised by knowing
pocket watches with faces of their wives or lovers, especially as people could be separated for months or years at a time.
The erotic enamel does not arise until the last eighteenth century and early nineteenth century and is an immediate consequence of religious
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