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Norman Rockwell's What Makes It Tick? (The Watchmaker) To Be Auctioned by Christie's

In 1948 the Swiss Federation of Watchmakers, now known as the Federation of the Swiss fake watch Industry (FH), began work on an advertising campaign to raise the profile of Swiss watchmakers globally. The campaign needed an image that would make an immediate impact, communicating relatable aspects of watchmaking to a worldwide audience. They chose American illustrator Norman Rockwell for the job, and the result was an incredible painting of a boy, mesmerized by a watchmaker at the bench. The painting is now being offered for sale as part of Christie's November 21, 2017 American Art sale.

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was an American painter and illustrator, famous for portraying American culture. Rockwell is well-known for his Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations, the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Four Freedoms series. Rockwell was not taken seriously by art critics during his lifetime, but today he is celebrated as one of the most important artists in American history.


The subject matter of Rockwell's What Makes It Tick? (The Watchmaker) reveals a family connection to the horological trades. Rockwell's great-grandfather, Samuel Rockwell, was a watchmaker in New York City during the early 19th century. Samuel Rockwell began his apprenticeship in 1825 to a watchmaker and jeweler in Manhattan, and by all accounts was very successful in the business. Perhaps Norman Rockwell was thinking of his great-grandfather while working on The Watchmaker. The catalogue is not yet online, but here's some info. At an estimate of $4-6 million the painting is going to sell for more than almost any fake watch ever has. Almost.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) What Makes It Tick? (The Watchmaker) signed 'Norman/Rockwell' (lower right) oil on canvas 26 1? x 26 in. (66.7 x 66 cm.) Painted in 1948. Estimate: $4,000,000 ?6,000,000

And of course as we get closer to the date, you'll be able to visit Christie's website for more information.

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