Bronnikov Wood & Bone Pocket Watch – 1865


Whether you are a (pocket) watch enthousiast, seeking rarities or even a woodworker; you will be amazed by this delicate piece of art. As if it left Mikhail Bronnikov’s workshop yesterday, we present to you today; a functional watch made out of birchwood and ivory. Unique in its kind and therefore widely renowned and celebrated by watchmakers all over the world. Scroll down to read more about one of the finest examples still in existence, enjoy.

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Incredibly excited to offer this exceptional rarity, even more so considering the hard to comprehend condition this 160 year old wooden watch is in.

Presented is a 1865 birchwood and ivory Bronnikov pocket watch.

This is, in the words of the 21st century, a ‘full set’ example. Meaning that both the original wooden outer protective case and delicate chain with winding key are present.
Besides the fact that this Bronnikov is accompanied by its original accessoires, it also shows to be one of the finest examples that survived the test of time.

The fact that a wooden watch, 160 years after its date of production stil remains functional and is not showing broken or missing parts despite the fragile nature of its material completely baffles our minds.
We confidently state that the chances of a Bronnikov this complete and fine surfacing the market again any time soon are very slim.

These fragile pieces of art are entirely made out of wood and ivory except for the mainspring, balance spring and pivots. Needless to say it took an immense specialization to produce these unique timepieces, and to actually get them functional.

The tale goes that when Ivan Bronnikov (ca.1770 – 1860) was asked to present some of his work as a skillful joiner and turner at the local exhibition (Vjatka, Russia) in 1837, he kindly refused as he said he was too old. Ivan suggested that instead of himself, his son Semyon Ivanovitch could take his place since there was a ’small thing’ he made out of wood he could exhibit. I hear you thinking and yes, you are absolutely right; it was a wooden pocket watch. It is said that there was so much commotion around his piece of art that word got to the future Czar Alexander II, who visited Vjatka and purchased one of Semyon’s creations.
Semyon, encouraged by all this, started to focus on producing more wooden pocket watches. After his passing in 1875, two of his seven sons continued their fathers work. When the son of Mikhail passed, the line of watchmakers in the Bronnikov family ceased to exist.

Although the work produced by the Bronnikov family is widely appreciated and researched by (pocket) watch and horology enthusiast, we state that the following fact is an estimations/assumption since there are no official records. It is estimated that over the lifespan of the three generations in the Bronnikov family, a total of 500 wooden watches have been produced with only 250 examples having survived. Those 250 pieces include the broken and incomplete pieces.

We date this example to approx. 1865 (Mikhail Semyonovitch Bronnikov) as this particular example features the makers signature in the inside case back (in Cyrillic script).

As can be seen in the pictures and as described earlier above, this watch remains in superb condition. Nevertheless, we’d like to state that this watch deserves to be stored in a museum (it’s not for nothing a similar example is exhibited in Patek Philippe’s Geneva museum, in their gallery of all-time important timepieces). We therefore strongly advise against the use of this pocket watch.
The movement can be wound and will tick. Although we wouldn’t expect this 160 year old wooden watch to run accurate or have a large amplitude, it is good to know that the Bronnikov does not have the healthiest of ticks.
The outer case and the chain remain in immaculate condition. No cracks, no deep scratches and no signs of fragility throughout. The only flaw we can discover is the bezel as it shows to be glued back together with the crystal.


More information, pictures and video’s can be send upon request.
Feel free to ask us whatever question you have about this timepiece.

Please note that all our watches are bank stored, therefore we handle a 24 to 48 hour processing time between payment and shipment.



Mikhail Semyonovitch Bronnikov


Wood & Bone


50mm / 62mm

Weight of Watch

19.4 Grams

Weight of Chain

4.4 Grams

Weight of Outer Case

29.4 Grams