This piece is a fun gadget that combines two different objects : a portable compass and the classic pocket case watch, which was for centuries a regular ornament and symbol of distinction. Its filigree top with it's inside decorative motifs matches the taste of the 19th century.
Quadrants with a compass, introduced in the 15th century, were the first portable sundials. The compass served to face the quadrant toward the north and the gnomon (a bit of cord or a flexible triangle) could be raised or lowered to accommodate the latitude where the compass is used.
The golden age of sundials lasted from the 15th century to the end of the 18th.