This is really a beautiful antique item here. It’s a vintage oil cup or oiler that was used by watchmakers, watch repair people, and jewelers to hold the miniscule amounts of high grade Swiss watch oil that is used to properly oil a mechanical wristwatch or pocket watch. This oil cup is made out of solid wood and has been painstakingly turned on a lathe or carved by hand to add the decorative banding and details that go all the way around the circumference of the oil cup. From the grain pattern in the wood, I would guess that this is solid cherry, but please understand that I’m not an expert and that’s just my best guess. I can’t make any guarantees about the wood.
The lid mates with the bottom half of the oil cup, and would provide a clean, secure environment to protect the watch oil from dust when it was sitting on the watchmakers bench.
The little insert on the bottom half is where the watch oil goes. Just a few tiny drops are all that are necessary to oil an entire watch. I’m not sure what the material is, but today, the oil cups are made out of agate, synthetic ruby, or glass, if that’s helpful. The edges of the oil insert are very smooth and highly polished. I put a couple drops of water in the middle, and they sat right where I had put them, without any leaking or problems, so this oil cup could still be perfectly functional today, and would make a handsome old world addition to your workbench.