Sotheby's forthcoming sale of Important Watches will bring together a wide range of timepieces that together chart the evolution of this fascinating field from 1650 to the present day.
Highlighting the exceptional group of historical pieces is a small shield shaped pocket automaton that ranks among the most impressive pieces attributed to Isaac Daniel Piguet and Henri Capt, this beautifully crafted jewel features an automata of astonishing complexity, showing a shepherdess tending two sheep near a waterfall. The extraordinary craftsmanship behind this piece is matched by its exceptional provenance: King Farouk - last King of Egypt.
Enjoying a similarly illustrious provenance a silver gilt diamond desk clock made by Boucheron and presented to the French President Charles de Gaulle to celebrate the launch, some fifty years ago, of the great Transatlantic liner "France" - then the largest liner in the world. This sale will also include another important Cartier mystery clock, Model A, 1928, rock crystal with a rare and unusual mother of pearl dial.
Among the other historical pieces in the sale is a Rolex gold and diamond-set automatic wristwatch, which formerly belonged to his Highness Mohammed Lamine Bey, last Bey of Tunis. Likewise, one can mention also the pair cased gilt brass and enamel watch, bearing the arms and miniature portrait of Johann Wilhlem II, Elector of Palatinate(1658-1716) made by Simon Mayr, watchmaker to the Royal court.
Among a number of important technical watches in the sale is an important and rare yellow gold open-faced keyless tourbillon watch with Guillaume balance, made by Vacheron Constantin and recently re-discovered. Not only did this watch win the highly coveted first prize in the prestigious chronometer competition at the Geneva Observatory in 1931, it is also housed in its original period case.