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Important Watches

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Louis Elysse Piguet
NO 2724 GOLD, DIAMOND-SET AND ENAMEL TWO TRAIN MINUTE REPEATING AUTOMATON CLOCK-WATCH FOR THE INDIAN MARKET CIRCA 1890
Dial: jaquemart, white enamel
Calibre: two train tandem keyless winding lever, 34 jewels
Case:
18k yellow gold, enamel and diamond-set
Case number:
2724
Dimensions:
57.5 mm
Accesories: none
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Catalogue Note

The present lot, signed by Louis-Elysée Piguet, exemplifies the maker’s technical artistry and talent.  Piguet founded his firm in 1858, and during his prolific and successful career, he improved chronographs and invented a fixed-star wheel repeating mechanism.  He also notably made innovative keyless winding systems, as seen here.  His work earned him the respect of his peers, and he served on several horological committees, and worked with LeCoultre Piguet when the latter received the commission for “La Marveilleuse”, a watch with 24 complications.

The dynamic enamel work on this piece is attributed to P.-Amédée Champod (1834-1913), the noted enameller who specialized in Indian hunting scenes featuring tigers, lions, and horses.  Champod studied painting with Sauerländer, Hugenin, M. Constantin, and Charles Glardon, and expressed interest in creating large paintings, however, his economic situation led him to make a career for himself as an enameller.  He established a reputation of creating beautifully rendered enamelled scenes, as displayed here, particularly in the portrayal of the horses and the expressions on the hunters’ faces.  The artist clearly displays his attention to detail on the reverse side of this lot, delicately painting the reflection of the building in the water below.  Champod received a silver medal for his work at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, and he continued to demonstrate a mastery of composition seen in the present lot throughout his career. He created several excellent Indian Tiger Hunt scenes, such as this one, throughout his career.  His Tiger Hunt pieces appear in notable horological scholarship.

This piece bears many similarities to a watch with a hunting scene signed Champod, sold at Sotheby’s Geneva, May 16, 1995, lot 226.  Another piece with a similar Tiger Hunt scene also appears in Alfred Chapuis, La Montre Chinoise, p. 213, and the automaton scene bears a striking resemblance to another watch in Timepieces in the Imperial Palace, Classics of the Forbidden City, p. 271.

This watch is stamped with the Swiss patent number 7832, which was granted to Louis Brandt & Frère (Omega) on December 30th, 1893, for their carillon repeating system.

 While European makers created many beautifully enamelled pieces for the Chinese Market, much rarer are those pieces which combine both enamel scenes and automatons.  The presence of both here make this piece a highly desirable addition to any connoisseur’s collection.

Movement: keyless winding lever, 34 jewel two-train gilt and nickel plated lever movement with tandem winding, bi-metallic compensation balance, three polished steel hammers for hours, minutes and striking on three gongs, stamped with Brandt patent number 7832

Case: Polychrome enamel case with an exotic scene of a Tiger hunt, with one hunting figure astride a horse, the reverse polychrome enamel with Swiss mountain scene and translucent sunset sky, diamond set bezel, numbered cuvette engraved with the details of the watch, lever for strike/silence at 12

Dial: small white enamel with Roman numerals, subsidiary sunken seconds, flanked by polychrome enamel figures, two striking bells above a third chiselling a sculpture in syc with the striking bell

Important Watches

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Geneva