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58
Simon Bartam/ Reinhold Vasters
A LARGE AND IMPRESSIVE ASTRONOMICAL WATCH IN LATER CUSTOM MADE ROCK CRYSTAL CASE WITH DECORATIVE GOLD AND ENAMEL MOUNTS MOVEMENT AND DIAL CIRCA 1635, CASE 19TH CENTURY
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58
Simon Bartam/ Reinhold Vasters
A LARGE AND IMPRESSIVE ASTRONOMICAL WATCH IN LATER CUSTOM MADE ROCK CRYSTAL CASE WITH DECORATIVE GOLD AND ENAMEL MOUNTS MOVEMENT AND DIAL CIRCA 1635, CASE 19TH CENTURY
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Details & Cataloguing

Masterworks of Time: Adolf Lange, The Golden Era of Glashütte

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Geneva

Simon Bartam/ Reinhold Vasters
A LARGE AND IMPRESSIVE ASTRONOMICAL WATCH IN LATER CUSTOM MADE ROCK CRYSTAL CASE WITH DECORATIVE GOLD AND ENAMEL MOUNTS MOVEMENT AND DIAL CIRCA 1635, CASE 19TH CENTURY
Movement: gilded oval full plate, verge escapement, decoratively pierced and floral engraved pinned-on balance cock, plain flat two-arm steel balance, wheel and click set-up, fusee and gut line, pierced tapered pillars, the backplate with decoratively engraved border of flowers and foliage, signed Simon Bartam, Fecit
Dial: gilded, the ground engraved with flowers and foliage, upper dial with central revolving disc indicating date via a blued steel bug, turned blued steel hand indicating month with corresponding signs of the Zodiac, lower dial with Roman numerals, half hour divisions and centred with lakeside scene featuring a pair of swans and a townscape behind, all heightened with red wax, blued steel hand, fan-form aperture indicating days of the week with corresponding allegorical figures, three apertures to the right for moon-phases with time of moon rise above and planetary sign below 
Case: later rock crystal multi-faceted hexagonal case with gold mounts heightened with opaque white and translucent and opaque blue enamels, similarly decorated substantial fixed pendant and terminal
length including pendant and terminal 92.5mm
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Provenance

Carl Marfels Collection
Edward Hornby Collection
George Daniels Collection 
Sotheby's Geneva, 26 November 1982, lot 40

Literature

C. Clutton & G. Daniels, Watches, Sotheby's, 3rd edition, 1979, figs. 71a-c

Catalogue Note

Simon Bartam, London (circa 1598-1667), subscribed £3 in 1630 towards the formation of the Clockmakers' Company. Bartam was made Assistant in 1632, Warden from 1638 and Master in 1650 and took numerous apprentices including Ahasuerus Fromanteel II who was free in 1663. Despite his prominence within the Company, signed examples of his work are very rare, with only a couple of watches and a table clock currently known to have survived. It is thought that he may have worked extensively for Jeremy Gregory.

Reinhold Vasters, Aachen (1827-1909), having trained as a goldsmith, worked in London, Paris and Vienna. He exhibited works at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.

Registering his mark in Aachen in 1853, he was immediately appointed restorer to the Cathedral by Canon Bock, repairing objects from the Cathedral's treasury. Subsequently, in collaboration with the Vienna born Paris marchand-amateur Frédéric Spitzer (1815-1890), Vasters restored and enhanced damaged early works of art, in addition to creating entire pieces in the Renaissance style, working closely with the Parisian jeweller, Alfred André (1839-1919). Spitzer’s clientele included many of the great collectors of the day, notably the Rothschilds in Europe, and J.P. Morgan and Henry Walters in America; many pieces found their way into major museums. Long accepted as genuine it was the re-discovery in the 1970s of a large folio of drawings that had been in the archives of the Victoria & Albert museum since 1919, but never previously studied, that led to a re-evaluation of many objects and jewels, culminating in a detailed study of the entire folio published in 2003 by Miriam Krautwurst as her Doctoral thesis.

Although it is certain that the folio of drawings preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum does not include everything that passed through Vasters' hands, there is no evidence that he made watch or clock movements. On the contrary, all watches known, where he has "enhanced" the cases with gold and enamel mounts, have genuine period movements. Miriam Krautwurst concurs with this conclusion in her introduction to the chapter on watches. Indeed, in most cases, particularly those with a complex "astronomical/calendrical" dial, as is the fact with the current lot, the original dial was retained. There is no identifiable drawing for the enamelled gold frame of the Bartam, however, there is an accurate design for an intended gold and enamel dial overlay which (although not used in the present lot) must have been proposed for this watch. Evidence for this is the existence of the small sector-shaped aperture beside the hour ring at 4 o’clock shown on the drawing. This indication of planetary sign may not be unique, but appears rarely on similar recorded watches (another example being the David Ramsay watch sold Sotheby’s London, 15 December 2015, lot 4). In addition, the drawing shows the projected champlevé decoration as being in translucent green and solid white enamel. These are the same colours as used on the inside of the crystal cover, somewhat unusual in view of the exterior enamels being in blue and white. The large size and exceptional quality of the Bartam dial would have made it a prime candidate for enhancement into a renaissance style jewelled object.

Sotheby's would like to thank Simon Bull, Scholar of early watches, for his assistance in the research of this lot.

Masterworks of Time: Adolf Lange, The Golden Era of Glashütte

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Geneva