Cupid & Psyche
A PAIR OF VERY FINE AND RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL MUSICAL AUTOMATON WATCHES MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET NOS. 6710 & 6711 CIRCA 1820 [ 罕有黃金畫琺瑯音樂活動人偶懷錶一對，為中國市場製造，編號6710及6711，年份約1820 ]
November 12, 03:43 PM GMT
60,000 - 80,000 CHF
Cupid & Psyche
Henry Capt, Geneva
A PAIR OF VERY FINE AND RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL MUSICAL AUTOMATON WATCHES MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET
NOS. 6710 & 6711 CIRCA 1820
[ 罕有黃金畫琺瑯音樂活動人偶懷錶一對，為中國市場製造，編號6710及6711，年份約1820 ]
• Movements: each gilded, cylinder escapements, plain three-arm gold balances, standing barrels for going and musical trains, each with sur plateau musical train, 26 tuned teeth plucking both sides of a pinned disc
• Dials: off-set white enamel time dials with Roman numerals, blued steel hands, outer minute rings, each with polychrome enamel painted classical gardens, no. 6711 additionally with blue flowers to the left side of the scene, the foregrounds each having applied vari-colour gold automaton scene depicting a lady playing a lute while Cupid and a butterfly are shown on a seesaw, the lady's right arm strums the lute whilst the seesaw raises and lowers
• Cases: gold, engine-turned back, band and bezel, plain ring pendant, each with slide to the band beneath 6 o'clock to activate music/automata, gilt-metal cuvettes with three apertures for winding and hand-setting, each cuvette signed Hi Capt, à Genève, inside case backs with maker's mark JR within a lozenge-shaped cartouche and numbered respectively 6710 & 6711
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Henry-Daniel Capt was born in Le Chenit, Switzerland, in 1773. An important maker, Capt specialised in the production of watches and boxes incorporating music and automata. It is said that Capt was the first maker able to manufacture steel teeth that could play all notes of the musical scale. Between 1802 and 1811, Henri-Daniel worked together with Isaac-Daniel Piguet under the business name Piguet & Capt. In 1811, Piguet left the partnership to work with Philippe Meylan and Capt continued alone until 1830, when he entered into a new partnership with Aubert, their firm becoming Aubert & Capt. The majority of watches by Capt are unsigned, it is therefore especially rare to find a consecutively numbered pair of musical automata watches both carrying the maker's signature.
These watches carry finely enamel painted scenes which are each mounted with a vari-colour gold automaton. To the left a lady strums a lute, while a seesaw with a butterfly to one side and Cupid to the other raises and lowers. The butterfly almost certainly represents Psyche with the scene representing the delicate balance of love.