View full screen - View 1 of Lot 559. A RARE AND FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL CENTRE SECONDS DUPLEX WATCH MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET WITH POLYCHROME ENAMEL PAINTED SCENE DEPICTING A JUNK SAILING BY THE WHAMPOA REACH PAGODA CIRCA 1830, NO. 6973 [ 罕見黃金畫琺瑯懷錶,飾琺瑯彩繪帆船駛經黃埔寶塔場景,為中國市場製造,年份約1830,編號6973].
559

Ilbery, London

A RARE AND FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL CENTRE SECONDS DUPLEX WATCH MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET WITH POLYCHROME ENAMEL PAINTED SCENE DEPICTING A JUNK SAILING BY THE WHAMPOA REACH PAGODA CIRCA 1830, NO. 6973 [ 罕見黃金畫琺瑯懷錶,飾琺瑯彩繪帆船駛經黃埔寶塔場景,為中國市場製造,年份約1830,編號6973]

Whampoa Reach

Ilbery, London

Ilbery, London

A RARE AND FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL CENTRE SECONDS DUPLEX WATCH MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET WITH POLYCHROME ENAMEL PAINTED SCENE DEPICTING A JUNK SAILING BY THE WHAMPOA REACH PAGODA CIRCA 1830, NO. 6973 [ 罕見黃金畫琺瑯懷錶,飾琺瑯彩繪帆船駛經黃埔寶塔場景,為中國市場製造,年份約1830,編號6973]

A RARE AND FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL CENTRE SECONDS DUPLEX WATCH MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET WITH POLYCHROME ENAMEL PAINTED SCENE DEPICTING A JUNK SAILING BY THE WHAMPOA REACH PAGODA CIRCA 1830, NO. 6973 [ 罕見黃金畫琺瑯懷錶,飾琺瑯彩繪帆船駛經黃埔寶塔場景,為中國市場製造,年份約1830,編號6973]

Whampoa Reach

Ilbery, London


A RARE AND FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL CENTRE SECONDS DUPLEX WATCH MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET WITH POLYCHROME ENAMEL PAINTED SCENE DEPICTING A JUNK SAILING BY THE WHAMPOA REACH PAGODA

CIRCA 1830, NO. 6973

[ 罕見黃金畫琺瑯懷錶,飾琺瑯彩繪帆船駛經黃埔寶塔場景,為中國市場製造,年份約1830,編號6973]


• Movement: gilded Chinese calibre decoratively engraved with scrolling flowers and foliage against a stippled ground, similarly decorated hanging barrel, skeletonised balance cock and central bridge, duplex escapement, five-arm polished steel flat balance, diamond endstone, signed and numbered Ilbery, London 6973

• Dial: white enamel, Roman numerals, outer minute ring with Arabic 15-minute divisions, gold hands and centre seconds

• Case: gold, the back with polychrome enamel painted scene depicting a Chinese junk ship at Whampoa reach, front and back bezels decorated with opaque light blue and black champlevé enamel, pendant similarly decorated, pusher through pendant to release case back, plain polished hinged gilt-metal cuvette with apertures for winding and hand-setting


diameter 58mm


To view Shipping Calculator, please click here

Movement: appears to be in good clean condition, however, is fully wound at present and not running - perhaps due to old oil. Slight impulse to the balance will briefly engage the escapement and the centre seconds hand will momentarily also advance as expected. Dial: small scratch between 6 and 7 o'clock - dial only inspected through the glass at the time of cataloguing, Case: enamel to case back appears to be in good overall condition. The bezels with repairs in soft enamel, pendant enamel also with some small repairs. Cuvette has been re-gilded.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome). Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species. Please be advised that wristbands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

"Ilbéry était un grand artiste et en même temps un technicien hors ligne. Ses montres, vrais chronomètres de l'époque, sont aussi parfaites par la décoration extérieure que par le mouvement." A. Chapuis, La Montre Chinoise, p. 181.


The scene to the case back depicts a Chinese Junk in front of the island of Whampoa (Huangpu) with the nine-story Pazhou or Whampoa reach pagoda. Whampoa is situated on the Pearl river about a dozen miles from Canton. A deep water port and it was at Whampoa that Western ships were required to drop anchor, pay their taxes and arrange for Junk boats to transport their goods to shore. The buildings to the right of the scene are almost certainly trading warehouses. A very similar enamel painted panel, depicting the same Whampoa scene and Junk can be found at the Patek Philippe Museum, Inv. S-674, the latter watch has a case by Bovet and is illustrated in P. Friess, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Patek Philippe Museum, Vol. III, p.486 and A. Tellier & M. Didier, The Mirror of Seduction, Patek Philippe Museum, 2010, p. 148.


In his book, La Montre Chinoise, Alfred Chapuis ascribes the origins of the Chinese calibre movement to William Ilbery, stating that it was a style that the Bovets would go on to copy [see op. cit. p.180]. The movement in the present watch is an especially fine example of this genre with its highly decoratively engraved plates, bridges and barrel cover. With five spokes and a highly polished broad, flat rim, the balance provides a dramatic visual display as the watch runs.


Chapuis also credits Ilbery with the distinctive style of the Chinese market watch case. Such cases were usually highly decorative, featuring elaborate and often intricately arranged enamel decoration. The most prized watches would feature polychrome enamel painted panels depicting floral bouquets, classical or pastoral themes and landscapes or harbour scenes such as that found on the present watch. While some enamelling was completed in London, the majority, especially the finely painted panels, were executed in Geneva. 


William Ilbery ran his watch business together with his brother James, the former being based predominantly at Doughty Street in London, the latter developing the firm's activities in Canton. Together the brothers led a highly successful export business, producing some of the finest Chinese market watches of the period.