'THE KITCHEN' SWISS | A RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL WATCH WITH AUTOMATON DEPICTING A KITCHEN SCENE ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-SIMON GOUNOUILHOU, GENEVA CIRCA 1820
Estimate: 50,000 - 100,000 GBP
A RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL WATCH WITH AUTOMATON DEPICTING A KITCHEN SCENE ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-SIMON GOUNOUILHOU, GENEVA
gilded full plate movement, verge escapement, cylindrical pillars, fusee and chain, automaton driven by a separate spring barrel and train driving the automaton by means of cams and levers, time dial white enamel, Arabic numerals, outer minute ring, separate apertures for winding going and automaton trains, gold case, the back with polychrome enamel painted harbour scene in the manner of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) depicting three sailing ships, a fishing boat in the foreground with two fishermen aboard and a lady standing on the shore in the foreground, a further man and a lady to the left, the man with a fishing rod, classical buildings to the right and mountains in the distance, champlevé enamel border, the front bezel pearl-set, lever at 5 o'clock for operating the automaton scene, regulation arm between 2 and 3 o'clock, the back opening to reveal the polychrome enamel painted and vari-colour gold automaton kitchen scene, a seated lady spins her yarn, her left arm moving and her leg operating a pedal to turn her spinning wheel whilst two chickens turn upon a spit roasting in front of the fire, above a dog runs inside a wheel to power the spit jack, at the right water runs from a fountain, below a vari-coloured gold scene depicts a child sitting next to the fountain and a dog plays with a cat by a basket of vegetables
Case: There is a small chip to the enamel scene on the reverse at 3 o clock. There are some small losses to the enamel around the band. Pearls to the front are intact and in good order. There is evidence of a small tear to the inside edge of the case back.
Dial: there are very tiny chips around the winding apertures.
Movement: the watch mechanism ticks when wound
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports 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. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. 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.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Antiquorum Geneva, 11 October 2003, lot 117
A small number of watches with kitchen scene automata are known, the majority are double open-faced with the automata scenes immediately visible to the case back - the present watch is a rare example with a finely polychrome enamel painted cover to the back which conceals the automaton from view. Similar kitchen scenes can be found on a watch signed by Pierre-Simon Gounouilhou, Geneva, the latter illustrated in E. Jaquet, A Chapuis, Technique and History of the Swiss Watch, 1970, plate 96. Pierre-Simon Gounouilhou (1779-1847) settled in Geneva in 1799 and quickly established a reputation as an inventive and talented maker of watches, automata and musical boxes. For watches with similar kitchen scenes, see: Sotheby's Geneva, 15 May 2011, lot 57; Sotheby's Geneva, Masterworks of Time Part II, 11 November 2019, lot 43; E. Jaquet & A. Chapuis, Technique and History of the Swiss Watch, 1970, pl. 96; and the Patek Philippe Museum inv. S-962 - the latter illustrated in P. Friess, Patek Philippe Museum - The Emergence of the Portable Timepiece, Vol. IV, p. 37.