'THE ROSE' PIGUET & MEYLAN | AN EXCEPTIONAL GOLD AND ENAMEL ROSE-FORM TWO-TRAIN MUSICAL AUTOMATON WATCH WITH CENTRE SECONDS, PLAYING ON THE HOUR AND ON REQUEST, MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET CIRCA 1820, NO. 3568
Estimate: 100,000 - 150,000 GBP
PIGUET & MEYLAN
AN EXCEPTIONAL GOLD AND ENAMEL ROSE-FORM TWO-TRAIN MUSICAL AUTOMATON WATCH WITH CENTRE SECONDS, PLAYING ON THE HOUR AND ON REQUEST, MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET
CIRCA 1820, NO. 3568
gilded movement, cylinder escapement, hanging barrels for going and music trains, playing music on demand or on the hour via a pinned disc, 19 tuned teeth, movement stamped PM for Piguet Meylan and numbered 3568 to the top plate beneath the dial, small off-set white enamel time dial with black Roman numerals, outer minute ring, centre seconds, surrounded by a polychrome enamel painted lakeside scene, a vari-colour gold gentleman and a lady in the foreground playing a lute and a harp, their arms moving to strum their instruments, three apertures for winding going and music trains and for handset, dial plate numbered 3568 to the reverse, gold case, the back in the form of a pink rose flower, a rose bud and leaf, all seemingly emanating from a gold and pearl-set sepal and stem which also forms the watch's bow, the bezel similarly decorated in enamel, the band pearl-set and with gold geometric pattern heightened with dark blue enamel, lever beneath bezel for silence/musique, inside back numbered 3568
Movement: not running and music not playing at present.
Dial: appears to be in good condition
Case: chip to edge of case back to left of pendant, bezel has some discolouration in some areas probably indicating repairs, Back with possible signs of restoration. Band with restoration. Beneath the bezel is scratch marked what appears to be the name Melleret, Geneve
"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."
Christie's South Kensington, 29 March 2000, lot 68
Paul Tuck, Horology Under the Hammer, Watches at Auction 1998-2000, Antiquarian Horology, No.1, Vol.26, March 2001, p.37
Piguet & Meylan are renowned for the magnificent watches that they produced for the Chinese market. Intricate decorative finishes played a key part in the creation of their pieces and the firm employed some of the finest enamel painters to embellish their watches. The present watch is typical of the firm's best work, combining sumptuous case decoration with innovative and complex mechanisms for the musical work and the automaton display. Examples of Piguet & Meylan's work can be found in many of the world's foremost collections, including the Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Sandoz Collection.
A pair of similar musical automata rose-form watches by Piguet & Meylan, sequentially the succeeding numbers to the present watch (nos. 3569 & 3570), can be found at the Patek Philippe Museum (Inventory S-150A & S-150B) and are illustrated in P. Friess, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Patek Philippe Museum, Vol.III, pp.550-551). A further similar watch is illustrated in: Alfred Chapuis, Edouard Gélis, Le Monde des Automates, Tome II, p. 43.
The firm of Piguet & Meylan was formed in 1811 by Daniel Isaac Piguet (1775-1841) and Philippe-Samuel Meylan (1772-1845). It was a partnership that would last until 1828. Piguet was born at Chenit in the Vallée de Joux and he later settled in Geneva where he became a Burgher in 1812, one year after he had entered into partnership with Philippe Samuel Meylan to undertake the 'manufacture of watches, jewellery and mechanisms of all kinds' [see: E. Jaquet & A. Chapuis, Technique and History of the Swiss Watch, 1970 edition, p.149]. Piguet specialized in complex watches with carillons and clock watches. Meylan was born at Bas-du-Chenit and is credited with adapting 'tongues' of sonorous metal for the combs of musical movements suitable for watches and other small objects [see op.cit.]. Many advances in the creation of very small and extra thin movements for watches, musical boxes and automata of the most refined sort are credited to Piguet & Meylan, as well as the invention of the sur-plateau musical movement. The automata produced by the firm are considered to be among the finest ever made and include singing birds, barking dogs and even magicians who could 'answer' a series of questions (for an example of a Magician Box, see: Sotheby's New York, 8 June 2016, lot 81).