ACHILLE-HUBERT BENOÎT, À PARIS | A VERY RARE, FINE AND EARLY GOLD SPLIT-SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH WATCH CIRCA 1840, NO. 1252
This lot has been withdrawn
ACHILLE-HUBERT BENOÎT, À PARIS
A VERY RARE, FINE AND EARLY GOLD SPLIT-SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH WATCH
CIRCA 1840, NO. 1252
• Movement: gilded movement, lever escapement, the lever's arm with dumb-bell shaped terminal recessed into the plate for banking, compensation balance, spiral spring with over-coil
• Dial: white enamel regulator-type dial, subsidiary dials below for hours and above for the split seconds with blued steel and gold hands, central blued steel sweeping minute hand, the split seconds operated via a button through the pendant, signed A. Benoit, No. 1252
• Case: 18ct gold case with polished covers, chronograph locking slide beside pendant, gold cuvette signed A. Benoit a Paris, No. 1252
The case has some surface scratches in places, but is free from dents
There is a hairline crack at the top seconds dial and there is a minor chip at the dial screw at 3.
Movement running at time of cataloguing, the pusher starting and stopping the chronograph seconds hands. The movement untested for timekeeping
"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."
**Please be advised that bands 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."
The Sir David Salomons Collection
Vera Bryce Salomons
L.A. Mayer Museum, Jerusalem, inventory no. WA 11-70
George Daniels & Ohannes Markarian, Watches and Clocks in the Sir David Salomons Collection, 1980, pp. 200-201 [erroneously published as no. 1292], figs. 120-120b
This is an especially early example of split-seconds work. Joseph-Tadeux Winnerl and Thomas Prest are also known to have produced early examples of split-seconds work for watches. Winnerl invented a form of the mechanism in 1838 which he further improved in 1840. For an example by Winnerl (c.1840), see: Antiquorum Geneva, 14 November 1993, lot 218; for an example by Prest (hallmarked 1840), see: Sotheby's London, 2 July 2019, lot 101. The split seconds hands on the present watch are operated via the pusher to the pendant. Depressing the pusher once sets both hands running; upon the second depression the gold seconds hand is stopped and the blued steel hand continues; upon the third depression, both hands are stopped.
Achille-Hubert Benoît (1804-1895) was a significant figure in French precision watchmaking during the 19th century. He was trained by his father, Pierre, also a watchmaker who himself had worked for Breguet and of whose watches it has been said: "every screw was a masterpiece".1 Achille-Hubert became director of the Royal Clock and watchmaking workshops at Versailles. At the 1834 French Exposition, he received one of the highest awards for a constant force escapement and his company Benoît et Cie received further medals at the Expositions of 1839 and 1844.2 In 1848 Achille-Hubert became the first director of a new horological school at Cluses and it was during his tenure there that Benoît developed an escapement for a tourbillon (for an illustration, see: R. Meis, Das Tourbillon, p. 71, fig. Z109).
1 As related by Antoine Redier, biographer of Louis Perrelet, see: Phillip Arnott, Constant Force Chronometer, no. 1 attributed to Paul Garnier, Antiquarian Horology, No. 1, Vol. 33, September 2011, p. 55.
2 ibid p.69.