View full screen - View 1 of Lot 131. An oval gold and polychrome enamel painted watch case with later custom-made movement  Case circa 1665-1675, movement circa 1760.
131

Joh. Gottl. Ulrich, Hamburg

An oval gold and polychrome enamel painted watch case with later custom-made movement Case circa 1665-1675, movement circa 1760

Estimate:

5,000

to
- 7,000 GBP

Property from the Masterworks of Time Collection

Joh. Gottl. Ulrich, Hamburg

Joh. Gottl. Ulrich, Hamburg

An oval gold and polychrome enamel painted watch case with later custom-made movement Case circa 1665-1675, movement circa 1760

An oval gold and polychrome enamel painted watch case with later custom-made movement Case circa 1665-1675, movement circa 1760

Estimate:

5,000

to
- 7,000 GBP

Lot sold:

6,930

GBP

Property from the Masterworks of Time Collection

Joh. Gottl. Ulrich, Hamburg

An oval gold and polychrome enamel painted watch case with later custom-made movement 

Case circa 1665-1675, movement circa 1760


Movement: later custom made oval gilded, verge escapement, flat steel three-arm balance, decoratively pierced and engraved balance cock, silver regulation plate, fusee and chain, cylindrical pillars, signed Joh. Gottl. Ulrich, Hamburg, no. 400

Dial:later silver dial plate, Roman numerals, inner and outer minute rings, central engraved blazing sun motif, gilded surround engraved with flowers and foliage 

Case: gold, polychrome enamel painted, the back and vignette panels to the sides depicting scenes from the story of Pyramus & Thisbe, the interior painted with the figures of Pyramus & Thisbe on a turquoise ground heightened with blue and green enamel, later decoratively engraved bezel

length 47mm

Movement: running and striking on the hour at time of cataloguing, trip repeat also operating and sounding clearly on the bell. The strike silent lever will not stay in the silent position and resets itself to the strike position before the hour is reached. Small marks and scratches.


Dial: has been cleaned, no wax infill to numerals, small marks and scratches.


Case: with light scuffs and scratches, decorative scheme remains well defined to band. Thumb piece to outer case is very dented. Light scuffs and scratches also to outer case. The sprung pusher to the outer case does not currently reach and therefore activate the trip repeat, its spring mounted beneath the bezel is worn and bent and will probably need replacement.


Please note that Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.


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.

Joh. Gottfr. Ulrich from Hamburg is listed by Abeler in Meister der Uhrmacherkunst as born on 15 August 1715. Ulrich died on 29 January 1783. In his listing for Ulrich, Abeler notes a gold and enamel watch in the style of Huaut[d], see op. cit. p.626. 

The enamel case of the present watch is most likely German (although possibly Netherlandish) and dates to c. 1665-1675. The movement has been custom made to fit the case and would doubtless have been produced to replace the original movement that had perhaps become damaged, or possiby to provide an upgrade to the watch in terms of its timekeeping.


The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Forbidden to marry by their parents, the protagonists secretly arrange to meet outside their city walls. Thisbe arriving first finds a lioness drinking from a fountain. Terrified, Thisbe flees and drops her cloak in the process. The lioness, which had arrived fresh from a kill with blood around its mouth, proceeded to tear Thisbe's cloak to shreds. Arriving at the scene, Pyramus discovers Thisbe's shredded and bloodied cloak and, assuming the worst, kills himself. Thisbe returns to find her lover dead and in grief throws herself upon his sword. Pyramus's blood was said to colour Mulberries red for all time. In James Hall's Dictionary of Symbols and Subjects in Art, the author notes that: "the death scene became widely popular in post-Renaissance painting" (op. cit. 1993, p. 257). The vignettes to the sides of the case include depictions of Thisbe fleeing the lioness as well as Thisbe falling on Pyramus's sword upon finding the latter's body.