T he final sale of the four-part series: Masterworks of Time: Splendours for the East, features rare and exciting pieces made for the Chinese, Turkish, and Indian Markets, including two different sets of pairs: a pair of consecutively-numbered gold, enamel, and pearl-set duplex watches by Vaucher, and a pair of musical automaton watches by Henri Capt. Further highlights, such as a musical scent flacon for the Turkish Market, and an Ilbery enamel duplex watch with a scene of a Chinese Junk ship, demonstrate the exquisite craftsmanship and care that went into creating these pieces specifically made for Eastern markets.
The sale also includes a curated selection of timepieces by indomitable Abraham Louis Breguet; the Father of Modern Horology. Expertly crafted enamels and fascinating complications, including an exceedingly rare astro-navigational deck watch by Ulysse Nardin, complement the sale. The sale encompasses 300 years of horology and clearly puts on the display the genius of storied makers such as IWC, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, Charles Frodsham, and Patek Philippe.
528LotBreguetBreguetA LARGE, FINE AND HIGHLY UNUSUAL GOLD AND SILVER OVAL CALENDAR WATCH WITH THERMOMETER DELIVERED TO COMTE PANIN AS A SIMULATED WATCH WITH SECRET PORTRAIT MINIATURE ON 26 FEBRUARY 1822, LATER COMPLETED AS A WATCH WITH THERMOMETER ON 15 JANUARY 1884 WITH SOUSCRIPTION MOVEMENT AT THE REQUEST OF THE PRINCE SCHERBATOFF FOR THE SUM OF 500 FRANCS, LATER THE PROPERTY OF THE PIANIST ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN 1822 - 1884, NO. 1682/4761 [ 寶璣大型金銀橢圓形日曆懷錶備溫度計，原為定製仿懷錶，內藏迷你畫像，1884年裝入Souscription定製機芯及溫度計，編號1682/4761]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 88,200 CHFEstimate: 100,000 – 150,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 88,200 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
544LotSwissSwissA VERY RARE GOLD, ENAMEL AND DIAMOND-SET SCENT FLACON WITH TIMEPIECE AND CARILLON MUSICAL MOVEMENT IN THE MANNER OF JOHN RICH, MADE FOR THE TURKISH MARKET CIRCA 1790 [ 瑞士製極罕有黃金畫琺瑯鑲鑽石小香瓶造型時計，及JOHN RICH風格鐘樂報時機芯，為土耳其市場製造，年份約1790]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 113,400 CHFEstimate: 50,000 – 70,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 113,400 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
540LotHenry Capt, GenevaHenry Capt, GenevaA PAIR OF VERY FINE AND RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL MUSICAL AUTOMATON WATCHES MADE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET NOS. 6710 & 6711 CIRCA 1820 [ 罕有黃金畫琺瑯音樂活動人偶懷錶一對，為中國市場製造，編號6710及6711，年份約1820 ]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 163,800 CHFEstimate: 60,000 – 80,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 163,800 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
559LotIlbery, LondonIlbery, LondonA 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]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 277,200 CHFEstimate: 20,000 – 30,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 277,200 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
European makers found great success in producing watches made for far-flung Chinese, Indian, and Turkish Markets during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, these particular relationships vastly expanded the repertoires of European makers to include timepieces ranging from the superbly decorated, to the highly complicated, such as unusual calendars, automata, and musical pieces. These watches were made specifically for wealthy and aristocratic clientele in the East. Of all these regions the Chinese market was the most dominant.
The history of trade relations between Europe and the Far East spans dynasties, wars, and political upheavals, but one aspect remains constant: the Chinese fascination with European mechanical novelties rivaled the Europeans’ interest Chinese works of art. It was not until 1601 that the Chinese Emperor first invited a European, the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci, to enter the Forbidden City. Seeking advice on cylindrical science and astronomy, it is no wonder that he was delighted by Ricci’s gifts of chiming clocks (Alfred Chapuis, La Montre Chinoise, p.23). Miniature marvels became exceedingly popular during the late 18th century, and appealed greatly to the Chinese Market. British watch and clock trade flourished through the ports of Macao and Canton. Swiss makers, prevented from exporting pieces by Napoleon’s blockade, relied in British firms to transport and sell their timepieces to clients in the East. The Swiss began their dominance of the Chinese Market in the early 19th century.
Unlike Europeans’ interest in precision time, The Chinese concept of time less reliant on precision than that of the West, resulting in timekeeping devices made for export that highlighted Western creativity and ingenuity. As such, they valued mechanical and decorative aspects that literally brought timepieces to life, such as singing birds and automata. On a basic level, this fomented the inclusion of a center-seconds hand on watches for the Chinese Market. The Chinese had an entirely different system for reading time, so Western timepieces had to include the centre-seconds hand in order to show that they indeed worked. In the upper echelon of timepieces the creation of immensely complex musical timepieces (see lot 549) and miniature scenes that sprang to life when wound (see lot 548) delighted affluent clients in Eastern Markets.
Wealthy Chinese clients also valued aesthetics in their timepieces. Their watches were used as an item of conspicuous consumption, rather than actual time keeping. Thus, Swiss case makers, enamellers, and enamel painters used watches as a canvas to create bright, delicately painted enamel scenes on gold ground; often ensconced within a border of half pearls (see lot 560, by iconic maker Bovet, who dominated the Chinese Market for much of the 19th Century). The interest in aesthetics spread to the movement of Chinese Market pieces as well. Delicately decorated plates and bridges feature exquisitely rendered scrollwork and often balance wheels had halberd-form weights which were said to ward off evil (see lot 566).
Interestingly, most watches made for the Chinese Market contained depictions of Western landscapes, such as wistful Alpine mountain scenes. Many also included painted scenes inspired by European oil paintings or engravings. A particularly unusual piece is lot 559, which features a Chinese Junk at anchor in Whampoa, with its famous Pagoda in the foreground.
Turkish clients favored a slightly different aesthetic than the scenic landscapes made for Chinese buyers. The palette of the enamel, often floral, scenes for Turkish clients leaned slightly more pastel, often featuring turquoise, pale reds, and muted pinks. The dials of Turkish Market pieces nearly always featured Turkish numerals (see lot 576). While Indian Market pieces featured Arabic numerals on the dial, their cases were extravagantly decorated in vivid blues, greens, and reds, and often further heightened with diamonds and other precious stones (see lot 580).
It had also long been traditional to send objects to China in pairs. According to the exhibition catalogue, Le Miroir de la Séduction, Musée Patek Philippe, Geneva, 2010, pp.28, "the Chinese love symmetry; all gifts to a superior, and above all the Emperor, were given in pairs.” European watchmakers presented beautifully rendered pairs that ranged from automatons (see lot 540,) to exquisitely painted enamels. Paired enamels often depicted the same scene, but in mirror image of each other to demonstrate their synchrony (see lot 562).
This carefully curated selection of watches gives collectors the rare opportunity to see the breadth of imagination European watchmakers had in their creations for Eastern Markets. By expanding their clientele to those in Indian, Turkish, and Chinese Markets, European makers had the opportunity to advance their technical skills by creating charming automaton scenes or watches which produced fanciful tunes. Casemakers and enamellers could put their prodigious talent on full display through creating scenes exquisitely rendered with a riot of color and texture. We hope you enjoy these miniature splendours as much as their original owners would have.
518LotA GOLD DOUBLE ENAMEL DIALLED DUMB QUARTER REPEATING CENTRE SECONDS ASTRONOMICAL WATCH WITH CALENDAR, MOON PHASES AND INDICATIONS FOR EQUATION OF TIME CIRCA 1780, NO. 1004 [ 黃金雙琺瑯錶盤二問無聲報時天文懷錶，備日曆、月相及時間等式顯示，年份約1780，編號1004]a gold double enamel dialled dumb quarter repeating centre seconds astronomical watch with calendar, moon phases and indications for equation of time circa 1780, no. 1004 [ 黃金雙琺瑯錶盤二問無聲報時天文懷錶，備日曆、月相及時間等式顯示，年份約1780，編號1004]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 44,100 CHFEstimate: 25,000 – 45,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 44,100 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
535LotBreguetBreguetAN EXTREMELY RARE AND FINE OVERSIZED SILVER SKELETONISED OPEN-FACED ONE-MINUTE TOURBILLON WATCH WITH MINUTE REPETITION, SPLIT-SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH AND 60-MINUTE REGISTER NO. 4698, SOLD TO MONSIEUR DULLES ON 30 APRIL 1962 FOR 9534 NOUVEAUX FRANCS [ 寶璣極罕有特大銀製一分鐘陀飛輪鏤空懷錶，備三問報時、追針及60分鐘計時，編號4698]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 52,920 CHFEstimate: 30,000 – 50,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 52,920 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
541LotA LARGE GOLD THREE TRAIN MUSICAL AND HALF HOUR STRIKING CLOCK WATCH, THE MUSIC PLAYING ON THE HOUR/HALF HOUR AND ON DEMAND CIRCA 1830, NO. 16907 [ 瑞士/法國製大型黃金懷錶，正點、半點及手動操作音樂報時，年份約1830，編號16907]a large gold three train musical and half hour striking clock watch, the music playing on the hour/half hour and on demand circa 1830, no. 16907 [ 瑞士/法國製大型黃金懷錶，正點、半點及手動操作音樂報時，年份約1830，編號16907]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 23,940 CHFEstimate: 12,000 – 18,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 23,940 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
548LotPiguet & MeylanPiguet & MeylanA FINE GOLD AND ENAMEL OPEN-FACED QUARTER REPEATING 'BARKING DOG' AUTOMATON WATCH CIRCA 1815, NO. 7 [ 黃金飾琺瑯二問懷錶飾動物活動場景，年份約1815，編號7]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 35,280 CHFEstimate: 25,000 – 35,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 35,280 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
616LotUlysse Nardin, Locle & GenèveUlysse Nardin, Locle & GenèveINVENTED BY OSCAR E. BATORI AND RAYMOND NARDIN, MADE FOR BATORI COMPUTER COMPANY INC. NEW YORK: A VERY RARE, LARGE AND UNUSUAL BRONZE AND GILDED ASTRO-NAVIGATIONAL KEYLESS OPEN-FACED DECK WATCH WITH BLACK 24-HOUR DIAL SIMULTANEOUSLY INDICATING LOCAL TIME AND HOUR-ANGLE CORRESPONDING TO THE SIDEREAL TIME 1959, NO. 715565 [ 雅典罕有大型鎏金銅天文航海懷錶備黑色24小時錶盤，同時顯示當地時間及恆星時角，年份約1959，編號715565]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 16,380 CHFEstimate: 5,000 – 10,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 16,380 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva
620LotA GOLD OPEN-FACED PERPETUAL CALENDAR KEYLESS LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES CIRCA 1910, NO. 27747 [黃金萬年曆懷錶備月相顯示，年份約1910，編號27747]a gold open-faced perpetual calendar keyless lever watch with moon phases circa 1910, no. 27747 [黃金萬年曆懷錶備月相顯示，年份約1910，編號27747]12 November 2020 | Sale price: 11,970 CHFEstimate: 7,000 – 10,000 CHF12 November 2020 | Sale price: 11,970 CHFMasterworks of Time: Splendours for the East 「時間傑作：西器東傳」2–12 November 2020 | 4:00 PM CET | Geneva