Ilbery, London, Movement No. 1227, 51 mm, 108 g, circa 1795
A very fine, decorative gold enamel pocket watch for the Chinese market Case: 18k gold, the back lid with a fine composition of summer flowers against an engine-turned and translucent dark red ground, red enamelled bezels and pendant with gold ornaments, case maker's punch mark "IM" (possibly Jonah Mince, London). Dial: enamel, domed, radial Roman numerals, gold hands. Movm.: very finely florally engraved full plate movement, keywind, gilt, signed, verge escapement, three-arm steel balance, chain/fusee, fine florally engraved, pierced balance cock, chatoned diamond endstone on balance.
The design of this movement implies that this is the earliest type of gold enamel watch that was created for the Chinese market. The movement is a classical English design; the typical 'Chinese' bridge movements were not invented at the time and only started appearing about 10 to 15 years later.
William Ilbery (ca. 1760-1839) William Ilbery began working in London’s Goswell Street in 1780 and moved to Duncan Terrace later. Influenced by the examples of James Cox in London and Pierre Jaquet-Droz in Switzerland, Ilbery specialized in producing luxury watches for the Chinese Market. At first he very much adhered to the traditional English style with its full plate movement and duplex escapement. For later movements Ilbery took his inspiration from the Lepine caliber with free-standing barrel, as did Jaquet-Droz with the watches he signed in London and William Anthony in London. Ilbery had the cases of his watches exquisitely decorated by the best enamellers from Geneva such as Jean-Francois-Victor Dupont or Jean-Louis Richter. William Ilbery initiated the production of opulently engraved movements for the Asian market in Fleurier in Switzerland; other makers in Fleurier such as Bovet and Juvet followed his example. Ilbery should therefore be considered one of the most renowned makers of the so-called "Chinese watches". Although he worked mainly in London, Ilbery kept in close contact with the trade in other countries; a watch signed "Ilbery Paris" is known and Ilbery & Son are recorded in London and Fleurier as well as in Canton.
Estimate 42,000 - 50,000 €
This is a lot of a former auction!
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