Lot No. 141* (94th Auction)
Romilly à Paris, 38 mm, 42 g, circa 1785

A striking gold verge pocket watch with corresponding pearl-studded chatelaine, decorated with polychrome enamelling and carnelian gems
Case: 22k gold. Dial: enamel. Movm.: full plate movement, keywind, chain/fusee, three-arm brass balance.

The back of this lovely fine pocket watch is decorated with an opaque blue enamel medallion with delicate gold scrolls and white and red flowers. In the centre sits a landscape oval carnelian gem with a carved image of Diana, goddess of the hunt. The striking three-part gold chatelaine is decorated with three oval carnelian gems with carved images of mythological gods and muses: The top one shows Minerva, goddess of wisdom, in the middle one, offerings are made to Jupiter; the bottom part shows Terpsichore, muse of dance and chorus, about to dance. The gems are connected with gold fillets decorated with blue enamelling, floral ornaments and applied pearls.

Jean Romilly (1714-1796) was a Swiss watchmaker, journalist and encyclopedist. He was born in Geneva as one of the four sons of watchmaker Pierre Romilly and his wife Jacqueline Balexert. The family originally came from Gien-sur-Loire in France and had emigrated to Switzerland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Jean Romilly first worked in his father’s family business with his uncle and his three brothers. He left Geneva in 1734 and went to Paris, where he settled at the Place Dauphine and became a master in 1752.
Romilly wrote several horological books. He knew Denis Diderot and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and penned about 12 articles for the Encyclopédie, for example on the technical aspects of watchmaking. In 1754 he presented a paper on escapements to the Académie des Sciences in Paris. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a friend of Romilly and they were in close contact all through his life.
In addition to watchmaking Jean Romilly was also interested in meteorology. He is said to have presented a marine chronometer to the Académie des Sciences around 1766, more or less at the same time as Pierre Le Roy and Jean-Pierre Tavernier (1714-1795). However, the chronometer was allegedly damaged during a revision in the country and Jean Romilly was forced to withdraw it from the test.
In 1777 Romilly and his son-in-law Guillaume Ollivier de Corancez (1780-1816) founded the first French daily newspaper, the Journal de Paris that was considered to be "the organ of the enlightened bourgeoisie”.
Source:​macher%29, as of 10/05/2015
Estimate  29,000 - 35,000 €
This is a lot of a former auction!

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