Lot No. 329 (89th Auction)
Jean V. Mussard à Genève / Michael Brosi, 52 mm, 127 g, circa 1720

A rare and fine "Oignon"
Case: brass, firegilt, back with polychrome enamel painting: portrait of a lady in a powdered wig, a blue dress and a red cape before an indistinct columned hall in the background; lateral cartouches with landscape motifs separated by yellow volutes and ornamental bands. Cartouche with signature near the lower edge: "Mussard pinxit". Inside: monochrome painting of an idealized landscape with a wayfaring man on a light blue ground. Dial: enamel, blue radial Roman numerals, blued Fleur-de-Lys hands. Movm.: full plate movement, keywind, firegilt, signed, chain/fusee, Egyptian movement pillars, three-arm steel balance, pierced balance cock with finely engraved birds, fish and mascarons.

The influence of the Blois school is easily recognizable in this outstanding piece; the Grisaille painting on a light blue background in the inside of the lid is a clear indication of it. Only a small number of watches have this kind of decoration.
In early 17th century France, Blois was stronghold of the enamel painting and watchmaking industry. However, many Huguenot craftsmen were forced to leave their homes because of their religion - Pierre Huaud, founder of the Huaud dynasty, was one of them. He settled in Geneva in 1630 to work as an enameller; the Huauds’ creations stood out from the work of the Geneva school because of their inimitable beauty. They were not only highly treasured at the time but continued to be admired as masterpieces of art in the centuries that followed. Jean V. Mussard (1681-1754) was a cousin of the Huauds who became one of the most famous enamel painters of the early 18th century. His work was obviously inspired by that of the Huauds even if his motifs conformed to the prevailing taste of the Regency era - in addition to the religious subjects his pieces also show secular motifs, as does the watch at hand.
Estimate  22,000 - 26,000 €
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