P. Orr & Sons, Madras, Movement No. 11966, Case No. 11966, 56 mm, 194 g, circa 1900
A rare and heavy minute repeating half hunting case watch with quarter hour self strike "Grande Sonnerie", chronograph and perpetual calendar. A "Grande Complication" for the Indian market! Case: 18k gold, inlaid cobalt blue radial Roman Arabic numerals, polished, engraved crest and motto: "Be Just & Fear Not" to the back cover, gold dome with presentation engraving: "Presented by H.H. the Nizam, G.C.S.I to Maulvi Ahmed Hussain, C.S.I, Hyderabad D. 12th June 1912", case maker punch mark "AFC" (probably Adolph Frankau & Co Gold & Silver Importers of London), pusher for chronograph at "12", slide for repeating mechanism, levers for "strike/silence" and "hours only/hours/quarters" beneath the bezel. Dial: enamel, radial Roman hours, auxiliary seconds, four subsidiary dials indicating day, date and month combined with leap year, moon age and moon phase with cobalt blue enamelled disc with inlaid golden moon and stars, blued double spade hands. Movm.: 4/5 plate movement, ébauche: probably Louis Audemars, frosted, gilt, screwed chatons, signed, 2 hammers / 2 gongs, English lever escapement, gold screw compensation balance.
Maulvi Ahmed Hussain was a subject of Mir Osman Ali Khan (1886-1967), the Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad and was presented with the watch we have here for his loyalty. The Ali Khan family had been ruling in Hyderabad since 1719 and had become extremely prosperous over the years. The Seventh Nizam came to power in 1911 and reigned until 1948, when Hyderabad merged with the Union of India. The Nizam, whose fortune was estimated at $2 billion in the early 1940s, was at the time thought to be the richest man in the world. A loyal ally of Britain, the Nizam supported the British financially all through the First and the Second World War. He was an avid collector who accumulated vast collections; among them were a fleet of 200 Rolls Royce cars and a long list of outstanding diamonds that includes the 184.5k Jacob Diamond. P. Orr & Sons in Madras were the most renowned retailer of fine watches and exquisite jewellery in the region, so it is evident why the Nizam turned to them when looking for something as magnificent as this watch to present a loyal subject with.
Estimate 40,000 - 60,000 €
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