Attributed to Leo Juvet, Fleurier, Case Nos. 4569 and 4570, 56 mm, 120 and 122 g, circa 1880
A rare pair of matching mirror-image enamel pocket watches "Flower Bouquets" of museum quality with jumping centre seconds produced for the Chinese market - with original velvet-lined red morocco case and original watch keys Case: silver/gilt/enamel/pearls, glazed movements. Dial: enamel. Movements: bridge movement, keywind, finely hand-engraved and floral and scroll decorated, each with a lavishly engraved going barrel, Chinese duplex escapement according to Edouard Jacot, monometallic balance with blued steel weights.
A similar pair with the same subject was sold during our last auction for 100.000 EUR (Lot 112/92th auction), but these watches had a larger diameter of 63 mm. A second pair was sold at Christie's Geneva 12 November 2012 - Lot 42 for 105.000 CHF. A third pair with hunting scenes was sold at Sotheby’s New York 06/12/2011 - lot 291 for 236.500 USD. On May 17, 2008 we sold a pair of gold enamel pocket watches with pastoral scenes made by Juvet, which is now in the Musée L.U.CEUM - Traces du Temps, Chopard Manufacture S.A. in Fleurier and were on loan to the exhibition "Le Miroir de la Séduction".
Watches for the Chinese Market Imperial China was at its height in the 18th century. Not only the wealthy imperial couple but prosperous merchants and civil servants too were affluent enough to afford high-priced luxury goods. They often bought watches, either to extend their own collections or to pay tribute to the emperor by presenting him with valuable gifts. Europe recognized the burgeoning financial power in the Chinese society and, in addition to exporting the high value Swiss timepieces, the companies began to open their own branches in China. To ensure that contemporary tastes were met and cultural demands of the time satisfied, the preferences of the "new" clientele were carefully investigated. The Chinese penchant for symmetry and dual existence were taken into consideration. The existence of pairs in all aspects of life also symbolizes cosmic wholeness. The Chinese ideals were implemented and watches were produced in pairs; British makers arranged them symmetrically while the Swiss favoured an assymetric order and marked both of the watches with the same number. Makers in Val-de-Travers marked the "twins" with an extra small sign that can be seen on the pair we have here. The lavishly decorated watch cases always stood out for their distinctive ornamentation. Shapes, colours and motifs were taken from nature; quality and design were second to none. Flower arrangements were immensely popular because they offered a myriad of possibilities for shape and colour. They came with or without pidgeons, on light or dark grounds that might be opaque or translucent - besides landscapes and traditional Chinese figures, flowers were by far the most popular motif.
Edouard & Léo Juvet à Fleurier The Juvet family was one of the important Swiss horological families which produced pieces for the Chinese market. Edouard Juvet (1820-1883) opened his workshop in Buttes in 1842 and moved to Fleurier in 1844. In 1856 Edouard started making watches for the Chinese market; both his sons Ami-Louis and Léo eventually went to China to work in the family firm there. After Ami-Louis had died there, Léo (1848-1891) travelled to China to take his place. Only the Bovets rivalled the Juvets in Shanghai - however, the two families always maintained friendly relations. The Juvets flourished with branches in Beijing and Tianjin, to the extent that in 1872 Léo wrote: "Our watches sell like salt". Edouard Juvet registered a trademark in Chinese characters in 1873, to be used on the company's products. In November 1875 he granted his son Léo power of attorney; after Edouard's death in February 1883, Léo succeeded him as head of the firm. The pocket watches by Juvet with their finely handcrafted and unique artistic style were welcomed by the royal family members of the Qing Dynasty. Juvet has since become the emperor's watch brand. Owning a Juvet pocket watch is a symbol of nobility.
Estimate 35,000 - 50,000 €
This is a lot of a former auction!
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