Lot No. 108 (94th Auction)
Jean Baptiste Baillon à Paris, 46 mm, 99 g, circa 1770

A charming quarter repeating "à quatre couleurs" gold enamel verge pocket watch "Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy"
Case: gold and polychrome enamel, sound holes, rear bell. Dial: enamel. Movm.: full plate movement, chain/fusee, 2 hammers, three-arm steel balance.

This rare pocket watch is decorated with an extremely fine enamel medallion: Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, is shown in bright colours, with a dramatic theatre mask and a wreath of vine leaves in her hair. At her left are two small boys wrapped in shawls, playing the trumpet. The four-colour gold rim is extravagantly decorated with engravings of a wicker basket, a shalm and a straw hat that extends into the scene.

Jean-Baptiste Baillon (de Fontenay) was a very famous - and in the 18th century the richest - watch- and clockmaker in Paris. In 1727 he became a master; he had his own manufactory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he had several makers working for him - quite unusual at the time. The factory was run by Jean Jodin (1715-1761); it closed in 1765. Ferdinand Berthoud was very impressed by Baillon's business, he admired its size and the excellent quality that was produced. In 1753 Berthoud wrote about Baillon's shop: "Nowadays this is the most beautiful and most wealthy watch shop. Diamonds are not only used for pocket watches but even for clocks". Around 1770 Baillon was appointed watch- and clockmaker to the court of Queen Marie Antoinette, "Premier Valet de Chambre and Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Dauphine to Marie-Antoinette". In 1772 Jean-Baptiste-Albert Baillon died a very rich man. His assets were worth around 384.000 livres. Some of his works are today held by museums in Paris, Toulouse, Brussels, Florence, London und New York.
Source:,_Jean_Baptiste_(3), as of 03/22/2011
Estimate  6,000 - 8,000 €

Price Realised  7,500 €
A lot from a recent auction!

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