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Lot No. 61
Estimate  100,000 - 150,000 €
This is a lot of a former auction!

Attributed to Pierre Simon Gounouilhou, 59 mm, 135 g

, circa 1810

An important gold enamel pocket watch with seven automatons "The Dutch Kitchen" - one of the most successful automata produced in Geneva in the early 19th century. There are fewer than a dozen "Kitchen" automata known.

Case: 18k pink gold, glazed back with a polychrome enamelled genre painting and an applied four colour gold automaton scene. Dial: enamel. Movm.: bridge movement, keywind, chain/fusee, 2 barrels, cylinder escapement, three-arm brass balance.

The four-colour gold automaton scene shows a Dutch kitchen where the following sequences are performed:
1. On the left, a maidservant works at a spinning wheel
2. The spinning wheel turns
3. In the centre a fire blazes in the hearth
4. A couple of chickens turn on a spit
5. On the right, a jumping dog in a wheel drives the spit
6. The spit
7. On the far right, water runs from a fountain

In the foreground a chased scene shows a cat with its kittens in a basket; to its right another maidservant sits on the floor. The enamel background is decorated with polychrome painting and displays the rest of the kitchen equipment.

The automaton is independent of the watch movement; it is operated by a barrel with train that activates it via cams and levers.

A very similar piece is owned by the Patek Philippe Museum (Vol. IV, p. 37, inventory no. S-962).

The first automatons were developed in the late 18th century in Geneva - they were small masterpieces that were able to imitate the movements of living creatures or objects. Some of them were also fitted with musical movements. These marvellous works of art were highly sought after, not only in Europe but also in the Chinese or Ottoman empires.
Produced in the early 19th century, the "Dutch kitchen" is one of the most striking and rarest pieces of its kind due to its complexity - it was also one of the favourite motifs created by Geneva watchmaker Pierre Simon Gounouilhou (1779-1847).
Less than a dozen of these kitchen automatons are known today and they are all owned by renowned collections and museums. Another one is illustrated and described in "Histoire et Technique de La Montre Suisse", 1945 by E. Jaquet and A. Chapuis, and in "Le Monde des Automates", Paris 1928 by A. Chapuis and E. Gelis.

Today, French Protestant Pierre-Simon Gounouilhou (1779-1847) is regarded as "one of the greats" - a maker of outstanding creativity and originality who had a significant influence on the watchmaking industry in Geneva; in 1799 he had his workshop at Quai Neuf en l'Isle no. 241 in Geneva. Gounouilhou created a large number of striking pieces such as automatons with or without musical movement, ring watches with virgule escapement and quarter repeater, or Jacquemart automatons. In February 1829 he was one of the petitioners for the installation of a new observatory.
Case: very good
Dial: very good, hairlines, slightly chipped
Movm.: very good, capable of running, cleaning recommended

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