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Piguet & Meylan
 
Lot No. 185
Lot No. 185
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An important gold enamel quarter repeating pocket watch with centre seconds, two automatons and music playing on the hour, studded with half pearls for the Chinese market with original gold-covered and velvet-lined morocco case - "Bouquet of Summer Flowers"
Estimate  150,000 - 200,000 €
a lot of the last auction!
Product Details
CASE
18 K rose gold, polychrome enamel, half pearls, florally decorated gold dome with champlevé enamel.
very good, restaurations.
DIAL
White and polychrome enamel, two automatons "à quatre couleurs".
very good, hairline.
MOVEMENT
Bridge movement, keywind, 2 going barrels, cylinder escapement, three-arm ring balance, 2 hammers / 2 gongs, double sided pinned-disc musical mechanism (sur plateau) with vibrating blades; mirror-polished, bevelled levers for musical movement.
very good, to be restored, capable of running.
CASE NO.
4836
DIMENSIONS
53 mm
CIRCA
1820
WEIGHT
127 g
ORIGIN
Switzerland
Product Description

This wonderful piece is like an untouched attic find; watches of this kind are rarely offered at present.
It is a perfect example from the heyday of enamel painting in Geneva during the first half of the 19th century - an unrivalled quality that had never been reached before and likewise, was never achieved again in later days. Enamel painting is the ultimate in enamelling work such as "Cloisonné" and "Champlevé". The miniature painting of this bouquet of flowers is of a resplendent perfect beauty that is further enhanced by the dazzling and finely hued array of colours.
The individual colours were applied in layers and burned at 800-900 degrees of heat - a skill that required extreme craftsmanship, patience and expertise. The process itself comprised 20 or more layers and burning sequences, where each sequence posed a danger to the work carried out previously. Finally a transparent layer of enamel was applied to protect the painting and intensify the colours; this was known as the "Fondant de Genève". The whole process demanded utmost care and patience, it often took four to six months to finish an enamel miniature of such supreme quality.
The exquisitely painted enamel medallion on the back is of supreme quality and shows a beautiful flower arrangement with roses, violets, morning glories and other summer flowers on an opaque light violet ground. The case band, the pendant and the bow are decorated with Champlevé enamelling in a pattern of opaque light and dark blue panels, studded with half pearls. The bezels on both sides as well as the pendant and the bow are studded with half pearls as well - a timepiece of exceptional quality and intensity of colour.
The eccentric white dial with Roman numerals and centre seconds is embedded in a pastoral scene against an opaque polychrome background. When the automaton movement is activated, the two four-colour gold automaton figures begin to move at the lower edge of the dial: on the left a youth plays a lute, on the right a lady a hurdy-gurdy. At the same time, the musical mechanism begins to play.

Piguet was an expert craftsman who produced his watches in partnership with Henry Capt and Philippe Samuel Meylan, and later also with his sons. Philippe Samuel Meylan came to Geneva at the age of 20 to work for Audemars Frères. He opened his own workshop near Le Brassus in 1811, but returned to Geneva later. He met Piguet and formed the partnership with him; they worked in Geneva under the name "Piguet & Meylan" from 1811 to 1828. The company was well known for the production of early "China-watches" and became famous for its pocket watches with special functions; they created automatons with man and animal shapes and intricate musical mechanisms as well as skeleton watches.

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