Lot No. 135* (89th Auction)
Attributed to Antoine Rojard, Swiss, 37 x 21 x 11 mm, 17 g, circa 1800

An extraordinary, navette shaped half pearl-set ring watch with seconds
Case: 18k rose gold, the bezel set with half pearls, florally engraved rim, back with winding, setting, and regulating apertures. Dial: enamel, eccentric chapter ring with Arabic numerals for the indication of minutes and hours in the lower part, eccentric chapter ring with Arabic numerals for seconds at the top, blued hands. Movm.: navette-shaped movement, frosted, gilt, cylinder escapement.

Ring Watches
Very few makers were capable of making ring watches, considered as marvels of watchmaking. Around 1800 only Piguet et Capt, Antoine Rojard, and Pierre Simon Gounouilhou are known to make them. Among around sixty ring watches from that period we have records of, only three are signed, or rather scratched (by Piguet et Capt). The present one is in the style of Antoine Rojard whose claim to fame comes from his ring watch worn, according to the tradition, by Napoleon Bonaparte. Rojard and Humbert were practically the only competitors to Jaquet-Droz and his circle. In a letter to Frisard, Leschot writes about a certain worker "I think it best to treat him with tact…. He could harm us by going over to Humbert or Rojard".
Miniaturization in horology began in the 14th century. By the early 17th century, miniaturization was in full bloom. A German maker produced a small stackfreed watch with a movement measuring only 10 mm, less than 4 ½'''!
As early as the 1580s, watchmakers were fascinated with the idea of fitting a watch into a ring. Only a few succeeded. In the early days, successful attempts ended up on a King's or Prince's finger, or that of a prelate. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art there is a very early ring watch, dating from about 1560 and signed I.W. The Mantua archives contain a letter from James Widman to the Duke of Mantua concerning three ring watches, and it is quite possible that one of them is the one in the Metropolitan Museum. In 1764, the young John Arnold presented an extraordinary ring watch to King George III of England. It was a half quarter repeater, less than two centimeters in diameter and had 120 parts. The watch brought fame to Arnold and established him as a very capable watchmaker. Czar Paul I of Russia offered Arnold double what George III had paid - already a small fortune of £500 - but Arnold refused.

This Lot comes from this tradition. The attribution to Rojard comes from the technical similarities of this movement to the Rojard's worn by Napoleon (sold at an auction in Geneva on November 13, 2010 for 92,500CHF).
Estimate  7,500 - 10,000 €
A lot from a recent auction!

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