Attributed to Bovet à Fleurier, Case No. 11822, 63 mm, 166 g, circa 1835
A fine and rare enamel pocket watch "bouquet of summer flowers" with jumping centre seconds and 8 day power reserve studded with half pearls for the Chinese market Case: brass/gilt/enamel/pearls. Dial: enamel. Movm.: bridge movement, steel, twin barrel, duplex escapement, three-arm steel balance.
During our 90th auction our lot no. 198 was a nearly identical enamel pocket watch of nearly the same weight and size as this timepiece. It was studded with half pearls and had the case no. 11824. The watch was sold for a hammer price of 40,000 euros.
The exquisitely painted enamel medallion on the back is of supreme quality and shows a beautiful flower arrangement with roses, violets, tulips and other summer flowers on light green ground. The bezels on both sides as well as the pendant and the bow are studded with half pearls – a striking watch in excellent condition.
Amongst the European makers of pocket watches who produced watches for the Chinese market, Ilbery in London and Bovet and Vaucher in Fleurier were the most renowned companies. They had branches in China and exported the movements and the wonderful enamelwork for the timepieces from Switzerland to China. The lavishly ornamented cases always had very distinctive decorations; the motifs were usually taken from nature and have lost nothing of their appeal 200 years later – they are still highly sought-after collector’s pieces. Only very few of these enamel ornaments have survived the years undamaged – this makes a watch in its original condition like this one even more precious.
Master Swiss watchmaker Edouard Bovet was one of the many who concentrated on the Chinese market. He arrived in Canton in 1830 carrying five top-quality watches, all of which he sold immediately, to mandarins who paid him in gold bars. Delighted, he wrote to his brother in Switzerland, enthusing about the market potential and asking him to send more watches, but only of the very best quality, since this was where the demand lay and there was no difficulty about payment. The 17th century Ching Dynasty Emperor K'ang-Hsi was a great admirer of the European sciences, especially that of horology, and he established several imperial workshops in which Chinese craftsmen made clocks and watches under the direction of imported European watchmakers, amongst whom were several masters. At K'ang-Hsi's invitation, the Zougeese master watchmaker François-Louis Stadlin became director of the imperial workshops, and the Emperor's favourite.
Estimate 30,000 - 45,000 €
Price Realised 39,000 €
A lot from a recent auction!
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