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Lot No. 117* (95th Auction)
Bovet à Fleurier, Movement No. 715, Case No. 715, 55 mm, 124 g, circa 1835

An extremely rare enamel pocket watch of high quality with centre seconds, studded with half pearls for the Chinese market - "Bouquet of Summer Flowers"
Case: silver/gilt/enamel/split pearls, glazed movement. Dial: enamel. Movm.: bridge movement, English lever escapement, standing barrel, screw compensation balance.

The exquisitely painted enamel medallion on the back is of supreme quality and shows a beautiful flower arrangement with roses, dahlias, cornflowers, violets, poppies and other summer flowers on azure ground. The bezels on both sides as well as the pendant and the bow are studded with half pearls.

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.

Edouard Bovet born in Fleurier, Switzerland in 1797, son of a local master-watchmaker, Jean-Frédéric Bovet. Edouard had four brothers, Frédéric, Alphonse, Gustave, Charles-Henri, and a sister, Caroline. In 1814 Edouard Bovet is against Neuchâtel's return to Prussian rule after the fall of Napoleon. After his apprenticeship, he leaves Fleurier with Alphonse and Frédéric to work as a watchmaker in London -then the centre of Europe's watch trade and manufacture. 1818 Edouard Bovet's employer, the Magniac company, sends him to Canton, the only Chinese port open to Western trade. He leaves England on the East India merchantman, Orwell, on April 20, arriving in Canton via the Cape of Good Hope on August 16. 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. Since 1822 Bovet, now living in Canton, founds a partnership company for the China watch trade with his two brothers in London, Alphonse and Frédéric, and his third brother Gustave, watchmaker in Fleurier. The charter of the company is drawn up in London on May 1. Business booms, and the company quickly transfers production to Fleurier.
Estimate  25,000 - 40,000 €

Price Realised  35,300 €
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