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Lot No. 244
Estimate  32,000 - 40,000 €
This is a lot of a former auction!

"The Spinning Maiden", French

, Case No. 3012, 42 mm, 58 g, circa 1780

An exquisite pocket watch "à quatre couleurs" with concealed automaton, cylinder escapement and corresponding chatelaine - with original green morocco case

Case: 18k gold, four-colour "à quatre couleurs", chased and engraved decoration. Dial: enamel. Movm.: full plate movement, keywind, 2 barrels, three-arm steel balance, balance bridge built in the form of a dragonfly.

The back shows a central oval with a lute and a colonnade; the colonnade’s top part is decorated with flowers and opens at the press of a button to reveal the automated scene behind a glass pane: a female figure carved from bone at a spinning wheel, which starts turning when the pendant is pressed - the lady moves her arm and works the spindle.

The corresponding chatelaine has been fashioned from polished steel and marcasite and has four striking pendants: a gold agate signet with an engraving of Ovid, a watch key in the form of a bellows with enamel inlay, a small gold fan and a gold watch key with three-colour gold ornamentation.

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.

A nearly identical piece is illustrated and described in "Les Automates" by Alfred Chapuis and Edmond Droz, Neuchatel 1949, p. 181, illus. 189.
Case: very good, worn
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running, cleaning recommended

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