Attributed to Piguet & Capt. à Genève / "RL&C" (Rémond, Lamy & Cie. à Genève), 83 x 37 x 16 mm, 111 g, circa 1804
An exceptional, highly attractive and very rare three compartment gold and enamel snuff box with concealed watch and automaton for the Chinese Market - a testament to the craftsmanship of the Geneva Fabrique of the beginning 19th century Case: 18K gold and polychrome enamel. Maker's punch mark "RL&C" (Rémond, Lamy & Cie., 1801-1804). Dial: enamel. Movm.: full plate movement, keywind, cylinder escapement, three-arm brass balance. Automaton mechanism: rectangular, full-plate, brass train.
Rectangular box with a top part divided in three compartments with hinged lids. The central lid is decorated with an opaque enamel miniature painting showing a pastoral scene: a young man fishing in a lake, flanked by two washerwomen. The two smaller outer lids are decorated with a pair of vases and flowers on an opaque black ground. The left one conceals a four-colour gold scene with three automatons that are activated when the lid is lifted and show a stonemason working on a temple wall and another stonemason working on a building block; in the background a windmill on a large rock is turning - the rock is part of a mountain landscape with houses and a stream made of polychrome enamel. The compartment on the right holds the clock movement with a separate minute dial at the top and the hour dial below. The parts are elaborately ornamented with engraved laurel bands, a pair of doves, a torch and a quiver with arrows on an opaque black ground. The sides and the base are decorated with a diamond-pattern engine-turned design and alternating translucent light blue and cobalt blue enamel that is framed by a slim white enamel border. Champlevé vases and flowers on an opaque black ground adorn the canted corners and sides. A narrow, opaque light blue and opaque black rim with gold scrolls frames the top and the bottom parts.
Isaac Daniel Piguet was born in 1775 in Le Chenit in the Vallée de Joux. From 1802 to 1811 Piguet worked with his brother-in-law Henry Daniel Capt as Piguet & Capt , before starting a partnership with Philippe Samuel Meylan to establish the manufactory Piguet & Meylan; it existed until 1828. Piguet & Capt specialised in enamel pocket watches and snuff boxes with automatons, musical movements and watches with minute repeaters. Isaac Daniel Piguet died on January 20, 1841.
The partnership of Rémond, Lamy & Cie. was only in existence between 1801 and 1804.
A similar box by Jean-Georges Rémond / Piguet & Capt / Jean-Louis Richter with clock, identical automaton scene and a musical movement is owned by the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. It is illustrated and described in: Pieter Friess, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva, 2015, Vol. IV, p. 100.
Estimate 80,000 - 120,000 €
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