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    Sale 1357

    Important Watches

    17 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 380

    Attributed to Lallemand, made for Breguet. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface quarter repeating watch with pin-wheel escapement, made for the Turkish market


    Price Realised  


    Attributed to Lallemand, made for Breguet. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface quarter repeating watch with pin-wheel escapement, made for the Turkish market
    Retailed by Breguet a Paris, No. 3111, circa 1831
    Gilt-finished movement, free standing barrel, pin-wheel escapement, plain three arm brass balance with parachute on the top pivot, blued steel flat balance spring with bimetallic compensation curb on the regulator, repeating on two hammers onto two gongs, gilt cuvette, white enamel dial, Turkish numerals, outer Turkish five minute divisions, Breguet hands, large circular engine-turned case, repeating through the pendant, short length of gold chain and ratchet key, case numbered, cuvette signed and numbered, dial signed
    59 mm. diam.

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    As of the late 18th/early 19th century, Breguet supplied watches to the Ottoman Empire. The success of his timepieces in Turkey was mainly due to his long-standing friendship with the Ottoman ambassador Esseid Ali Effendi who had been introduced to him by Talleyrand. In 1798, Esseid Ali bought his first watch from Breguet, followed by a continuous stream of orders after his return to Turkey four years later. In 1804 Esseid Ali had become the Minister of the Navy and commissioned the finest possible repeating watch for the Ottoman Emperor Selim III. The project was a success, rendering Breguet watches so popular amongst Ottoman dignitaries that in the years to come he was forced to commission work from other workshops in order to meet the increasing demand.

    The present watch is most likely one of these watches, commissioned by Breguet to one of his best suppliers at the time. It may be concluded that this watch was made by Lallemand in Paris who trained in Breguet's workshops and became a regular supplier to Breguet. In fact, Lallemand also finished watch number 2783, a minute repeating perpetual watch with equation of time. The quality was of the highest level, also reflected by the present watch, since no compromise would have been tolerated by Breguet's demanding clientele.

    Consequently the case of this watch does not show any of the reference numbers, hallmarks and casemaker's initials commonly found in Breguet's watches. The dial, although signed Breguet à Paris, was most certainly also supplied by Lallemand. Made outside his workshops, it is amongst the few examples bearing Breguet's signature without reflecting his style (see also lot 377 in this auction).
    The independent watchmaker Lallemand was renowned for his unconventional constructions, such as the highly unusual escapement of this watch: the pin-wheel escapement, commonly found in large clocks and tower clocks. Originally invented by the Italian physician and astronomer Galileo Galilei, the pin-wheel escapement is easier to manufacture and more robust than the lever escapement. It consists of two pallets usually of unequal length, alternately engaging and releasing pins set on the escape wheel perpendicular to its plane of rotation. Galileo's invention is considered the precursor of the majority of the later escapements.