• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 50

    Bonniksen. An unusual and rare silver openface keyless lever karrusel watch with up and down indicator and box


    Price Realised  


    Bonniksen. An unusual and rare silver openface keyless lever karrusel watch with up and down indicator and box
    Signed B. Bonniksen, 16 Norfolk St., Coventry, No. 57329, stamped with London date letter for 1906
    With three quarter plate gilt-finished jewelled lever movement, gilt karussel carriage, bimetallic compensation balance with gold poising screws, glazed dust cover, the silvered dial with Roman numerals, two subsidiary dials indicating power reserve and constant seconds, in plain circular case with gold crown, pink gold hinge to the back, case stamped with casemaker's initials W.B., dial and movement signed and numbered
    57 mm. diam.

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    Accompanied by fitted brown leather presentation box with fold-out stand.

    Bahne Bonniksen (1859-1935) was a Danish immigrant to Coventry and revolutionized Coventry's declining watchmaking industry with his 'karussel' watch. Besides being a course instructor in horology at the Coventry Technical School he also ran his own watchmaking workshops in Norfolk Street, where he employed about 25 watchmakers.

    His invention, the Karussel device, was patented in 1882. These highly precise movements were often awarded "Kew Class A" rating certificates and in general supplied to the most renowned watchmakers of the time, such as Joseph White, Smith & Sons, Robert Milne and others. Watches entirely signed by Bahne Bonniksen are exceedingly rare.

    Both Karussel and Tourbillon are revolving escapements with the escapement placed on a small rotating platform, a device to eliminate errors of rate in the vertical positions. The Karussel escapement however is driven by a fourth wheel, which is not fixed but rotates within the platform. Consequently it is turning at a much slower rate than tourbillon carriages, varying from 34 to 52.5 minutes per full rotation depending upon the design. It is also more robust and easier to produce than a tourbillon, hence less expensive.