• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1353

    Important Pocketwatches and Wristwatches

    12 May 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 172

    Bruguier. A fine and rare 18K gold and diamond-set singing bird box with enamel miniature signed Prochet

    SIGNED CHARLES BRUGUIER À GENÈVE, NO. 221, CIRCA 1840

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Bruguier. A fine and rare 18K gold and diamond-set singing bird box with enamel miniature signed Prochet
    Signed Charles Bruguier à Genève, No. 221, circa 1840
    The brass movement with chain fusée, stacked cams, fly regulator and rectangular bellow, entirely engine-turned and engraved foliage decorated rectangular box, the sides with "taille-douce" engraved classical landscapes, the cover with chased and engraved acanthus and foliage and black and turquoise-blue champlevé enamel scroll decoration, the black enamel bezel set with a rose-cut diamond ring, a slide to the front opening the hinged oval cover decorated with a painted polychrome enamel miniature signed "Prochet", depicting putti, a dove and flowers, opening to reveal a finely pierced and engraved scroll decorated grille and to release the colourfully plumed bird, rotating on its axis, chirping, flapping its wings, wagging its tail, turning its head and opening its beak; hinged key compartment to the back, movement stamped C. Bruguier à Genève 221, case inside with hand-scratched number 221 and inscription "Charles Bruguier au Grand Près 518 à Genève fait et réparé toute pièces mécaniques", furthermore inscribed "G.J. Jaccard 298 Broadway N.Y."
    91 x 57 x 31 mm.


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present box is distinguished by the outstanding quality of the "taille-douce" engraving to the side panels, typical for watches, snuff boxes and singing bird boxes made in Geneva during the 19th century. The decorative aspect is furthermore enhanced by the colourful enamel miniature by Prochet.

    Charles-Abraham Bruguier was born in Geneva in 1788. Throughout his early professional life he concentrated on automata, working for a number of different manufacturers both in London and Geneva before setting up his own business in Geneva. Bruguier was able to master the technique of re-creating "Bird-Song", far greater than his better known predecessors Jaquet-Droz and Les Frères Rochat. After his death in 1862 his workshops were passed down to his two sons and later to his grandson.

    Philippe Prochietto, called Prochet, was born in 1825 in Geneva and died in 1890. A pupil of the renowned Swiss enamel painter G. Lamunière, Prochietto was himself known as an excellent enamel miniature artist who often worked for Charles Bruguier. Besides portraits he painted on enamel very fine copies after Old Masters. Examples of his work can be seen in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Geneva.