• IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1369


    16 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 37

    Jean Duhard. A large, rare and early gilt brass and enamel openface oignon verge watch, enamel in the manner of Mussard


    Price Realised  


    Jean Duhard. A large, rare and early gilt brass and enamel openface oignon verge watch, enamel in the manner of Mussard
    Signed Duhard a Bordeaux, circa 1700
    Gilt brass verge movement, chain fusée, finely pierced and engraved with birds, masks and floral decorated large balance cock, plain three arm steel balance, rack and pinion regulator with calibrated silver disk, pierced Egyptian pillars, engine-turned gilt dial, black Roman numerals on white enamel cartouches, single steel hand, inner white enamel ring with half-hour indication, centred by a polychrome painted enamel scene in the manner of Mussard depicting Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, case decorated with painted polychrome enamel pastoral scenes, gilt brass pin decorated bezel, reverse with a painted polychrome enamel scene in the manner of Mussard depicting the Roman Charity, movement signed
    59 mm. diam.

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    With photocopies of two letters from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Bordeaux dated 1961 and photocopies of a watch signed Pierre Cruzet, signed by the curator Xavier Védère, in reply to letters and photographs of the present watch obviously sent to him by the owner of the present watch. Furthermore delivered with a later added fitted wooden presentation box.

    Mr. Védère states that the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs possesses a watch from the same period, the movement signed by another Bordelaise watchmaker named Pierre Cruzet, the enamel scenes, portrait of the lady and the enamel to the small cartouches from the same hand as those of the present watch. Consequently he is pleased to confirm that the enamel scenes on the present watch were also the work of the Frères Huaud, celebrated enamellers in the world of horology. Specializing in the reproduction of mythological paintings, the brothers had left at a very young age their native Chatellerault in France, to settle in Geneva followed by Berlin where they were appointed enamel painters to the Elector of Brandenburg in 1686.

    Upon close inspection of the watch the enamel can however be attributed to the workshop of Mussard in Geneva, renowned for such gilt metal and enamel "oignon" watches made in the early 18th century and destined for the export.

    Jean V. Mussard (1681 - 1754) was one most celebrated enamel painters of the period. Much influenced by the style of the Frères Huaud, his best-known subjects are amongst others the Roman Charity, as on the present watch, and religious scenes. Mussard was succeeded by his son Jean-Antoine, examples of their work can be found in the world's most celebrated museums and collections.

    The movement is undoubtedly the work of the same master watchmaker Jean Duhard active in Bordeaux at the end of the 17th century and of whom the Museum owns a cartel clock. In 1688, Duhard married Marie Bourdain, the daughter of a Bordelaise watchmaker. The couple had six children in 1704.

    Jean Duhard is furthermore listed in Tardy's Dictionnaire des Horlogers Français, p. 203, as active between 1691 and 1718. The entry is also mentioning the clock in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Bordeaux and showing the black and white image of one of his watches in the Musée du Petit Palais.

    We are indebted to Mr. Arnaud Tellier, Director of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, for his valuable advice on researching the present timepiece.