• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1992

    Important Watches

    24 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 29

    JOHN PYKE. A FINE AND RARE 18K GOLD AND AGATE TRAVEL NECESSAIRE SET FITTED WITH AN OPENFACE REPEATING VERGE WATCH

    SIGNED JN. PYKE, WATCHMAKER TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, PR. OF WALES, CIRCA 1760

    Price Realised  

    JOHN PYKE. A FINE AND RARE 18K GOLD AND AGATE TRAVEL NECESSAIRE SET FITTED WITH AN OPENFACE REPEATING VERGE WATCH
    Signed Jn. Pyke, Watchmaker to His Royal Highness, Pr. of Wales, circa 1760
    With gilt-finished verge movement, pierced and engraved masked balance cock, gilt-metal cuvette signed for J. Pyke, plunge repeat, white enamel dial with Roman numerals, minute hand lacking, all within an ornate rocaille necessaire set with panels of agate, the necessaire opens to reveal personal tools including a razor, pencil, scissors, tweezers and a spoon
    35mm diam., 127mm overall length


    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

    Baillie records John Pyke as working in London at Grays Inn from 1747 until circa 1780 as clock and watchmaker to the Prince of Wales.

    In use since the 16th century it was not until the 18th century that Princess Palatine, Duchess of Orleans, is credited as first coining the term "necessaire" in her correspondence. The 1743 edition of Trévoux's dictionary defines this object as "a small box, divided into compartments, to hold a variety of necessary or convenient items when travelling". In addition to larger examples that could hold all accompaniments for such acts from washing to taking coffee, the 18th century saw a rise in the pocket necessaire. Coined by Voltaire as "le siecle de petitesses", this era prized lovely, miniature baubles and accompaniments. The pocket necessaire, a miniature reproduction of the traditional traveling necessaire, was often given as a prize in the royal lotteries, as a gift between lovers or exchanged between the courts of Europe.