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L'Epine du Roy. An 18K Pink Gold and Enamel Mandolin-form Watch with Concealed Dial
L'Epine du Roy. An 18K Pink Gold and Enamel Mandolin-form Watch with Concealed Dial

SIGNED L'EPINE DU ROY A PARIS, EARLY 19TH CENTURY

Details
L'Epine du Roy. An 18K Pink Gold and Enamel Mandolin-form Watch with Concealed Dial
Signed L'Epine du Roy a Paris, Early 19th Century
Mechanical gilt-finished full plate verge movement, chain fusée, rounded pilasters, concealed white enamel dial, Roman numerals, blued steel hands, all set within a hinged mandolin-form case, decorated with engraved leave motif enhanced with white opaque and translucent red enamel panels, black enamel border, gold foliate design to the red enamel, sky blue enamel face with white enamel sound hole with decorative gold leaf pattern, black enamel and gilt fretboard, eight twisted gold strings attached to gold tuning keys on a blue enamel head, gilt shoulder string, movement signed
64mm length

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Lot Essay

The use of fantasy portable timepieces can be traced back to the early 15th century when noble families and rulers commissioned pocket watches to adorn their garments. Known as form watches or fantasy watches, these alluring timekeepers were conceived to combine the functionality of a watch with the sumptuousness of a jewel. There were no limits to the creativity of watch makers who could choose from a wide range of symbolic form casings such as fruits, flowers, blossoms, animals, musical instruments (like the present mandolin form watch). The lavish enamelling and precious decoration conceal the watch and make it an attractive personal adornment. The specialist knowledge of the artisans is recognizable in the ornamental precision of the engraving, embossing, enamelling techniques and the attention to the smallest details, such as the braided gold wires which represent strings of musical instruments. Worn around the neck, carried in pockets or used as brooches, the form watches were an attractive portable timekeeper for ladies and gentlemen of a certain social status and became fashionable especially during the last quarter of the 18th century and retained their popularity through the 19th century.

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