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J. E. Dufour and James Mix. A Lot of Two 18k Gold Repeating Openface Keyless Lever Watches
J. E. Dufour and James Mix. A Lot of Two 18k Gold Repeating Openface Keyless Lever Watches

THE FIRST SIGNED J. E. DUFOUR, MADE FOR GEORGE WHITTELL, SF, NY, NO. 9880, THE SECOND SIGNED JAMES MIX, ALBANY, N.Y., NO. 7810 1, BOTH CIRCA 1910

Details
J. E. Dufour and James Mix. A Lot of Two 18k Gold Repeating Openface Keyless Lever Watches
The first Signed J. E. Dufour, made for George Whittell, SF, NY, No. 9880, the second signed James Mix, Albany, N.Y., No. 7810 1, both circa 1910
The first with 5 minute repeating mechanical nickel-finished jewelled lever movement, repeating on two hammers, bimetallic compensation balance, wolf's tooth winding, hinged engraved gold cuvette, gilt dial, black letters for numerals reading; GEO WHITTELL and SF, NY at 12 o'clock, subsidiary seconds at 3 o'clock, outer railway minute divisions, circular case, hinged back with a black enamel image of a dog with moon and star, cuvette signed, case numbered, the second with quarter repeating mechanical nickel-finished jewelled lever movement, repeating on two hammers, bimetallic compensation balance, wolf's tooth winding, gold cuvette, white enamel dial, black Arabic numerals, subsidiary seconds, outer railway minute divisions, circular case, plain hinged back, dial and movement signed, case and cuvette numbered
the first 50mm diam., the second 46mm diam.

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Lot Essay

The first watch offered in this lot of two was commissioned for Mr. George Whittell Jr., who was born in 1881, son of George Whittell Sr. and Anna Luning Whittell. Born into an extremely wealthy family in San Francisco, it is of no surprise that he had such an exquisite watch made for him that fit into his very luxurious lifestyle. His large fortune was laid out for him since the time of his grandparents on both sides who artfully took advantage of Gold Rush opportunities in the mid 19th century and later he inherited a very large sum of money from his father who was known to be a shrewd business man in the real estate industry and railroads.

During his younger years, George Whittell Jr. was known to have been interested in a wide variety of hobbies. He was an extensive traveler made possible by his large allowance, a lover of exotic animals which was evident in his pursuit of owning his own safari and becoming best friends with Bill, his pet lion, as well as Mingo, his two ton elephant, and most known to be a womaniser as discovered in his many wild relationships, most of which were certainly not approved by his family.

Moving from California to Nevada, George Whittell Jr. had built a summer home during the 1930's in Lake Tahoe, named Thunderbird Lodge. Although he liked to host elaborate all-night card games there, he also enjoyed travelling and jumping from one party to the next, never working a day in his life and continuing to live off this family fortunes.

Thought to have been made for Captain George Whittell, as he liked to be called, when he was approximately 30 years of age, the present watch which displays SF, NY at 12 o'clock, which is a symbol of his travelling lifestyle. It recalls a time when he may have travelled between San Francisco where he was born, to other places such as New York, as part of his elegant excursions. The symbol on the case back which depicts a dog, moon, and a star, may be a nod to his love of animals and travel combined.

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