Attributed to Piguet & Capt. An exceptionally rare and very fine 18K gold and enamel pearl-set trefoil-shaped musical vinaigrette with automaton scene and watch, original fitted box
Attributed to Piguet & Capt. An exceptionally rare and very fine 18K gold and enamel pearl-set trefoil-shaped musical vinaigrette with automaton scene and watch, original fitted box
Attributed to Piguet & Capt. An exceptionally rare and very fine 18K gold and enamel pearl-set trefoil-shaped musical vinaigrette with automaton scene and watch, original fitted box
1 More
Attributed to Piguet & Capt. An exceptionally rare and very fine 18K gold and enamel pearl-set trefoil-shaped musical vinaigrette with automaton scene and watch, original fitted box
4 More
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more ATTRIBUTED TO PIGUET & CAPTMUSICAL AUTOMATON VINAIGRETTE WITH WATCH
ATTRIBUTED TO PIGUET & CAPT. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND VERY FINE 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL PEARL-SET TREFOIL-SHAPED MUSICAL VINAIGRETTE WITH AUTOMATON SCENE AND WATCH, ORIGINAL FITTED BOX

ATTRIBUTED TO PIGUET & CAPT, GENEVA, CIRCA 1810

Details
ATTRIBUTED TO PIGUET & CAPT. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND VERY FINE 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL PEARL-SET TREFOIL-SHAPED MUSICAL VINAIGRETTE WITH AUTOMATON SCENE AND WATCH, ORIGINAL FITTED BOX
Attributed to Piguet & Capt, Geneva, circa 1810
Movement: Manual, gilt brass, cylinder escapement, three-arm plain brass balance, flat balance spring
Musical and automaton movement: pin barrel musical train with nine steel vibrating blades in two stacks of four and five blades respectively, cam driving the automata on the top of the barrel, rotating twisted steel rod simulating a waterfall driven by the barrel from a contrate wheel
Dial: Gold with Breguet numerals
Case: Five-body, trefoil form, split pearl-set border, divided into three compartments with black enamel hinged covers decorated with trophies emblematic of their contents: a musical trophy for the automaton scene and music; symbols of love and fidelity for the watch; flowers for the vinaigrette symbolizing fragrance, hinged gold engine-turned pierced inner cover, the varicoloured gold automaton scene depicting a shepherdess playing the guitar by a waterfall, driven by the musical train with applied gold figures on a finely painted on enamel Alpine panorama with a lake and mountains, dark blue translucent enamel side and base panels over flinqué decoration, floral decoration on the chased border with enamel accents, dim. 39 x 40 mm.
With: Original red Morocco leather-covered fitted box
Literature
‘The Majesty of the Chinese Market Watch – The Life and Collection of Gustave Loup of Tientsin and Geneva, Watch Dealer and Collector ( 1876-1961), Ian White, 2019, pp.256-261.
Special notice

On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 7.7% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

Brought to you by

kegel_sabine
Sabine Kegel

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This exquisite precious object still possesses the power to enchant more than 200 years after it was made, incredibly rare, this automaton vinaigrette table watch is both a superb jewel and a mechanical marvel and would make a worthy addition to even the most exalted collection. Furthermore, its identical ‘twin’ is in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

Incorporating a musical movement, watch and automata, it is an object of great beauty and highly ingenious design. Attributable stylistically to Piguet & Capt, the most important Geneva makers of complicated small automata and watches in the early 19th century, the present musical automaton movement is impressively small, almost miniaturized, a feat that required exceptional skill to achieve.

The identical "twin" of the present example is on permanent exhibition at the prestigious Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, see illustration taken from Patek Philippe Museum, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Vol. IV, p. 93, Inv. S-370.

Another larger example is described and illustrated in: ‘Le Monde des Automates, A. Chapuis & E. Gelis, p. 50, fig. 320, and in Patek Philippe Museum, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Vol. IV, p. 92, Inv. S-169.

Vinaigrettes are small, often precious boxes that were used in the pocket or for travel containing a perfume soaked sponge for masking the many unpleasant odours that could be encountered on the owner’s journey. A pierced decorative grille covered the sponge to allow the scent to escape.

During the 19th century, vinaigrettes were a fashionable indication of social ranking, as those who were able to afford perfume or concern themselves with their outward appearance at all were among the elite. Standards of cleanliness were poor, even among the upper classes, but the ability to afford perfume distinguished them from the lower classes. A vinaigrette box of the quality of the present lot with built-in automaton, music and a watch would have been the ultimate accessory that could only have been afforded by the very rich, royalty and nobility. The carrying of perfume was also thought to offer protection from disease, it was believed that there was an association between illness and bad smells. Perfume was such an exotic extravagance that for an individual to be able to both afford perfume and then contain it within superb decorative vinaigrette was to have reached the pinnacle of social distinction and provided an active display of grandeur and wealth.

Isaac Daniel Piguet (1775-1841) and Henry Capt (1773-1841), were important watchmakers, goldsmiths and jewellers who worked in partnership from 1802-1811 and specialized in musical and automaton watches. Capt, Piguet's brother-in-law, was one of the first in Geneva to use the pinned cylinder and tuned-tooth comb musical mechanism.

More from Rare Watches

View All
View All