ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)
ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)
ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)
19 More
ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)
22 More
ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)

SIGNED ANDRIES VERMEULEN, AMSTERDAM, NO. 959, CIRCA 1740

Details
ANDRIES VERMEULEN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT CHINESE ROYAL QUARTER REPEATING 22K PINK GOLD, LAPIS LAZULI, RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND-SET PAIR CASED WATCH WITH ENAMEL MINIATURE, MADE FOR THE EMPEROR QIANLONG (1711-1799)
SIGNED ANDRIES VERMEULEN, AMSTERDAM, NO. 959, CIRCA 1740
Movement: Gilt full-plate, baluster pillars, fusée and chain, verge escapement, brass balance with flat balance spring, single-footed cock, diamond endstone, repeating on bell activated by depressing the pendant, signed
Dial: White enamel, beetle and poker hands
Case: Outer: the back set with lapis lazuli panels mounted in repoussé gold in symmetrical rocailles, the top with small enamel portrait of a lady, rose-cut diamond-set frame, sides with ruby and emerald-set five-claw dragons, pierced sides, the bezel decorated to match. Inner: band pierced and engraved with sea monsters and a mask, 47 mm. diam.
Remarks: Five-clawed dragon royal symbol, made for the Emperor of China QianLong, exceptional quality

Brought to you by

Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler Vice President, Head of Watches, Asia Pacific

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Lot Essay

This sumptuous richly jewelled gold quarter repeating pair cased watch featuring the royal symbol of the five-clawed dragon, was made for the Emperor of China, QianLong. Beautifully engraved and set with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, panels of lapis lazuli and an enamel portrait of a European lady, it exemplifies the exceptional European works of art created in the eighteenth century for export to China. The present watch is one of a small group of very similarly decorated watches featuring the five-clawed dragon that were delivered to the Chinese royal family. Watches decorated with five-clawed dragons were always owned by the Emperor because only the Emperor was allowed to display the symbol on his possessions. A pair of similar watches is in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing; a watch of very closely related design to the present watch and certainly from the same workshop signed Ransom of London, was sold by Antiquorum Geneva, 12 October 1996, lot 592 and another signed Jn. Champion was sold by Antiquorum Geneva, 25 April 1993.

Andries Vermeulen (1680-1752) was an important member of the Amsterdam horological community. Some of his work can be seen in the National Museum in Utrecht.

The Chinese Market
These highly elaborate watches were presented to Chinese officials – including the Emperors, who developed strong fascinations for Western clocks – to facilitate European trade with China. The insatiable Chinese demand for similar objects, coupled with the immensely lucrative trade which they helped to enable, led to a burgeoning market for such works and saw the collaboration between highly skilled craftsmen in the realisation of some of the most extraordinary and unusual objects of the eighteenth century.

In the sixteenth century, Matteo Ricci – the first Jesuit missionary given entry to China – presented Western clocks and works of art as tribute to the Chinese Imperial Court. Ricci and his Jesuit confrère, Michele Ruggieri, quickly realized the potential these clocks held in unlocking the Middle Kingdom to the West, and subsequently encouraged a Chinese fascination with European timepieces and objects. This established a precedent of presenting gifts of Western manufacture to gain favour with the Imperial Court, which was appropriated by other Europeans who sought to open trade relations with China from the mid-sixteenth century.

The British East India Company was a major supplier – often via intermediaries – of Western clocks and elaborate works of art to the Chinese Imperial Court. As Britain ever sought to expand its influence in and trade with China, clocks became one of its most important exports to the Far East from the late seventeenth century. The accession of the Emperor Qianlong, who reigned from 1735 to 1795 – during which period the present watch was created – marked a zenith in Imperial fascination for such curiosities. This burgeoning interest also encouraged the establishment of private merchants in China. Interest in Western clocks and works of art continued in the 19th century, albeit at a considerably more modest scale following the death of Emperor Qianlong.

The Emperor QianLong (1711-1799)
Was the fourth emperor of the Ch'ing, or Manchu, dynasty in China. His rule covered a span of 63 years, a reign longer than any other in the recorded history of China, dating back to the Shang dynasty, 1766-1122 B.C.
In the reign of QianLong the Ch'ing dynasty reached its zenith the most part the QianLong reign was characterized by courtly splendor, prodigious accomplishments in literary compilations, and vigorous expansion of the Chinese frontiers to the west and the south.
QianLong is well known in Chinese history as one of the greatest imperial patrons of arts and letters. The Emperor was a connoisseur of art and literature and often dabbled in painting and calligraphy as well as composing prose and poetry. He expanded the Old Summer Palace outside the city of Peking as a complex of architectural monuments, lavish gardens, and art museums.

Literature:
A similar example is illustrated in :
‘Historical Motion of Time-History of Chinese clocks and watches (please refer original title in Chinese lot essay)’, GUO Fuxiang (please refer original name in Chinese lot essay), Beijing Palace Museum (please refer original name in Chinese lot essay), 2013, p. 176
‘Beyond Boundaries (please refer original title in Chinese lot essay)’, GUO Fuxiang (please refer original name in Chinese lot essay), Beijing Palace Museum (please refer original name in Chinese lot essay), 2019, p. 11

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