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Humbert & Mairet. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface double dial automaton watch
Humbert & Mairet. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface double dial automaton watch

SIGNED HUMBERT & MAIRET, CIRCA 1800

Details
Humbert & Mairet. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface double dial automaton watch
Signed Humbert & Mairet, circa 1800
Keywound two train verge movement, chain fusée, white enamel dial, Breguet numerals, glazed back with a painted polychrome enamel landscape surmounted by a vari-coloured gold automaton scene depicting a blacksmith's workshop, one blacksmith fanning the flames, one forging iron on an anvil while a stream of water is running out of the fountain, activated by a sliding lever in the band, plain circular case, dial signed
54 mm. diam.

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Lot Essay

The first automatons appeared in Geneva in the late 18th century, small technical marvels imitating the movements of living creatures or beings, ranging from simpler "Bras en l'Air" figures whose arms would indicate the time to incredibly complex works such as pastoral, theatre or other scenes. Some of these automata were fitted with repeating or musical mechanisms and were highly appreciated works of art not only in Europe but also by Chinese and Ottoman dignitaries.

The present watch is a fine example of such an automaton watch made in Geneva around 1800, featuring three automatons: a blacksmith fanning the flames, one forging iron, while simultaneously a stream of water is realistically flowing out of the fountain.

The vari-coloured gold scene is of wonderful quality and impresses by the finely carved details, enhanced by the painted enamel background landscape to the background, demonstrating the celebrated art of enamel miniatures originating from Geneva in the early 19th century.

Different automaton watches are illustrated and described in Le Monde des Automates by Chapuis & Gélis, Vol. II, pp. 36 - 68.

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