With original fitted ivory presentation box and double key with ivory handle.
The present watch was presumably made for Empress Josephine Bonaparte of France and possibly presented to her by Tsar Alexander I, her ardent admirer, during his visit at Château de Malmaison in 1814. The dial is embellished with painted roses, Joséphine's favourite flower.
The movement entirely made of ivory could be the work of Ivan Bronnikov of Vyatka, Siberia, founder of the Bronnikov dynasty of watchmakers specialized in wooden and ivory watches (see the following lot). The Russian provenance of the watch is also underlined by the case material rose gold, particularly popular in Eastern Europe since the early 19th century, and the stamped "K14" gold mark instead of the European version "14K".
Joséphine de Beauharnais (23 June 1763 - 29 May 1814) was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, and thus the first Empress of the French. Her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais had been guillotined during the Reign of Terror, and she had been imprisoned in the Carmes prison until her release five days after Alexandre's execution. Through her daughter, Hortense, she was the maternal grandmother of Napoléon III. Through her son, Eugène, she was the great-grandmother of later Swedish and Danish kings and queens, as well as the last Queen of Greece. The current reigning houses of Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg also descend from her. She did not bear Napoleon any children; as a result, he divorced her in 1810 to marry Marie Louise of Austria.
Joséphine was the recipient of numerous love letters written by Napoleon, many of which still exist. Her Château de Malmaison was noted for its magnificent rose garden, over which she supervised closely, due to her passionate interest in roses that she collected from all over the world.
The present watch contains ivory, an endangered and protected species of wildlife. Prospective purchasers are advised to consult our IMPORTANT NOTICE IN REGARD TO PROPERTY INCORPORATING MATERIALS FROM ENDANGERED SPECIES AND OTHER PROTECTED SPECIES.