With presentation case.
The history of the celebrated Chinese market watches signed Bovet Fleurier began with the Swiss master watchmaker Edouard Bovet (1797-1849). Born in Fleurier, the 21 year old Edouard arrived in Canton in 1818 and almost immediately sold four watches for 10,000 francs, about one million US dollars today.
He consequently decided to stay in Canton where he established in 1822 a trading company in partnership with his brothers, the firm founded by charter in London the same year.
Very soon, the name "Bo Wei" or "Bo-vay" became synonymous for "watch" and in the turmoil of late Manchu China, Bovet watches spread throughout the country as a medium of exchange. In the meantime, their hometown Fleurier in the Val-de-Travers had become the European centre for the manufacture of Chinese watches, with several brands dedicated only to that flourishing market.
Bovet's production of high quality watches made in Switzerland for the Imperial Chinese market was a resounding success. "Chinese watches" as they were soon called were elaborately decorated pocket watches, generally sold in symmetrically opposed pairs. Their gold cases often featured enamel miniatures painted by the most celebrated artists of the time, cloisonne and champleve decorations pearl-set borders. Bovet further specialized in the art of engraving and skeletonizing movements, hence enhancing the appeal of his high-end Chinese watches with its Mandarin customers.
Since their first appearance nearly 200 years ago, these extremely attractive watches have not lost their fascination and are still today highly appreciated collector's watches.
The movement plate bears the hand-engraved inscriptions "JDL", possibly for Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, founded by Pierre Jaquet-Droz (born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1721 and died in Bienne in 1790).
A similar musical quarter repeating watch signed Bovet also decorated with the enamel miniature "Affection and Innocence" after Francesco Bartolozzi attributed to Jean-Abraham Lissignol, however with the difference of a pearl-set pendant and bow, is on permanent exhibition at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Inv. S-419.