With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with Portrait of King Victor Emanuel in a rose-cut diamond frame to the case back (22 diamonds) in 1863 and its subsequent sale on 22 April 1872.
This watch is one of Patek Philippe's exceedingly rare examples of a so-called Royal presentation watch set with the portrait of Victor Emanuel II, made for the king's household and perhaps given to one of his consorts.
The signature of the enamel portrait seems to resemble the letters JZ, most likely the initials of a member of the Zasche family, originally from Jablonec nad Nisou in southern Bohemia. Several artists of this name were active in Vienna during the 19th century, including Johann Zasche (1821-1881). Watch no. 106'148, Patek Philippe Museum, Inv. P-78, is decorated with the enamel portraits of Alexander I Obrenovitch, King of Servia, and his wife Draga Mashin, Queen Serbia, painted around 1901 by T. or J. Zasche (Patek Philippe Museum, inv. P-78 - see Timepieces for Royality 1850 - 1910 by Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe Museum, p. 188).
Johann Zasche (1821 - 1881) was a painter on porcelain, ivory and enamel and a watercolour portraitist who studied in Prague and worked in Vienna. He exhibited at the Vienna Academy from 1846 to 1858. His signature was "Joh. Zasche".
Victor Emmanuel II (Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso; 14 March 1820 - 9 January 1878) was king of Sardinia from 1849 until, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Homeland (Italian: Padre della Patria).
Born the eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Tuscany, Victor fought in the First Italian War of Independence before being made King of Piedmont-Sardinia following his father's abdication. He appointed Camillo di Cavour, a political mastermind, as his Prime Minister, and after the success of the Crimean War Cavour arranged an agreement with the French Emperor: the kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in exchange for French acquisistion of Nice and Savoy. Napoleon III, however, chose to initate an additional treaty with Austrian leader Franz Joseph I, and as a result France was stripped of its Italian territories and Victor Emmanuel was unable to acquire Venetia. Meanwhile, the Italian king had driven the pope into the Vatican City and was thereafter excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but he managed to save face when Giuseppe Garibaldi obtained for him the territories of Sicily and Naples. The Kingdom of Italy was officially established in 1861, and Victor Emmanuel II was chosen as its king.
Victor obtained additional land during the Third Italian War for Independence, this time allying himself with Prussia. He managed to capture Rome after the French withdrew, and he established the city as the capital of Italy. The remainder of his reign was spent quietly, as he dealt with little more than economic and cultural issues. He passed away in Rome shortly following the reversal of his excommunication by Pius IX and was buried in the Pantheon.