The present watch and its lavishly decorated case with encrusted jewel work, spectacular dial made with Turkish numerals, matching lapel brooch and chain is a wonderful example of a timepiece made for an Ottoman dignitary.
This impressive piece is set with approximately 448 diamonds weighing circa 34 carats, around 82 emeralds of circa 11 carats and 99 rubies of circa 11 carats, detailing as follows:
1 diamond of approximately 4 carats and 2 diamonds of approximately 2 carats, mainly K colour and I clarity; around 330 diamonds of approximately 18 carats, K-M colour, I clarity; around 58 emeralds of approximately 4 carats, medium green colour, well saturated, well matched; around 24 rubies of approximately 2 carats, medium red, well saturated, well matched.
The chain and the lapel brooch
5 diamonds of approximately 4 carats and around 110 diamonds of approximately 6 carats, K-M colour, I clarity; 1 cabochon emerald of approximately 4 carats, medium green colour; around 23 emeralds of approximately 3 carats, medium green colour, well saturated, well matched; around 75 rubies of approximately 9 carats, medium purplish-red colour, well saturated, well matched.
It was certainly commissioned by Napoleon III and made by Chaudé, Watchmaker to his Majesty the Emperor, with the Imperial Emblem engraved on the cuvette.
Based on the epoch of the manufacture and the colours red, green and white used for the decoration, the official Ottoman armorial colours, it is thought that this impressive timepiece was presented as a welcoming gift to Sultan Abdülaziz, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1861 to 1876. Invited by Napoleon III, he was the first Ottoman Sultan to visit Western Europe in 1867 when he attended the World Exhibition. He then visited Queen Victoria in London by whom he was made a Knight of the Garter, Wilhelm I in Prussia and Franz Joseph I in Vienna. The private rail car on which he travelled is today on permanent exhibition in Istanbul's RMK Museum.
Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (1808-1873), was a nephew of Napoleon I. He led the Bonapartist opposition to Louis Philippe and became president of the Second Republic in 1848. After proclaiming himself Emperor in 1852, he instituted reforms and rebuilt Paris, one of his most important legacies.
The complete transformation of Paris was Napoleon III's desire to modernize the capital based on what he had seen of the modernizations of London during his exile there in the 1840s. With his characteristic social approach to politics, he aimed to improve health standards and living conditions in Paris. This included the construction of a modern sewage system, the development of new housing with larger apartments and the creation of green parks all across the city with the aim of keeping working classes away from the pubs on Sunday. Large sections of the city were pulled down and old winding streets were replaced by large avenues, turning Paris into the city of broad tree-lined boulevards and parks as it is today.
For another watch made for Emperor Napoleon III see lot 210 in this auction.