Jérémie Delafeuille (or de la Feuille or de Lafeuille)
Master watchmaker in Geneva, active in the second half of the 17th century who apprenticed Louis Benjamin Guérin in 1675 and Jean Pierre Jolivet in 1676. Born around 1649 in Sedan/Les Ardennes in France, he married Madeleine Comparet in Geneva in 1671; the couple had four children. Delafeuille died around 1678.
Several other "Delafeuille" were indexed in Geneva after 1660. A master watchmaker named Edouard, also from Sedan and who had been exiled to Geneva for religious reasons is thought to be the father of Jérémie.
Pierre (I) Huaud (1612 - around 1680)
The enamel of the present watch can be attributed to Pierre Huaud the first, founder of the Huaud dynasty of renowned enamellers. His father Jean Huaud, a French goldsmith, had immigrated to Geneva in 1630.
Three of Pierre's children became also renowned enamellers: Pierre II (1647-1698), Jean-Pierre (1655-1723) and Ami (1657-1724). The three brothers trained in the workshop of their father and apparently did not sign their work until his death around 1680.
Pierre Huaud the father seldom signed his works but certain aspects and colors differ from those of his sons: he was apparently the only one who used translucent enamel as well as turquoise as a ground color.
The Huauds are renowned for their distinctive and beautiful style of enamel paintings. The outstanding work is characterized by their miniaturist style and use of rich and varied colors in contrast to the pastel shades of the French enamellers of Blois. The enamel cases decorated by the Huaud family are highly regarded works of art in their own right.
A comparable crucifix form watch, signed Johannes von Ceulen with enamel attributed to Pierre (I) Huaud is on permanent exhibition at the prestigious Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, inventory S-318. Other examples of crucifix form watches are also in the collections of Basle's Kunsthistorisches Museum, Fondation Eugen Gschwind, case signed "P. Huaud pinxit à Genève", movement signed Noé Rousseau, Geneva around 1675 (apparently the only known signed crucifix form watch by Pierre Huaud the father) and the Metropolitan Museum, New York, movement signed Charles Bobinet, Geneva, around 1675.
Crucifix form watches
Following the "Ordonnances somptuaires" introduced by the reformer Jean Calvin in 1558, the new rules for goldsmiths implemented in 1566 forbid the manufacture of "crosses, chalices or other instruments serving the papacy or the idolatry". Nevertheless the clandestine distribution of these very popular watches continued until things were eased a few decades later and goldsmiths, enamellers and watchmakers of Geneva could again officially make crucifix form watches, sometimes called "montre d'abbesse". Signatures found on such watches are for example Pierre Duhamel (1630-1686), Charles Bobinet (1610-1678) and notably Jérémie Delafeuille. These watches were fitted with a dial decorated with painted enamel motifs from the passion and crucifixion as well as a rock crystal cover, which sadly the present watch has lost during the tumultuous centuries following its creation.
We are indebted to Mr. Arnaud Tellier and Dr. Hans Boeckh, Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva and Mr. David Thompson, British Museum in London for their valuable advice on researching the present timepiece.