The Geneva enamellers, particularly the Huaud family, 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 colours 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.
Pierre Huaud, son of the French goldsmith Jean Huaud and founder of the dynasty, was born in 1612. He moved to Geneva in 1630 and three of his eleven children became also renowned enamellers: Pierre II (1647-1698), Jean-Pierre (1655-1723) and Ami (1657-1724). It is likely that the three brothers trained in the workshop of their father until around 1680 when Pierre II set up his own business. The second son Jean-Pierre entered into partnership with Ami in 1682. In 1686 they were appointed enamel painters to the Prince of Brandenburg, a position they held until their return to Geneva in 1700. The present watch case, signed Les deux freres Huaud les jeunes, can be dated from this period.
The brothers continued working until the death of Jean-Pierre in 1723 and Ami a year later. The watch cases of the Huauds are usually found with movements made by various English, French, German and Swiss makers to whom they were obviously sold at the time.
It is rare to find an enamel watch case of such outstanding condition as the present lot. It has been extremely well preserved over the last 300 years and shows hardly any wear or cracks which one would be expect to find in a case from this period.
The watch is accompanied by a gilt metal protective outer case covered with brown mottled composition and decorative pin work and a circular brown leather travelling box signed Simon Waldstein, Kohlmarkt 3, Wien.
Simon Waldstein (1837-1902), optician to the Austrian Court and jeweller, opened the commerce at this address in Vienna probably in the mid 19th century. After his dead his son Otto continued the business. According to the present owner, the watch was purchased by one of his ancestors from Simon Waldstein, probably around 1900, as it has been in the family's property for over one hundred years.