The Leroy dynasty of renowned watchmakers was founded by Charles Leroy in Paris in 1751. For a detailed note on the house see lot 238 in this sale.
Léon Leroy, one of Charles' descendants, developped around 1920 a self-winding movement which he used in a series of seven pocket watches made by special order for seven of his clients, all of them aficionados of fine timepieces. The pieces were made between 1922 and 1929 and featured in addition to the automatic movement the extra complication of a calendar. A daily walk of more or less 30 minutes was enough to wind the movements and to provide a 30 hour power reserve.
To fulfill the demand for a self-winding wristwatch, Léon Leroy modified his movement à Remontoir Automatique. It was cased in an oval-shaped case, adapted to the shape of the oscillating weight and leaving enough space for its left and right swings.
It is thought that Leroy was the first manufacturer of self-winding wristwatches at all, launching a very small series around 1922.
The present watch is most certainly Leroy's first automatic watch, possibly a prototype or display model. With its surrealistic design resembling an eye it might have inspired Dali for one of his famous "Eye of Time" works. Contrary to the other known models, its movement is only signed but not numbered. Another particularity is the glazed upper part of the present watch, revealing the two curved "bumpers" applied to the weight, their shapes adapted to the shape of the circular inner case housing the movement and the dial.