Geneva, May 15, 2023

LOT 458

Attributable to Moulinié, Bautte & Co.
Exceptional vinaigrette (perfume-box), made for the Chinese market; 18K yellow gold, enamel, pearls and diamonds

CHF 25,000 - 35,000

EUR 25,500 - 35,600 / USD 28,200 - 39,400 / HKD 222,000 - 310,000

Sold: CHF 35,000

Exceptional vinaigrette (perfume-box), made for the Chinese market; 18K yellow gold, enamel, pearls and diamonds

18K yellow gold, enamel, pearls and diamonds, vinaigrette (perfume-box) in the shape of a rose bulb, with cover and grille, made for the Chinese market.

Formed as a rosebud, the petals enamelled in shades of pink, with green leaves, set with borders of pearls and centre set with rose-cut diamonds; the reverse of red guilloché (engine-turned) enamel over a chased rosebud, with black, light blue, and green enamelled borders; with rosette diaper-work grille.

Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Brand attributable to Moulinié, Bautte & Co., Geneva, Switzerland

Model made for the Chinese market

Year circa 1805

Material 18K yellow gold, enamel, pearls, diamonds

Dimensions 46 X 27 mm.

Accessories Original box


The representation of a scarlet rose bulb is reminiscent of the female symbol of the vulva of the vagina. It should be remembered that from the 18th century to the present day, the symbolism that associates female virginity with a floral imagination, and more particularly with the motif of the wilting rose, is omnipresent in literature and painting. This object is therefore a floral metaphor inherent in the term defloration. It is therefore easy to imagine that its maker saw it as a gift from a lover to his mistress after the completion of the sexual act; the rose having bloomed!

For more information, we refer the reader to the work of Pauline Mortas, PhD student in contemporary history (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès) and to her online publication: “Des femmes et des fleurs, Représenter la perte de la virginité.” (Women and flowers, Representing the loss of virginity; November 16, 2019).


Jean-François Bautte (1772-1837)

He became apprenticed in Geneva at the age of 12, learning the crafts of case-maker, engine-turner, watchmaker, jeweller, and gem-setter. He was barely nineteen years old when he signed his first watch. In 1797, Bautte took as partner the case-maker Moulinié; in 1804 they were joined by watchmaker Jean Gabriel Moynier, the name of the company becoming first Moulinié, Bautte & Co., then Moulinié, Bautte & Moynier. In the early 19th century, Bautte was Geneva’s most important dealer.


Similar object
  • Christie’s, London, auction, May 22, 2001, Vinaigrettes from the Englefield Collection, lot 353, sold for the amount of GB£ 16 450. <>
  • Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva (Inv. E-107).


  • Patek Philippe Museum, The Emergence of the Portable Watch, Geneva, Patek Philippe Museum Editions, 2015, vol. IV, p. 394.