Geneva, Nov 05, 2023

LOT 359


CHF 50,000 - 100,000

EUR 53,000 - 106,000 / USD 56,000 - 112,000 / HKD 434,000 - 870,000

Sold: CHF 60,000

A very fine and extremely rare 18k. varicoloured gold and painted on enamel, manual wind attributed to Piguet & Capt rose-diamond set ring watch with two automata.Oval top housing the watch and the automata, rose-cut diamond set bezel, the head is fitted to the hinged shank with runners and on its underside a shutter gives access to the winding and setting squares.Eccentric dial, white enamel, Breguet numerals, outer minute divisions. Blued-steel Breguet hands. A varicoloured gold couple, she on a swing, he standing pushing the swing, a dolphin fountain curves around the visible, rose diamond-set balance. The whole mounted on an oval painted on enamel background with a garden.

Grading System
Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-24-01


Slightly chipped

HANDS Original

Brand Attributed to Piguet & Capt., Switzerland

Year Circa 1810

Material 18K yellow gold

Length 38

Caliber 16.5 x 30.6 mm, oval, plain brass, fixed barrel, cylinder escapement, steel escape wheel, three curved arm rose diamond-set balance, flat balance spring. The automaton is driven by an independent five-wheel train and activated by a small lever on the side.

Width 24


This type of automaton ring watch is extremely rare; to our knowledge this is only the second with this automaton scene appear on the market, the first one was sold by Antiquorum in October 2005 lot 149 for 259'250 CHF. Particularly enchanting is the delicate swinging movement.
Another ring watch of identical size and with a very similar dial was sold by Antiquorum Geneva, The Sandberg Watch Collection, March 31, 2001, Lot 42 for 234'500 CHF.
Up to our knowledge, today the only other one known with the scene of the Escarpolette is in the collection of the Patek Philippe museum.

Piguet & Capt (active between 1802 and 1811) Specialised in the production of complicated watches, musical and/or automaton scenes incorporated into watches, snuff-boxes or objects. Among the first in Geneva to use the musical mechanism with pinned cylinder and tuned teeth comb. From Ventôse 16, An X (March 7, 1802), to 1811, Henry-Daniel Capt (1773-1841) formed a partnership with Isaac-Daniel Piguet (1775-1841), who was from the same village - Le Chenit - as he in the Vallée de Joux. Their signature was Piguet & Capt. In 1811, when Piguet broke off to join Philippe-Samuel Meylan (1772-1845) in a new partnership, Henry-Daniel Capt continued to work on his own until, in 1830, he went into partnership with Aubert and Son, Place Bel-Air. Their signature was Aubert & Capt. They were among the first Genevan makers to produce watches with chronograph. In 1844, the workshop was at 108, rue Neuve in Geneva. It was then managed by Capt's son, Henry Capt Jr. After a short time it moved to 85, rue de la Fusterie, and in 1851, to 177, rue du Rhône. In 1880, the firm was bought by Gallopin and its name became H. Capt Horloger, Maison Gallopin Successeurs, a trademark registered on November 1, 1880, under the No. 44. This signature was only used for watches retailed in their own store, the watches supplied to other retailers being merely signed Henry Capt. Henry-Daniel Capt, along with Isaac-Daniel Piguet and Philippe-Samuel Meylan, was the foremost maker of small musical automata in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of his work is not signed, although he sometimes scratched his name on his movements.


''Montres de fantaisie'',Osvaldo Patrizzi and Fabienne X. Sturm, Geneva, 1979, fig. 67. For discussion on ring watches, see page 72. Piguet & Capt. Isaac Daniel Piguet (1775-1841) and Henry Capt (1775 - 1841) were partners from 1802 to 1811. They specialized in musical and automaton watches but also made very fine musical pieces with automata. Two small musical movements with five tuned teeth, playing tunes on five notes, were among their first, made in 1802.
In 1811 Piguet became associated with Meylan, forming another famous firm, Piguet et Meylan.