Geneva, Nov 06, 2021

LOT 119


CHF 10,000 - 20,000

HKD 85,000 - 170,000 / USD 10,900 - 21,700 / EUR 9,400 - 18,700

Sold: CHF 12,500

Very fine and extremely rare and important, 18K yellow gold and painted on enamel ‘’montre à tact’’ pocket watch with pivoted detent chronometer escapement, sidereal time chart and special dial.
Front cover with finely painted coat of arms of the Kopacz Meleniewski family on a royal blue ground, the back cover with foliate engraved à tact hand and painted on enamel initials «UM» beneath a painted-on enamel Polish Noble Crown. Hinged gold cuvette engraved with a sidereal time chart for each month with dates and hours, minutes and seconds. Engine-turned with polished borders, coin-edge band with gold pins for the à tact.
White enamel dial with radial Roman numerals, outer minute track with gothic letters at each five-minutes spelling the name «U. Meleniewski», subsidiary seconds.

Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original

Brand Bautte & Co

Model Montre à Tact

Year Circa 1850

Movement No. 72428

Case No. 72428

Caliber 17’’’, matte gilt bar caliber, 12 jewels, pivoted detent escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, Breguet balance spring, index regulator

Dimensions 45.5 mm

Signature Dial, Case and Movement


A ‘’montre à tact’’ watch with detent chronometer escapement, whilst not unknown, is exceptionally rare. This watch was evidently specially ordered by Meleniewski not only because it bears his coat of arms and initials but also the dial spells out his name with a gothic letter at each five-minute interval.The Polish Noble Crown is very similar to that of a Margrave, in English a Marquis.

The Meleniewski family Originally from Podolia in the southwest of the Ukraine, conquered in 1793 by the Russian Empire, is an illustrious noble Polish family, on a par with the Poniatowskis, Radziwills and the Wisniowieckis Stanislas Kopacz de Meleniewski (1846-1908) was a commander of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Sovereign Order of Malta. He was an officer in the Russian Imperial Army and a deputy in the Assembly of the Nobility of Kiev. He was decorated with the pontifical order of Saint Gregory.
In 1876 he married Countess Ernestine Rzewuska (1848- 1908), also from a noble Polish family, and the niece of Mme Hanska, the second wife of Honoré de Balzac.
They acquired a home in Hyères in the south of France in 1869, where they spent a great deal of time; many members of the family are buried in the chapel of the former Hôtel-dieu in Hyères, which was given to the city by Count Darius Poniatowski, an uncle of Ernestine.

Sidereal time. Unit of time used by astronomers; the sidereal day is the interval between two consecutive upper transits of the vernal point in the plane of the meridian. Since in practice this can be measured as the earth’s rotation with respect to distant celestial objects, it is called sidereal or star time (sider means star in Latin). The sidereal day is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds. The sidereal year contains one more day than the solar year.