Important Watches, Collector's Wristw...

Hotel Richemond, Geneva, Oct 13, 2001

LOT 776

A Sa Majesté le Vice-Roi d'EgypteBreguet, No. 4254/717, sold on 1 November 1828, for 8800 Francs, resold to Moïana for His Majesty on 27 June 1854, for 8000 Francs.Magnificent and extremely important 18K gold extra-flat, pair-cased astronomical, moon phase, equation of time, jump hour watch with quarter-repeating and triple calendar, constructed on the principle of the "garde-temps". Accompanied by original gold short Breguet chain and ratchet key.

CHF 0 - 0

USD 0 - 0

Sold: CHF 674,500

C. Outer: two-body, inner: "collier" form, both by Tavernier, No. 4142, engine-turned "à grains d'orge". D. Eccentric, engine-turned silver, by Tavernier, with radial Roman numerals on a plain reserve, small sector for the equation of time and concentric semi-circular aperture for slow/fast regulation indicator, subsidiary dials for seconds and months, with apertures for days of the week, date and phase of the moon with the age of the moon engraved on the border. Blued steel "Breguet" hands. M.ilt brass, 14 '", bar caliber, barrel with female winding square. Counterpoised straight line lever escapement with long lever, two-arm bimetallic compensation balance with gold screws. Blued-steel Breguet balance-spring. Repeating on a single gong with a single hammer, slide in the band of the case.Case stamped, signed on the dial.Diam. 46 mm.

Click to full view

Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3 - 01


Said PachaViceroy of Egypt from 1854 to 1863.Ismail PachaViceroy of Egypt from 1863 to 1879.Said Pacha became Khedive of Egypt on the death of Abbas 1st, in 1854. He was the fourth son of Muhammad-Ali, the founder of the Dynasty. Egypt was at the time under the domination of the Ottoman Empire, and limited in its degree of self-determination. Said Pacha had been educated in Europe, and he therefore continued, and indeed enlarged, the program of reforms begun by his father. Three of the most important of these were both enlightened and advanced in their outlook: the abolition of slaveryand the slave trade, the right to pass on land and property from one generation to the next, resulting in the growth of an important land-owning class, and the right of Egyptians to rise to senior ranks in the army.Certainly the most important event of his reign was the decision to authorize the building of the Suez Canal. Being greatly influenced by the French, he accorded the construction rights to Monsieur de Lesseps, taking shares in the Compagnie Universelle, which had been established to raise capital for the venture. Half of the shares were purchased by France and 44% by Egypt. The Eng1ish, however, refused to take part, being totally opposed to a project that could result in their losing their domiation of the shipping trade with India. Despite his good intentions, Said Pacha lacked the seriousness and determination required to truly reform and regenerate his country. The general situation was certainly improved, but only partially. He himself traveled throughout Europe, spending vast sums of money and building up debts that remained to be paid off by his people.He died on 18 January 1863, to be succeeded by Ismail-Pacha, the oldest surviving son of Ibrahim-Pacha.lsmail-Pacha, educated in France, attempted throughout his reign to familiarize his country with European culture and customs. He introduced French schools in Alexandria and Cairo, and established a theater in the latter city, where the leading singers and entertainers from both France and Italy made regular appearances. In spite of the potential problems, he saw the construction of the Suez Canal as being in the national interest, furthering Egypt's progress towards independence and gaining a pace in international affairs. He in fact obtained from the Sultan of Turkey the right of succession for his descendants by order of birth, and, in 1867 received the hereditary title of Khedive, or sovereign of Egypt.In 1873 he obtained further concessions, including the ability to completely organize the country's administration, and the permission to set the number of troops in the army at his own discretion. In response to a demand from the elite, he allowed the people some semblance of participation in the ruling of the country. However, the expenses of government combined with the costs of various military campaigns resulted in the build-up of massive debts, mostly contracted at extortionate rates of inerest. In 1874, to avoid a financial catastrophy, Ismail sold the Egyptian interests in the Suez Canal to Disraeli, the British Prime Minister.Only two years later, the sovereign found himself again on the verge of bankruptcy and forced by the European powers to accept a Cairo-based organization responsible for the control of the country's finances and the repayment of the outstanding debts. The result of this foreign management of the nation's finances was the establishment of a Conseil des Ministres comprised of three people: a Frenchman, an Englishman and an Egyptian. It precipitated a virtual revolution, and in response to the publc outcry, the Khedive threw out the foreign governors. He had apparently gone too far, for the Ottoman Porte, under pressure from Great Britain, forced him to abdicate on 25 June 1879. Provenance: The books and original certificate confirm that this watch, constructed between 1823 and 1828, was first sold on 1 November 1828 to the Marquis de Lamberville, for the sum of 8860 Francs. It was returned for overhaul at his request on 12 March 1847. On 29 December 1851, it was overhauled for Madame the Marquise de la Tour du Pin Montauban (1770-1853) of 24 rue Saint Lazare, Paris, the wife of René de la Tour du Pin de Montauban and de Soyans (1722-1853), General and Pair de France. O26 July 1853, the watch was again overhauled at the request of Monsieur Brunet, 26 rue de l'Ouest, Paris. Bought back from Monsieur Brunet on 16 February 1854, it was restored to perfect condition, transferred to No. 717 and resold to Moïana on 27 June 1854 for 8000 Francs. On 23 April 1855 and 2 January 1854, the watch was overhauled for His Majesty the Viceroy of Egypt, delivered by Moïana on both occasions. A further overhaul was undertaken on 8 October 1856, again for Saïd Pacha, and upon hs death on 18 January 1863, it passed into the hands of his successor Ismail Pacha.Literature: Illustrated and described in G. Daniels, "The Art of Breguet", p. 271, figs. 332.This watch was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, in the "Art of Breguet" thematic sale on 14 April 1991, lot 82.Note: This outstanding watch is without a doubt the most complicated timepiece of such small and slim dimensions that Breguet is ever known to have made. Furthermore Breguet was the only firm at the time able to construct such a piece. The provision of a pair-case is most unusual, particularly as the watch may be wound and the repeating operated in situ, by means of a revolving shutter and an additional slide. It is almost certainly one of the first watches to be fitted with slide-armed repeatin, the system that was to be universally adopted for all good quality watches in the latter half of the 19th century.It is interesting to note that although originally sold with a pair-case, it was not initially destined for the Islamic market, unlike almost all of Breguet's double-cased watches. Nevertheless the existence of such a case may well have been influential upon the choice of this watch by the Viceroy of Egypt when it was subsequently offered for sale in 1854.This watch was originally sold in 1828 for 8800 francs, which represented a tremendously high sum. Only a very small number of Breguet pieces, from the time the firm was founded until the end of the nineteenth century, when the industrial revolution and political upheaval had brought about a complete re-evaluation of monetary values, were ever sold for comparable prices. Here follows a list of the most expensive and therefore the most important and complicated, in Breguet's own estimation: No. 758, Pendule sympathique, sold circa 1800 to the "Ministère des Relations Extérieures" (Foreign Office), FFR. 35'000. No. 3671, Pendule double with equation (resonance), sold to the King of England, 8 October 1825, FFR. 25'200. No. 430, Pendule marine sympathique, sold to Count. A. de Demidoff on 2 November 1830, for FFR. 24'160. No. 75, Pendule sympathique winding and setting the watch, delivered to d'Eichtal, 23 June 1835, FFR. 19'000. No. 805, Souscription à diamants, delivered to Castaneda (thought to be the envoy of the King of Spain) on 22 prairial, an 10 (1802), FFR. 15'000. No. 533, Pendule marine sympathique, delivered to Moreau for the Czar of Russia on 12/2/1809, FFR. 14'000. No. 4464, Pendule de voyage, silver, with calendar, equation, alarm, thermometer, sold to Count A. de Demidoff, 4 December 1832, FFR. 12'940. No. 721, Pendule sympathique, sold to the Prince Regent in August 1814, FFR. 11'500. No. 4357, Humpback carriage clock with equation, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, repetition, alarm and calendar, sold to Count A. de Demidoff, 2 March, 1829, FFR. 11'100. No. 4600, Very small (30 mm) 20K gold half quarter-repeating, lever escapement watch, sold to Count A. de Demidoff, 26 September 1831, FFR. 10'000. No. 4308, Half quarter repeating, equation of time, calendar, à tact watch with lever escapement, sold to King George IV, 29 May 1827, FFR. 9'650. No. 4973, Very flat, self-winding, repeating garde-temps, sold to Mr. Schickler, 15 December 1831, FFR. 9'000. No. 257, Pendule sympathique, winding and setting the watch, sold to Baring, 1 July, 1845, FFR. 9'000. No. 695, Souscription watch with diamonds, sold to Lucien Bonaparte, 3 messidor an 9 (1801), FFR. 9'000. No. 4254, The present watch: 18K gold extra-flat, pair-cased astronomical, moon phase, equation of time, jump hour watch with quarter repeating and triple calendar, constructed on the principle of the "garde-temps", sold on 1 November 1828 to the Marquis de Lamberville, FFR. 8'800.As a basis of comparison with the above-quoted prices, it should be kept in mind that the price for tourbillon watches ranged from FFR. 1'200 for the simplest ones to FFR. 6'900 for the most complicated with lever escapement and constant force.