Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, May 14, 2017

LOT 210

UNDER A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS Attributed to Chevalier & Cochet or Antoine Rojard, Geneva, circa 1800-1805 Extremely fine and equally rare, 18K gold and enamel watch, with quarter repeating on two bells incorporated within the movement, and, a concealed erotic automaton scene with independent movement.

CHF 80,000 - 140,000

HKD 640,000 - 1,120,000 / USD 80,000 - 140,000

Sold: CHF 185,000

Three-body "Directoire", with large faceted band, each of the 10 lateral panels guilloché engine-turned and painted on enamel of flowers on a background of translucent enamel royal blue; the two bezels sett with half- pearls; guilloché engine-turned background painted on enamel of a magnificent bouquet of multicoloured flowers on a translucent enamel royal blue; hinged polished gold cuvette (back-dome); automaton scene concealed beneath the cuvette (back-dome); on a gold multicoloured painting on enamel panel showing a boudoir we can see a automaton couple devoting themselves to basic reality; the gold multicoloured painting on enamel figures are driven by a independent movement (for once, on this kind of scene, we do not have a curious character hidden in the background - a Peeping Tom -, who delights and reassures that the lineage of this couple will indeed perpetuate themselves; they can therefore quietly work!); the triggering of this scene is carried out simply when the cuvette (back-dome) is opened, the movement being naturally armed. White enamel with radial Roman numerals and outer minute ring; Arabic quarter hour numerals. Gold polished "spade" hands. 53 mm. ,gilt brass, inverted, quarter plate in the shaped of a crescent, with cylindrical pillars, going barrel, virgule escapement, plain brass three-arm balance, blued steel flat balance spring, repeating on two bells activated by depressing the pendant. Automaton movement concealed under the automaton plate, with going barrel driving the automata by means of cams and levers. Unsigned and unnumbered; the largest bell scratched inside with an etching-needle "Cheneviere".

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Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-01


HANDS Original


DIAM. 62 mm. Provenance Galerie Neumarkt, Zürich (Switzerland), auction, October 9, 1970 Automaton scenes in watches driven by an independent concealed movement are rare, and even more so when, as in the present watch, they are made so thin and fitted in such a way that it is hard to guess anything is concealed in the back of the case. Most of the few known existing watches fitted with similar movements carry the signature of the Geneva watchmakers Chevalier & Cochet (see for example: Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, November 16, 2005, lot 44). Another watch with a similar movement and signed by Moricand, Geneva, has recently come to light suggesting that either of these two fine makers could have devised them. We can also note that the Patek Philippe Museum of Geneva kept in its collection two interesting automaton pieces, both signed by Antoine Rojard (Inv. S-770 and S-777). The second (Inv. S-777) is fitted with a similar movement (two bells incorporating inside the movement with back plate in the shape of a crescent and an independent movement driving the automaton scene). This watch bear the signature of Bordier, Roux & Cie (watchmakers active in Geneva but also known as retailers) but the movement, below the barrel, is signed with an etching-needle "Invente L'an 1802 / Rojard a Geneve". On the reverse of the dial, also engraved with an etching-needle, we can found the mention "Invanté L'an 1802 Ante Rojard / a Genève". The bell is signed with an etching-needle "Cheneviere" (Provenance: Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, November 13-14, 1999, The Art of the Horlogy in Geneva, lot 75; Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, October 15-16, 2005, lot 149). Concerning the first piece of Rojard kept at the Patek Philippe Museum of Geneva (Inv. S-770), it's a magnificent snuffbox whose automated scene is probably one of the most complicated ever made which demonstrates the incredible talent of this mechanician-watchmaker. At the end, it's difficult to attribute with certainty certain Genevan production of this period because the objects were often unsigned. The system of production in force at that time means that watchmakers can buy from some of their colleagues some ébauches on which they adapt some of their inventions; this naturally disturbs our data. A very similar watch (DIAM. 62,5 mm.) is kept in the Sandoz Collection (Inv. I.31; ex-No. 62); the band with 20 lateral panels, the erotic scene in mirror image; the back panel with a different decoration. Bibliographie Collection de montres et automates Maurice et Edouard M. Sandoz, Le Locle, Edition du Château des Monts, 1976, pp. 116-117 (Inv. No. 62). Pin, Bernard, Montres & Automates, La collection Maurice Sandoz, Pully, Fondation Edouard et Maurice Sandoz, 2010, vo. I, p. 186-190, vol. III, p.72 (Inv. I.31). Chevalier (or Chevallier) & Cochet, Geneva Watchmakers actives in Geneva in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They produce very beautiful and elegant watches, often enamelled, sometimes with wandering automata (some double- face) or with various automata scenes and repeater device; they also made form watches ("montres de fantaisie"). They export part of their production to France and Spain. Rojard, Antoine Antoine Rojard, probably the son of the horologist Jean-Daniel Rojard, was active at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries. He is known to have produced automaton and unusual watches, including ones with thermometers. The Rojard firm continued until the end of the 19th century and produced among other things repeating watches in the English style. Rojard claimed to have invented an automaton mechanism in which as one function was disengaged another almost immediately engaged, allowing a sequence of mechanical actions to be portrayed. This control mechanism runs from a single wheel and reduces the overall complexity of the mechanism without diminishing the effect or apparent complexity of the automaton. A musical automaton snuffbox employing this system is kept in the Patel Philippe Museum collections (Inv. S-770); an private institution where one finds a very beautiful watch with unusual automata of the same craftsman (Inv. S-777). Chenevière, Geneva A long line of Genevan watchmakers bearing this surname has been listed since the 17th century. A Chenevière was active as a bell-maker in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Picture from the collection of Mister Maurice & Edouard Sandoz page 60