Geneva, Nov 05, 2023

LOT 334


CHF 40,000 - 60,000

EUR 42,100 - 64,000 / USD 44,300 - 67,000 / HKD 348,000 - 520,000


Sold: CHF 137,500

An exceptionally fine and rare, 18k gold, manual wind open face keyless pocket chronometer, glazed back, band with chased laurel-leaf decoration, polished bezels. One-minute tourbillon chronometer, Pellaton-type carriage with spring detent escapement. White enamel, Arabic numerals, outer minute ring, subsidiary sunk seconds. Blued steel, "Breguet" hands.

Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-01


HANDS Original

Brand F. A. Robert Charrue, Switzerland

Year completed in 1936

Movement No. 1936

Diameter 53 mm.

Caliber 20 ''', rhodium-plated, "fausses-côtes" decoration with narrow straps, 3/4 plate based on Pellaton calibre, three-arm Pellaton-type carriage with spring detent escapement, cut anibal-steel Guillaume compensation balance with gold screws, special steel alloy balance-springwith Phillips outer terminal curve, index regulator with gold scale plate and micrometric pin adjustment, jeweled to the center, escapement with end stones, pin-set.

Signature Movement


This watch clearly demonstrates the influence of James Pellaton. Not only is the ebauche based on Pellaton's (but left as a 3/4 plate) but the carriage is also identical to those used by Pellaton. Additionally, the case is similar to those which Pellaton used for his special pieces (see Professor Thomas Engel Collection, Lot 21E, Antiquorum, November 11, 2001).Fritz-Robert CharrueBorn in 1908, Charrue was one of the finest Swiss watchmakers. He started as an apprentice to the already famous James Pellaton and later succeeded him as director of the Horological School in Le Locle. In the meantime, he served as the head of production for Doxa Watch Co. In partnership with Lovaxy, he established a watch company in Le Locle which was a supplier to Rolex, among others. After Lovaxy's death, Charrue founded a company which specialized in coin watches and in which he employed IWmovements.At the time when Charrue was apprenticed to Pellaton, the world's smallest tourbillon watch- made by his master in 1927- was 10 1/2'''. Pellaton was known to have mentioned that his tourbillon will stay the world's smallest because creating a smaller one was just not possible. How little did he know that his own apprentice would later, in 1945, create a tourbillion watch at 8 3/4''', which still remains the world's smallest tourbillon movement today. Charrue supplied the best watch companies wih his tourbillons, though in very limited quantities; Breguet for instance received only five from him. He spent countless hours behind the bench, which led his wife to remark once that she knew him best from behind.The present watch, short of the smallest one, can be safely considered his masterpiece. It took part in the 1938 Neuchatel Observatory Timing Contest. It is illustrated and is described in Le Tourbillon by Reinhard Meis, Editions de l'Amateur, Paris 1990, p. 184 and Grands Artisans de la Chronometrie by A. Chapuis, Neuchatel, 1958, p. 222.