Only Online Auction

Geneva, Dec 08, 2022

LOT 114


CHF 20,000 - 40,000

EUR 20,300 - 40,600 / USD 21,200 - 42,400 / HKD 166,000 - 332,000

Very important and rare 20K gold, painted on enamel, single-hand lady's pendant watch. The front lid and the back entirely painted on enamel, the principal scenes, on the lid and the back, depicting Venus and Adonis, the band painted with a continuous hunting and pastoral scene, on the inside of the lid a riverside fishing scene, on the inside of the back a pastoral scene, short pendant, loose ring. Painted enamel dial on gold, repeating the same motifs as the band, Roman chapters on outer white enamel ring with half-hour divisions, iner quarter-hour ring. Blued-steel hands.

Grading System
Case: 2-8

Very good

Slightly scratched

Movement: 3-6-8*


Slightly oxidized

Slightly scratched

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-76-01

Very good


HANDS Original

Brand Goullons, France

Year Circa 1650

Material 22K gold

Diameter 32 mm.

Caliber hinged, gilt brass full plate, turned baluster pillars, fusee and gut-line, verge escapement, two-arm steel balance without spring, elongated asymmetrically pierced and foliate engraved cock secured by a screw, four-wheel train with five-leaf pinions, worm and wheel set up with a silver scale plate mounted on the set-up wheel.

Signature Movement


The period of the 1630's to the 1670's represents the apogee of the French (Paris and Blois) school of enamel, during which artistry and technique were unsurpassed. It was developed in Blois, France. A goldsmith from Blois, Jean Toutin (born in Châteaudun), is credited with the invention of the technique in 1632, as reported by one of his contemporaries, Felibien des Avaux, in 1676. In fact, the invention was probably made ten or twelve years earlier. In 1618/19 Toutin published six plates of enravings with designs for enamelled watches. Although the technique was a closely-guarded secret, kept within the family, it nevertheless spread quickly. Probably through his associate Isaac Gribelin and two sons, also enamel painters, of whom one settled in Paris, the new technique was learned by others in Blois, then became known in Geneva, Germany and other centres, but the perfection of the Blois manner was never completely equalled. Toutin developed a true miniature painting method, refiningthe existing technique (the Limoges school) and extending the range of colours. He gave a precision, a sense of perspective, and a subtlety in tonal gradation that was previously unknown in miniature painting. Blois became famous all over Europe for its enamels; watchmakers from England, Switzerland, and Holland sent for cases made in Blois, having movements made for them. These watches were costly objects and greatly appreciated. It is known that Mazarin and Richelieu gave such watches as handsme presents. In most instances enamel artists copied works of established painters, or worked from manuals such as the 'Book of leaves and flowers for use in the art of a goldsmith'. The subjects were historical, biblical, allegorical or mythological.Venus and AdonisAccording to the legend, Adonis was born from an incestuous union between Myrrha and his father Cinyras, King of Paphos in Cyprus (or possibly Belos, King of Egypt, or even Theias, King of Assyria). The gods transformed Myrrha into the myrrh-tree and in due course Adonis was born from the tree when the trunk was split open by a wild boar. Venus (or Aphrodite) was struck by the beauty of the child Adonis and put him in the care of Persephone (or Proserpine), the queen of the underworld. But Persehone too loved the youth and refused to give him back to Venus. Jupiter (or Zeus) had to pass judgment to resolve the question between the two goddesses. There are two versions of this judgment: in the first, Adonis was to spend a third of the year with each goddess while the rest of the time as he preferred and chose to spend that time with Venus; in the other version, the judgment was made by the Muse Calliope, Jupiter not wishing to arbitrate, and each goddess was allowed to have Adonis for hlf of the year. Both versions are indicative of Adonis' function since he was the god of vegetation and nature. The cause of Adonis' birth became also that of his death because he died after being attacked by a wild boar while hunting. Venus was overcome with despair and from the blood of his wounds, created a new flower, the red anemone, a wild flower that each year blooms briefly and then dies.Adonis, imported probably from the Phoenicians, came to be revered as a dying-and-rising god. In midsummer, Athenians held Adonia, a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection. Goullons was an eminent maker responsible, for making a large clock watch for the study of Cardinal Mazarin in 1663 for 200 Livres. The collection of the Musée International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds has a remarkable watch by Goullons, very similar to the present lot, but larger, and decorated inside the case in a similar manner. In the Victoria and Albert museum in London there is a magnificent watch by him painted with the portraits of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. The Worshipful Company oClockmakers possesses a watch by the same maker enamelled in relief with flowers and foliage.


Lord Sandberg collection, published in the Sandberg book, page 70-71.