Geneva, May 08, 2022

LOT 273


CHF 20,000 - 40,000

EUR 19,800 - 39,600 / USD 21,500 - 42,900 / HKD 170,000 - 338,000

Sold: CHF 55,000

Very fine and rare 18K gold quarter-repeating musical watch with automaton scene. Small eccentric gold engine turned with Breguet numerals on a white enamel chapter. Blued steel Breguet hands. The dial plate with a fine enamel painted landscape with a castle on the right side (slightly restored on the border), the foreground applied with a various-colour gold chased automaton scene depicting two sitting musicians in antique costumes, the man plays the lyre and the lady the mandoline. Driven by the musical train, the man and the lady move their arms.

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Grading System
Case: 3-8-19


Slightly scratched


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-75-01

Very good

ENAMEL AND VARIOUS TYPES OF DECORATION Slightly restored soft enamel

HANDS Original

Brand Henry Capt, Switzerland

Year Circa 1815

Material 18K yellow gold

Diameter 58 mm.

Caliber 22’’’,Gilt brass full plate double train movement with cylindrical pillars, fusee with chain, cylinder escapement, plain brass three arm balance, flat balance spring, small gilt brass English type cock with jeweled coqueret, the foot countersunk on an applied gilt brass plate engraved with scrolls of foliage. Repeating on gongs by depressing the pendant. Musical train with pin-barrel and six stacked steel blades

Signature on the gilt brass dust rim


Signed on the movement ring in Henry Capt's typical manner.
HENRY-DANIEL CAPT Born in Chenit in 1773, he married HENRIETTE PIGUET. He specialized in the production of complicated watches, musical watches and automaton watches. Among the first in Geneva to use the musical mechanism with pinned cylinder and tuned teeth comb, he was famous for his snuffboxes with music and automaton scenes. From Ventôse 16, An X (March 7, 1802), to 1811, he formed a partnership with Daniel Isaac Piguet, who was from the same village as he. Their signature was Piguet & Capt. In 1811, when Piguet broke off to join Meylan in a new partnership, Henry-Daniel Capt continued to work on his own until, in 1830, he went into partnership with Aubert and son, Place Bel-Air. Their signature was AUBERT & CAPT. They were among the first Genevan makers to produce watches with chronograph. In 1844 the workshop was at 108, rue Neuve in Geneva. It was then managed by Capt's son, Henry Capt Jr. After a short time it moved to 85, rue de la Fusterie, and in 1851, to 177, rue du Rhône. In 1880, the firm was bought by Gallopin and its name became H. Capt Horloger, Maison Gallopin Successeurs, a trademark registered on November 1, 1880, under the No. 44. This signature was only used for watches retailed in their own store, the watches supplied to other retailers being merely signed Henry Capt. Henri Capt, along with Isaac Piguet and Philippe Meylan, was the foremost maker of small musical automata in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of his work is not signed, although he sometimes scratched his name on his movements they are rarely fully signed.