Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Hong Kong, Nov 27, 2016

LOT 297

JAQUET DROZ EARLY "PERPETUELLE" SELF WINDING WATCH FOR THE CHINESE MARKET Jaquet Droz, London, 'Perpétuelle', case No. 12518. Made in Switzerland and retailed via London for the Chinese market, circa 1785. Very fine and exceptionally rare, gold, enamel, pearl and ruby-set, self-winding "perpétuelle" pocket watch with center seconds.

HKD 620,000 - 950,000

USD 80,000 - 123,000 / CHF 77,000 - 120,000

Sold: HKD 800,000

Two-body, "bassine", the bezel hinged through the pendant released by a concealed push- piece in the band at 6 o'clock, the bezels and band entirely set with split pearls and rubies, the back set with a translucent crimson guilloche enamel panel. Gilt dust cap engraved with foliage. White enamel, radial Roman numerals and outer minute divisions, Arabic 15-minute numerals. Gold pierced hands. 39 mm. frosted gilt, full plate, oval polished gold oscillating WEIGHT pivoted at the circumference and oscillating between two steel spring bumpers, going barrel, transmission to the mainspring barrel via three wheels, cylinder escapement, three-arm brass balance with flat balance spring, single-footed pierced and engraved balance cock with polished steel endplate, rack and pinion regulation. Movement signed on the oscillating weight, case numbered on the pendant.

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DIAM. 51.5 mm. THICKNESS 22.5 mm. This present watch by the legendary maker, JAQUET DROZ, is one of the extremely rare examples with an early self-winding mechanism (referred to as a "perpetuelle" ) and only one or two other examples with such mechanism by Droz are known. The lavishly jeweled gold case and the center-seconds feature suggest that this watch was marketed for export to China. One could assume that it was retailed by Droz's agent, HENRY MAILLARDET, in London. It was a clever business strategy by Droz to sign many of his watches destined for the Far East as JAQUET DROZ, LONDON, since pieces from London were regarded as superior quality and thus commanded higher prices.