Geneva, May 14, 2023

LOT 85


CHF 15,000 - 35,000

EUR 15,300 - 35,600 / USD 16,900 - 39,400 / HKD 134,000 - 310,000

Fine and extremely rare silver watch with built-in detachable gilt brass, universal equinoctial Augsburg compass dial.
Polished case, the back with a glazed aperture allowing the sundial to be seen.

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Grading System
Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-6-04


Slightly oxidized


Brand Johann Nikolaus Delle, Germany

Year Circa 1750

Material Silver

Caliber 17''',Hinged gilt brass full plate with square baluster pillars, fusee with chain, verge escapement, plain brass three-arm balance, flat balance spring and gilt brass English type cock pierced and engraved with foliage. Silver dust cap topped with a very fine gilt brass, universal equinoctial Augsburg compass dial.

Signature Dial and movement


Delle, Johann Nikolaus, Augsburg and Dantzig (Master 1732, died 1759). Established on his own account May 10, 1733, following his marriage to the widow of the clockmaker Joseph Anton Schöner, son of Christoph Schöner of Augsburg. The Schöner family were equally renowned for their instruments as for their clocks and watches. Watches incorporating a complete Universal Equinoctial Sundial are exceptionally rare. To date there appear to be only two known to have survived, both dating from the 2nd quarter of the 18th century. The concept of incorporating a sundial into a portable timekeeper dates back to the 16th century, most probably also to the workshops in Augsburg, but these were relatively simple versions, with a gnomon set for a fixed latitude, and sometimes provided with a compass. French examples are also known dating from the early 17th century, but again, of a simple design. The Universal Equinoctial Sundial was introduced, possibly in Germany as early as the 14th century, and continued in use up to the mid-19th century. 17th and 18th century examples incorporated a folding plumb bob for levelling, whilst the later models, mostly made in England, used spirit levelling. Delle?s known dates and the style of the watch would indicate a date of circa 1735, and since he had recently married the widow of a maker known for his instruments, it seems possible that this watch was a co-operative effort.