Important Watches, Wristwatches and C...

Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Apr 25, 1993

LOT 168

Unsigned, Swiss, attributed to Abraham Louis Perrelet, circa 1770. Highly important and almost unique, 18 ct. gold early "rotor" self-winding watch.

CHF 30,000 - 40,000

Sold: CHF 115,000

C. Double body, Louis XVI, polished with concealed hinge, bearing the master mark "ALR" and the mark of Neuchâtel. D. White enamel with Roman numerals and outer Arabic minute ring (very slightly superficially chipped toward the center). Gold Louis XV hands. M. Hinged gilt brass full plate with cylindrical pillars, fusee with chain, verge escapement, plain brass three arm balance, Breguet balance spring. The semi circular gilt brass winding weight is pivoted at the center of the back plate and winds the fusee in both direction by means of a differential gearing in the fusee. The weight is locked when the watch is fully wound. In very good condition. Diam. 47 mm.

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The discovery of this watch by Léon Leroy in 1949 caused a sensation. His lengthy correspondence with various eminent Swiss horological historians such as Alfred Chapuis, Eugène Jaquet and Pierre Huguenin bears witness to the interest it created in Switzerland. Indeed, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder and President of Rolex, and responsible for registering a patent for a selfwinding mechanism based on the same principle, was for a time forcefully against the publication of the discovery. (The correspondance will be passed on to the buyer of this lot). A chapter of some 18 pages in the book by Alfred Chapuis and Eugène Jaquet: La montre automatique ancienne, Editions du Griffon, 1952, pp. 44-62, is entirely dedicated to this watch. Previously in the L. Leroy collection.