The Sandberg Watch Collection

Hotel Richemond, Geneva, Mar 31, 2001

LOT 40

Over the BarrelJ. Robert, London, circa 1780.Very fine and extremely rare gold and enamel rose-cut diamond-set ring watch with concealed erotic scene.

CHF 30,000 - 40,000

USD 18,000 - 24,000

Sold: CHF 141,000

C. Three-body, the shoulders and hinged bezel with applied silver diamond-set floral motif, the back with a painted on enamel portrait of a young woman in a blue bonnet, on the reverse, inside the back, a couple engrossed in mutual appreciation. The scene on the cuvette is from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). The enamel illustrates the point in the story when the husband, in his innocence, is cleaning inside the barrel, his wife is well over it, and the lover is assessing its vaue. D. White enamel with Roman chapters, outer minute indication with Arabic five-minute numerals. Blued-steel hands. M. 14 mm o, weight: 3 grams, hinged, gilt brass full plate with cylindrical pillars, fusee and chain, cylinder escapement, gold escape wheel, plain gold three-arm balance, flat balance spring, continental cock pierced and engraved with asymmetrical foliage.Signed on the movement.Dim. Watch 17 mm, shank 23 mm. Published in the Sandberg book, page 388-389.

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Grading System
Case: 4 - 15 - 18
Movement: 4 - 8*
Dial: 22 - 04


The erotic scene is from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). Peronella hid her lover in a barrel when she heard her husband return home unexpectedly. When the husband arrived, she told him that she had sold the barrel. The lover jumped out, pretending to be cleaning the barrel, and demanded that the husband continue cleaning for him. The husband obliged and while he was working inside, the lovers enjoyed a few last moments over the barrel. This scene was quite popular among libertinartists of the eighteenth century. For another example, this time of French execution, see Antiquorum, April 10, 1983, lot 237.A similar watch is published in 'La Montre Chinoise', Alfred Chapuis, page 227.