Click to full view

Important Collectors' Wristwatches, P...

New York, Jun 11, 2009

LOT 146

Enamel Pendant Watch Case possibly Augsburg. Made circa 1670. Movement by Isaac Phelippon, London, No. 350. Made circa 1780. Very fine, important and unusual 20K gold and painted enamel key-wound pendant watch.

C. Two-body, "bassine" with rounded edge, hinged gold bezel decorated with foliage, finely painted enamel with a scene depicting the flight into Egypt, with the Madonna and Child, a donkey, a goat, and two angels, the inside painted with a rural landscape. D. White enamel with painted radial Roman numerals, outer minute track with five-minute Arabic markers, winding aperture at 4. M. 42 mm., frosted gilt full plate with cylindrical pillars, fusee and chain, verge escapement, plain steel balance with flat balance spring, single-footed cock. Movement signed. Diam. 49 mm.

USD 10,000 - 15,000

EUR 7,500 - 11,000 / CHF 11,000 - 17,000

Grading System
Grade: AA

Very good

Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-27-01



HANDS Original


The case features an unusual technique of enamel painting reminiscent of the German school, especially that of Augsburg. The disposition of the enamel scene, without the ring dividing the back from the band, which was typically present during the second half of the 17th century, is also unusual. It was a common practice in the 18th century to replace the movement in a particularly expensive or beautiful watch case, to take advantage of technological advances in horology. Examples can be found in numerous museums and private collections.
Enamel is a form of glass. Its base is a colorless compound called flux, which is a combination of silica (obtained from fine white sand), lead, potassium or sodium salts, lime, and borax. By varying the proportions of these components, different degrees of hardness and resistance to the environment can be achieved. The metals most suitable for enameling are gold, copper, silver, and platinum. The color effects are created by the addition of metal oxides, which give various hues. Enameling of watch cases was usually practiced on gold and copper. The few surviving watches from the 16th century and the vast majority of those from the 17th century are almost always made of high-carat gold.