Important Collectors Wristwatches, Po...

Geneva, Nov 14, 2009

LOT 318

Russian Imperial Presentation Watch 3rd International Exhibition of Automobiles, St. Petersburg, May 1910. Pavel Buhre, Maker to the Royal Family, St. Petersburg, No. 58752. Made for presentation by Czar Nicholas II at the 3rd International Exhibition of Automobiles, St. Petersburg in May 1910. Extremely fine and historically important, large, minute-repeating, 18K yellow gold, champleve and painted on enamel, rose-cut diamond-set, keyless pocket watch with dual-date calendar, chronograph, instantaneous 30-minute register and moon phases. Accompanied by a Russian 14K (56 Zolotniks) gold fob and the original Pavel Buhre fitted wooden box.

CHF 32,000 - 42,000

USD 32,000 - 42,000 / EUR 22,000 - 28,000

Sold: CHF 50,400

C. Four-body, bassine, polished, the front cover decorated with the Russian Imperial eagle in champleve enamel and set with rose-cut diamonds, white champleve enamel disc below with rose-cut diamond border and gold letters I.A.O.R (in Cyrillic), the back cover decorated with a fine champleve and painted on enamel motor car with a chauffeur driving two ladies, inscribed around the border ?3rd International Exhibition of Automobiles? (in Cyrillic). Hinged gold cuvette. D. White enamel with Breguet numerals, outer minute and fifths of a second divisions, Arabic five-second numerals, subsidiary dials for the date, days of the week, 30-minute register and seconds, aperture for the moon phases. Gold spade hands. M. 20???, rhodium plated, 36 jewels, wolf?s tooth winding, straight-line lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, blued steel Breguet balance spring, index regulator, repeating on gongs activated by a slide on the band, visible chronograph work. Cuvette signed in Cyrillic. Diam. 53 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-23-01



HANDS Original


The present watch was likely to have been the highest award at the 3rd International Exhibition of Automobiles held in St. Petersburg in May 1910. It is of significantly higher quality than the majority of the watches made for Imperial presentation and is particularly interesting in the history of the motor vehicle. The enamelled depiction of the motor car is beautifully rendered, as is the Imperial arms. The high quality and good design of the case coupled with minute-repeating, calendar and chronograph make this watch one of the most desirable of Imperial Russian presentation watches.
The 3rd International Exhibition of Automobiles was held at the Michael Manege Hall in St. Petersburg in May 1910. It was an important event and was commercially successful with 50 cars being sold. At the time there were 1056 cars in St. Petersburg, so this was seen as a significant advance in car ownership. It is quite likely that the Czar visited the exhibition and presented the present watch to one of the exhibitors.
Pavel (Paul) Buhre The firm was established by Carl Buhre in 1815 in St. Petersburg. His son Paul entered the business and by 1874 the company had acquired a large watch manufactory in Le Locle, Switzerland. In 1899 the company was given the Imperial warrant to supply the Czar and his family with watches for themselves and for presentation. Between 1887 and 1917 the office of the Emperor bought around 15,000 watches and the name of Pavel Buhre became synonymous with the watches of Czarist Russia, even Anton Chekhov mentions Buhre?s name several times in his literature. The Buhre company dominated the supply of watches to Russia and at one time held over 50% of the market in ordinary watches. The complicated watches for rich customers were specially ordered in Switzerland. The company won medals at National and International exhibitions including a silver medal in Paris 1889 and gold in Paris 1900. Czar Nicholas II wore a gold watch by Pavel Buhre and this, along with a silver marine watch, were found amongst his possessions after his execution in 1917. The revolution effectively ended the business of Pavel Buhre although the seized watches and parts continued to be used by the Soviets including Stalin and Khrushchev.