Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, Mar 27, 2011

LOT 434

Esquivillon & Dechoudens The Knife Grinder Watch with Six Automaton Actions Esquivillon et Deschoudens à Genève. Made circa 1810. Very fine and very rare, quarter-repeating, heavy 18K rose gold pocket watch with multicolored gold striking Jacks and an automaton scene of a knifegrinder?s workshop with a total of six automaton actions.

CHF 40,000 - 60,000

USD 40,000 - 60,000 / EUR 30,000 - 45,000

Sold: CHF 104,500

C. Three-body, ?Empire?, No. 55292, engine-turned with polished bezels, reeded band. Gilt brass spring-loaded cuvette fitted to the movement ring. D. Annular white enamel with Breguet numerals, outer minute divisions, center with applied multicolored gold cherubs appearing to strike bells during repeating, gold brick arch below and within an automaton scene depicting a knifegrinder sharpening a knife on a grinding wheel while a boy drives the wheel via a large pulley, blued steel background. Blued steel Breguet hands. M. 43 mm., 19???, frosted gilt, full plate with cylindrical pillars, fusée and chain, verge escapement, plain brass three-arm balance with flat balance spring, pierced and engraved continental balance cock, silver regulation dial, repeating on gongs activated by depressing the pendant, automaton driven via repeating train. Cuvette and movement signed. Diam. 61 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-71-01



HANDS Original


The present watch is unusually fully signed by Esquivillon & Dechoudens. The case is of much heavier gauge gold than is usual, befitting the general high quality of the watch. It is very rare to find an automaton watch with as many as six separate actions. A very few are known with four, five and eight actions, placing the present watch amongst those with the highest number of automaton actions. A similar watch, signed Esquivillon et Dechoudens, from the F. Conty Collection, Geneva, is described and illustrated in A. Chapuis and E. Gelis , ?Le Monde des Automates?, volume 2, page 35, fig. 297.
Esquivillon & Dechoudens Master watchmakers of the 18th century. Gédéon- François Esquivillon became associated with his brother Joseph and Jaques Dechoudens in 1774. They are known to have signed ?Es. et Dech?