Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, Mar 11, 2012

LOT 252

EXCEPTIONAL CHINESE MARKET BELT BUCKLE WATCH & MATCHING SHOE BUCKLES English. Made for the Chinese market, circa 1790. Very fine and exceptionally rare, gilt brass, silver, enamel and paste-set belt buckle fitted with a watch. Accompanied by the original pair of matching shoe buckles set with hair and cut-work three-dimensional flower panels.

CHF 50,000 - 70,000

USD 55,000 - 76,000 / EUR 40,000 - 58,000

Sold: CHF 128,500

C. Oval, centered with the watch, translucent royal blue enamel panel on each side set with 3 colorless pastes, further entirely set with colorless and ruby-colored pastes in silver mounts, polished gilt bezel and back, two gilt loops for the belt. The shoe buckles: each matching the belt buckle and set with a central very fi nely made three-dimensional fl ower spray made from cut fabric, gold wire and hair, royal blue guilloche enamel background, domed glass covers. D. White enamel, Arabic numerals, outer minute/seconds divisions with fi ve-minute star indexes. Pierced gold hands. M. 36 mm, frosted gilt full-plate with cylindrical pillars, fusee and chain, verge escapement, three-arm steel balance with fl at balance spring, fi nely pierced and engraved single-footed cock, silver regulation dial. Dim. The buckle: 92 x 65 mm. The shoe buckles: 59 x 69 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original


It is almost unknown for the original shoe buckles to remain with a belt buckle watch as a full set ? an extraordinary survival from the 18th century. The condition of the present set is also exceptional. The extremely high quality of the workmanship is worth examining, the central fl ower panels of the shoe buckles are exquisitely crafted from cut and painted fabric with hairwork and bead details. These panels would have been made by the craftsmen who worked as framers and hairwork artists for miniaturists. Paste stones during the 18th century were regarded as desirable in their own right as jewels and sets such as this would have been very expensive to buy. As with many exotic clocks and watches for the Chinese market, they were made in London specifi cally for export. Pieces either made in London or in Switzerland and retailed with a London name had an extra cachet for Chinese buyers and therefore could be sold at a higher price.