Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces
Geneva, Mar 17, 2013
Henry Capt, Musique D?amour - Repeating Musical Watch With
Four Actions With Concealed ErotiC Automaton
Henry Capt, genève. Made circa 1810.
extremely fine and equally rare, 18K gold and painted on enamel, two-train, quarter-repeating musical watch with
two automaton scenes ? musicians and birds automaton scene on the dial plate and concealed erotic automaton
scene, playing at will.
C. Three-body, ?Empire?, polished with reeded band. Fixed gold and finely painted on enamel cuvette with an
erotic automaton scene of a monk and a nun standing in the interior of the abbey, a vanitas portrait on the wall
behind and in the background further frolics take place, activated via a steel cam when the music plays.
D. Small eccentric gold, engine turned and engraved, Breguet numerals on a plain reserve, outer dot minute divisions,
the center engraved with a rosette. Blued steel Breguet hands. The gold dial plate finely painted on enamel
with a scene of a flower garden and landscape with a classical building, the foreground applied with a varicolored
gold chased automaton scene of a seated gentleman playing the mandolin and a seated lady playing the lyre, to
the side two birds in an arbor, one moving towards the other with the music.
M. Gilt brass full plate double train movement with cylindrical pillars, going barrel and cylinder escapement,
plain gilt three-arm balance, flat balance spring, small gilt brass cock with polished steel end-piece, repeating on
gongs activated by depressing the pendant, regulator arm protruding from under the cuvette with engraved scale
at the edge. Musical train with pin-barrel and six stacked steel blades.
diaM. 59 mm.
CHF 80,000 - 120,000
USD 88,000 - 130,000 / EUR 65,000 - 95,000
Sold: CHF 146,500
Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense
This watch is undoubtedly the work of the exceptional Genevan
watchmaker Heny Capt. it can be compared directly to other
examples signed by him. This watch, with its concealed erotic
automaton, is one of very few known examples made by Henry
Capt with two automaton scenes. The present watch is of higher
specification than most; it has three animations on the dial instead
of the usual two. The arm of each musician moves and a charming
scene of two billing doves in an arbor, one dove appears when the
music starts and disappears at the end of the tune. The enamel
erotic scene is of very high quality depicting a monastic interior, of
particular note is the small vanitas painting on the wall behind the
amorous alluding to the brevity of youth. Literature : A very similar
watch formerly in the B. Franck Collection, Paris, is illustrated in ?Le
Monde des Automates?, Chapuis & Gélis, 1984 ed., fig. 305. A watch
with almost identical automaton musician and dove scene but
with different erotic automaton was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva,
March 27th, 2011, lot 187. Henry-Daniel Capt Born in Chenit in
1773, he married Henriette Piguet. He specialized in the production
of complicated watches, musical watches and automaton
watches. Among the first in Geneva to use the musical mechanism
with pinned cylinder and tuned teeth comb, he was famous for his
snuffboxes with music and automaton scenes. From Ventôse 16,
An X (March 7, 1802), to 1811, he formed a partnership with Daniel
isaac Piguet, who was from the same village as he. Their signature
was Piguet & Capt. in 1811, when Piguet broke off to join Meylan
in a new partnership, Henry-Daniel Capt continued to work on his
own until, in 1830, he went into partnership with Aubert and son,
Place Bel-Air. Their signature was Aubert & Capt. They were among
the first Genevan makers to produce watches with chronograph.
in 1844 the workshop was at 108, rue neuve in Geneva. it was then
managed by Capt?s son, Henry Capt Jr. After a short time it moved
to 85, rue de la Fusterie, and in 1851, to 177, rue du Rhône. in 1880,
the firm was bought by Gallopin and its name became H. Capt
Horloger, Maison Gallopin successeurs, a trademark registered on
november 1, 1880, under the no. 44. This signature was only used
for watches retailed in their own store, the watches supplied to
other retailers being merely signed Henry Capt. Henri Capt, along
with isaac Piguet and Philippe Meylan, was the foremost maker of
small musical automata in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Most of his work is not signed, although he sometimes scratched
his name on his movements