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LOT 417  The Ritz-carlton Hotel, Hong-kong, 8th June 2002

Attributable to Piguet et Meylan, Geneva, No. 1447, the box attributed to Jean-Georges Reymond & Cie, circa 1825. Accompanied by a fitted box marked "Charles Frodsham & Co., Watchmakers to the King, 115 New Bond St, London", circa 1910.Very fine and exceptionally rare 18K gold and enamel double automaton box fitted with a center-seconds watch, in original leather fitted box.

C. Rectangular, three-body, all panels with translucent dark blue enamel over engine-turning and engraving forming a foliate pattern, black lattice, edges in light green opaque champlevé enamel with gold floral pattern, hinged top and bottom, top with aperture for the watch dial set around with half-pearls, when opens reveals the automaton, the back covers small compartment. D. White enamel, Roman numerals, outer minute ring with fifteen-minute Arabic markers. Blued steel Breguet hands. Set in te middle of the automaton scene, with a lady playing a harp to the right and a man playing a lute to the left, the whole made of multicolored gold and silver, set on finely painted enamel laid on gold plate, the background showing a room with columns, two tables, musical instruments and a window with a view of a classical palace, apertures for winding the watch, automaton, setting and regulating. M. Rectangular, brass, 78 x 40 mm., bridge caliber, fixed barrel, cylinder escapement with brass escpe wheel, three-arm gold balance flat balance spring, fourth wheel set in the center for central seconds, disc musical movement set on the same plate with 21 tuned teeth engaging pins on both sides of the disc. Automata driven from a wheel-cam set on the protruding arbor of the pinned disc.Movement and the enamel scene numbered, box signed by the retailer.Dim. 82 x 44 x 17 mm.

C. Rectangular, three-body, all panels with translucent dark blue enamel over engine-turning and engraving forming a foliate pattern, black lattice, edges in light green opaque champlevé enamel with gold floral pattern, hinged top and bottom, top with aperture for the watch dial set around with half-pearls, when opens reveals the automaton, the back covers small compartment.
D. White enamel, Roman numerals, outer minute ring with fifteen-minute Arabic markers. Blued steel Breguet hands. Set in te middle of the automaton scene, with a lady playing a harp to the right and a man playing a lute to the left, the whole made of multicolored gold and silver, set on finely painted enamel laid on gold plate, the background showing a room with columns, two tables, musical instruments and a window with a view of a classical palace, apertures for winding the watch, automaton, setting and regulating.
M. Rectangular, brass, 78 x 40 mm., bridge caliber, fixed barrel, cylinder escapement with brass escpe wheel, three-arm gold balance flat balance spring, fourth wheel set in the center for central seconds, disc musical movement set on the same plate with 21 tuned teeth engaging pins on both sides of the disc. Automata driven from a wheel-cam set on the protruding arbor of the pinned disc.Movement and the enamel scene numbered, box signed by the retailer.Dim. 82 x 44 x 17 mm.

HKD 780,000 - 1,000,000

EUR 110,000 - 145,000 / USD 100,000 - 130,000

Sold: HKD 1,120,000


Grading System
Grade: AAA

Excellent

Case: 3 - 51
Movement: 3*

Good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3 - 01

Notes

At the time, very few makers were capable of creating a box like this one. A similar one, but slightly later, was in the King Farouk Collection. It featured the same composition, a lady playing a harp on the right and a gentleman accompanying her on the guitar. The enameled scene was also set in a room which was similarly painted, and the musical instruments had strikingly similar details. No doubt the scene was painted by the same artist as the present one. The movement had a similar constructin although the watch dial was set at the top right corner. The details of the automaton were also quite similar to the present one. The King Farouk box was punched with the mark of Piguet et Meylan, which leaves little doubt as to the maker of the present box. It may be that Piguet et Meylan did not punch the movement with their mark because it had been made on a specific order by a retailer who wanted no other mark or name to appear on the box.In around 1900, the piece was bought by Frodsham, who had a fitted box made for it. Frodsham became watchmaker to the King in 1902 and the address of 115 N. Bond St. was valid until 1914.The box is an early example of the finest work of the famous Piguet et Meylan Co, in collaboration of one of the best goldsmiths of the period - Jean-Georges Reymond. The combination of black latticework under the translucent enamel and engraving on engine turning forming floral or foliate, and sometimes geometrical designs, is very characteristic of his work.An identical box, also not signed, was in the Salomons Collection. In "Le Monde des Automates" (Fig 308), Chapuis and Gélis also attribute it to Piguet et Meylan.For a biography of Piguet et Meylan, see lot 421