The Art of Horology in Geneva

Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Nov 13, 1999


Abraham Cailliatte, Geneva, the case definitively attributed to Pierre I Huaud, le Père, Geneva,circa 1670.Very fine and important 22K gold and enamel pre-balance spring watch.

CHF 100,000 - 120,000

Sold: CHF 113,500

C. Double-body, entirely decorated in enamel, the band using a champlevé technique with engraved gold foliage and rabbit hunting emblems in a deep turquoise ground, the back with a painted enamel scene of Venus and Adonis, after Annibale Carracci, the interior with a landscape in the style of Gabriel Perrelle. Later gold protecting case, engine-turned in a woven pattern. D. Enamelled gold, the centre with an allegory of Summer and white chapter-ring with Roman numerals, half and quarter-hour divsions. Single blued-steel single hand. M. Hinged gilt brass full plate with turned balluster pillars, fusee with gut line, three-wheel train with verge escapement and plain two-arm steel balance without spring. Pierced and florally engraved oval section gilt brass balance cock, applied pierced and engraved silver overlay surrounding the signature, the brackets supporting the worm-and-wheel regulator of similar design, with silver indicator disk.Signed on the back plate.Diam. 36 mm. excluding the later gold protecting case.

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Grading System
Case: 3 - 21
Movement: * 3
Dial: 3 - 11 - 04


Abraham Cailliatte, (1642-1710)Originally a refugee from France, he appears to have specialised in gold and enamel watches. Examples exist with cases of French origin, (Musée du Louvre, Inv. No. OA8332) as well as this watch with case by Pierre Huaud I and an example by Pierre Huaud II (Dr. E. Gschwind Foundation, Basel, illustrated and described in Geneva Watches by Simon Bull & Françoise-Xavière Sturm, Basel 1978, no. 8).Pierre I Huaud, le PèreBorn Châtellerault, circa 1612, died in Geneva in 1680. Son of a French goldsmith who emigrated to Geneva in 1630. Apprenticed to Laurent Legare, made partner in 1634 and married Francoise Mussard in 1634. The founder of the famous dynasty of enamellers, which continued with his three sons and apprentices until circa 1720. He is the first recorded enamel painter working in Geneva.Very few signed examples of the work of Pierre I exist, and the question of attribution has long been confused by mixing the work of Pierre I with that of his eldest son Pierre II. Dr. Hans Boeckh addressed this problem in a monograph on the signed plaque now preserved in the Musée de Genève. Dr. Boeckh draws attention to the fact that Pierre II always signed his workP. Huaud l'aîné or P. Huaud P(rimo) Genitus F.Four pieces signed by Pierre I are recorded:1. An octagonal cover, fragment from an ancient boîte àportrait, (Musée de l'horlogerie et de l'émaillerie in Geneva, inv.No. AD 4740).2. Crucifix watch in the Dr. E. Gschwind Foundation, Basel.3. Watch painted with Meleager and Atalanta, formerly in the Edouard Kann Collection.4. Portrait of a man, dated 1678, formerly in the J. Lumsden Collection.Definitive attribution to Pierre I of unsigned pieces is further complicated by the fact that his eldest son, Pierre II, painted in a style that frequently used elements employed by his father, and by a tendency in the past to attribute all watches enamelled with high relief scroll work and busts of Mars or Minerva to the father, despite the existence of a very similar watch signed Huaud le puisné fecit. Some of the latter are undoubtedly by the father, but certainly not all. However, by comparig elements and techniques used by Pierre I on surviving signed pieces, it is possible to assign with certainty a number of unsigned examples to his hand. Pierre I was notably fond of a particularly brilliant orange colour that appears on his signed watches, and almost invariably on the attributable unsigned work as well. On the plaque previously mentioned it can be seen on the costume of Paris and the sandals of Mercury. More significantly it appears on the Gschwind Foundation crucifix watch inhe small flowers within the centre of the chapter ring (a virtually identical watch unsigned but definitively attributed to Pierre I was sold by Antiquorum Geneva, in October 1995, lot 919). These small flowers are apparently not present on any watch signed by the sons, but very frequently on pieces attributable to the father. Apart from the two crucifix watches mentioned above, the following watches may also be noted.1. Watch by Pierre Duhamel with the entire band of the case back decorated with flowers, the sides with translucent green enamel, the interior with a lady on a turquoise ground, (Musée du Louvre, Inv. OA8433).2. Watch by Jean Rousseau with a small portrait on the back on a turquoise ground, the bezel edge and dial centre with small summer flowers on similar ground (sold by Christie's Geneva, November 1985, lot 145).3. Watch by Jean Dechoudens with engraved gold work flowers and champlevé green translucent enamel, the back with a similar portrait to the above, (Musée du Louvre, Inv. OA8316).4. Flask shaped watch by Auguste Bretonneau with the entire band of the case decorated with flowers, the covers with scenes painted on enamel and an engraved gold foot and neck, (Dr. E. Gschwind Foundation, Basel).A synopsis of the techniques used by Pierre I would include the following:a) small flowers as minor or major decoration, always with orange examples - apparently never used by the sons.b) translucent green or blue enamel over a flinqué ground - apparently never used by the sons.c) champlevé opaque or translucent enamel within an engraved field - apparently never used by the sons.d) Frequent use of a vivid orange pigment - rarely used by the younger sons, but occasionally by Pierre II.e) Occasional use of en plein enamel - used very infrequently by Pierre II.f) Use of turquoise enamel as a ground colour - occassionally used by the sons.From the above, it can be seen that Pierre I was highly versatile in his technique as well as being a supreme painter on enamel. (Indeed Dr. Hans Boeckh has been working on the theory that Pierre I may have been attached to one of the major workshops in Blois during the early part of his career.) Only Pierre II appears to have mastered any of the exotic techniques, and after the death of Pierre I, he produced only painted enamels. The watch now offered for sale incorporates two of the techniquesspecifically associated with Pierre I, in combination with other elements that help to confirm the attribution. Firstly there is the use of champlevé opaque enamel within an engraved field for the decoration of the band. Secondly, the use of the vivid orange colour that can be associated with Pierre I. Equally notable is the fact that the ruined landscape portrayed on the interior of the case is identical to the scene on the interior of the cover of the flask-shaped watch preserved in the Dr. E.Gschwind Foundation, Basel. The exterior of that flask is of course, as previously mentioned, decorated with the small flowers associated specifically with Pierre I. Undoubtedly these landscapes were taken from available prints, but the scene in question would also appear to have been used only by the father. As research enables more positive and accurate identification of the work emanating from the leading family of enamellers in Geneva during the 17th century, it becomes clear that Pierre I Haud was by far the most talented and skilful of the dynasty.