100 Years of Wristwatches

Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Nov 19, 2000

LOT 53

Mido No 307215, 1920's, owned by Jean Bugatti.Very fine and rare 18K yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch in shape of a Bugatti radiator grill.

CHF 40,000 - 45,000

USD 24,000 - 27,000

C. two-body, shaped, solid, polished, hinged back, wire lugs top winder, at 12 o'clock, gold medallion. D. graywith the grill design with painted Arabic numerals. 'Dauphine' yellow gold hands. M. 7''' rhodium plated (later),17 jewels, lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock-absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring.Dim. 24 x 35 mm.

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Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3


Movement: 3 - 29*
Dial: 3 - 5 - 04


Jean Bugatti (1909-1939)Was born at the same time as his father Ettore decided to leave the Deutz company where he was employed, to set uphis own workshop in Molsheim. By then, Ettore Bugatti had succeeded, entirely by his own unaided efforts, in creating,in the cellar of his house in Cologne, his first 'thorough-bred' in the realm of automobiles.Jean Bugatti was therefore brought up in Molsheim amidst the roaring and rumbling of machines, the clinking of toolsand the building of the 'Château' which was to house the famous firm. After the first World War, the Bugatti firmbecame known for its splendid achievements and the 10 year old Jean was growing up around the factory, learning allthe crafts involved in the creation of such masterpieces as the models 35 and 37. During his formative years, JeanBugatti took part in every stage of construction, from the drawing board to the workshop and from the workshop totesting, participating fully in the company, as a close and loyal collaborator of his father. As of 1930 he designed thebodywork for the 'Royale' and in 1932 he personally drove the famous 'Autorail'. He then conceived and realized thelegendary 57, 45 and 64 types. His preference for more tapered, streamlined models, as opposed to his father's designs,became apparent with the 'Atalante' and the 'Atlantic' which he produced after 1934. He also created the 'Tank'models that won the 1937 and 1939 '24 Hours of Le Mans'. When Ettore Bugatti moved to Paris, Jean was left incharge of the Molsheim factory, although long telephone conversations kept him in close contact with his father. Theirviews often differed in as much as Jean wanted to modernize the company while his father tended to hold on to thoseconceptions which had brought glory to his firm.In the evening of August 11, 1939, Jean Bugatti decided to have one more test-run with a 'Tank' he had prepared forthe Baule Grand Prix. He was speeding at 200 km./h when a cyclist crossed the road despite the barricades especiallyset-up and, in trying to avoid him, Jean crashed against a tree. He was 30 years old.