Exceptional Collectors Timepieces, Ho...

Geneva, May 15, 2005

LOT 208

"Les Escargots de René Lalique" J. Pourrat & Fils, Genève, No. 17123, made circa 1895. The case made by René Lalique especially for the Paris 1900 Exhibition. Exceptional and very important Art Nouveau quarter repeat-ing 18K gold hunting cased keyless pocket watch with pate de verre decoration by René Lalique.

CHF 70,000 - 90,000

EUR 45,000 - 60,000 / USD 60,000 - 75,000

Sold: CHF 149,250

C. Four-body, "bassine", matte, the band inscribed "R. Laliqve1900", the hinged and sprung front cover pierced and veryfinely wrought with three snails extending from their ribbedshells amongst stylized foliage, the shells and leaves made frominset panels of celadon-green pate de verre, the shells also form-inghighly stylized grotesque faces, the snail?s body becoming atongue, the back cover decorated to match the front but withsmooth-shelled pate de verre snails. Hinged gold cuvette over-laidwith deep-red lacquer. D. White enamel with radialRoman numerals, outer minute track and Arabic five-minutenumerals, subsidiary seconds. Pierced gold "Louis" hands.M. 43 mm., 19''', frosted gilt, fully jeweled, straight line leverescapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, blued steelBreguet balance spring, index regulator, repeating with twohammers on two gongs activated by a slide in the band.Case signed René Lalique, 1900, the movement front platestamped with the Pourrat trademark.Diam. 52 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 3 - 44
Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2 - 01


René Lalique The son of ?commissionaire en merchandises? Auguste Jules Lalique and his wife Olympe, René Lalique was born on April 6, 1860, in Aÿ, in France?s Marne region. The family settled in Paris in 1862. His father having died in 1876, René became apprenticed to jeweler Louis Aucoc and attended evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs. From 1878 to 1880, he studied at Sydenham College in London. After returning to Paris, Lalique worked for a year with the jeweler Auguste Petit fils, then went into business on his own, creating pieces for his former teacher Auoc, or for other jewelers such as Destapes, Cartier, Garod, or Jacta. Lalique first publicly showed his designs at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs held at the Louvre in 1884. In 1885, he took over the workshop of Jules Destapes, place Gaillon, where he worked for renowned jewelers such as Frédéric Boucheron, Vever, or Cartier. In 1887 he moved to the rue du Quatre Septembre. Lalique did not consider himself ready to exhibit under his own name at the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition, but instead sent pieces to be shown anonymously by colleagues. As of 1890, Lalique began experimenting with new forms, styles, and materials, including transparent enamel and glass, or the combination of ?noble? and non-traditional materials. In doing so, he scandalized his colleagues, but met with an enthusiastic response on the part of the public. One of his most devoted clients was the actress Sarah Bernhardt. She began ordering her stage jewelry from Lalique. Through Sarah Bernhardt, Lalique met another important client, the oil millionaire Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian. Gulbenkian began collecting Lalique jewelry, reserving the best pieces for himself. Lalique was made Chevalier de la Légion d?Honneur. He took part in the exhibitions of Munich in 1899, Turin in 1902 and 1910, Berlin in 1903, St. Louis in 1904, Lüttich in 1905. In 1903 and 1905, special exhibitions were organised for him in London. It was, however, at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris that Lalique truly triumphed. His work was in great demand, and his creative genius was praised without exception. Vienna art critic Fritz Minkus-Linz commented in 1900 that ?Lalique had become an overnight celebrity in Paris. The Universal Exhibition brought him world-wide fame.? Shortly after his triumph at the Paris Exhibition, Lalique abandoned his work with jewelry to devote himself to glass. Lalique was greatly admired by his contemporaries as an artist, a creator not of ?artistic jewelry? (?le bijou artistique?) but rather of ?art as jewelry? (?l?art pouvant être bijou?). He drew his inspira-tion from nature, taking flowers, fauna, and animals as themes for his fertile imagination. In the words of art critic Minkus-Linz, his creations were ?monuments attesting to the secrets of nature that he alone knows.?