Important Watches, Wristwatches and C...

Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Oct 31, 1998

LOT 328

Leroy, rue Dauphine a Paris, No. 2407, circa 1789. Extremely fine and rare, 18K gold and silver, quarter repeating Peypetuelle self-winding watch.

CHF 50,000 - 60,000

Sold: CHF 77,050

C. Three body with glazed back, silver reeded band and flat pendant, gold bezels, the back one engraved: Les laeures ;assent, le temps vecu reste. D. Silver engineturned, the letters of the signature in place of hour numerals and outer minute ring. Blued steel Breguet hands. The reverse scratched: L. R. 1787. M. Gilt brass full plate with cylindrical pillars, the going barrel wounded by the sector-shaped platinum winding weight engraved by the signature, polished steel banking spring with frictional rollers, cylinder escapement, the plane brass three-arm balance with garnet end-stone sunk on the back plate, flat balance spring with regulator. Repeating on two large bluedsteel gongs by depressing the pendant. Signed on the dial, winding weight and back plate. Diam. 65 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 12


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original


The large size of this watch, its glazed back and above all the engine-turned dial with the letters of the maker's name in place of the hour numerals suggest it was made as an exhibition piece. According to the date of 1787, scratched on the back of the clial, this watch was produced roughly a the same period Breguet was completing his first series of peopetuelles watches which assured his fame among the most important personalities of his time. This fact enlightens the importance of the recently discovered watch which embodies already so many features, today attributed to the genius of Breguet and in particular in the design. The aesthetic of the case, functional but devoid of any superfluous detail, admirable only by its proportions, with the wide pendant which became so fashionable at the turn of the century. Moreover this case was made with a silver body with gold bezel and back, a technique much favourecl by Breguet, first for his silver monlres de souscriplion, more than twenty years later for his highly elegant and sophisticated precision watches cofstriOles su p le j roicipe des garde-temps. At least, by the time this watch was produced, none of the watches made by Breguet were fitted with an engine-turned dial; most of his watches made before 1800 were made with enamel dials. This highly important watch is also repeating on very primitive wide blued steel gongs while, apart from Breguet, reputed to be their inventor, almost all the repeating watches produced by the other makers were dumb repeating or striking on bells. This watch was certainly originally made with a virgule escapement. It was apparently upgraded some one hundred years later with a cylinder escapement and a new balance. At the same period, the watch was also fitted with ruby bearings at the principal pivots. Leroy Jean-Baptiste Sanson, rue Dauphine a Paris. Master in 1753, died in 1789. According to the archives of Paris, Jean-Baptiste Sanson Leroy was the only maker, working on Rue Dauphine. An early and very fine long case regulator in the Time Museum ( Rockford, Illinois, U.S.A.) carries his signature. One might think, that several watches and clocks, only signed Leroy without mention of the address, were, to date, wrongly attributed to Charles Le Roy, whose workshop was in Palais Royal.