Only Online Auction

Hong Kong, Mar 03, 2021

LOT 301

Unsigned, attributable to Marius Lecoultre
Small form-watch in the shape of a “Boule de Genève”; 18K yellow gold, enamel and pearls

HKD 14,100 - 23,500

CHF 1,650 - 2,800 / EUR 1,500 - 2,500 / USD 1,850 - 3,100

Sold: HKD 18,750

18K yellow gold and enamel, open-face, keyless-winding, small form-watch in the shape of a ball, with its matching pearl-set chatelaine.

Blue flinqué enamel (translucent enamel over guilloché engine-turning) bezel and case-back.

Movement 6’’’ ¾, gilded brass, going barrel, cylinder escapement, monometallic balance and blued steel flat hairspring, polished steel index-regulator.

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Grading System
Grade: AA

Very good

Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2 *
Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original

Brand Unsigned, Geneva

Model “Boule de Genève”

Year circa 1900

Movement No. unnumbered

Case No. 82 109

Material 18K yellow gold, enamel and pearls

Diameter 18.3 mm.

Caliber 6’’’ ¾, cylinder escapement

Accessories copy of the invention patent


Movement based on the Swiss invention patent No. 114, delivered on January 12, 1889, to Marius Lecoultre, for a “Mécanisme de remontoir de montre à commande horizontale”.


Boule de Genève

The “Boule de Genève” watches incorporate the bezel winding system patented by Marius Lecoultre (1847-1915) of Geneva (Swiss invention patent No. 114, dated January, 12, 1889). He was the son of Eugène Lecoultre (1819-1882), Genevan watchmaker who invented the perpetual calendar with rétrograde (fly-back) date (circa 1850).

The majority of the “Boule de Genève” is manufactured with an 8’’’ double-plan movement (with cylinder or lateral lever escapement). It can sometimes be found with smaller movements, 7’’’ or 6’’’ and very occasionally with a movement of 5’’’. The realisation of this movement is already in itself a technical feat but to execute it in such a small dimension is a real “tour de force”.

Some of these movements were inserted into brooches or bracelets by the best jewellers of Geneva; they also often subcontractors of the great manufactures.

If the majority of them are unsigned, some have been bought or possibly produced by major Genevan manufactures such as Patek Philippe, who presents one during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Later Cartier, Paris, also produces “Boule de Genève”-type watches.