Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, May 14, 2017

LOT 206

EROTIC WATER WHEEL AUTOMATON Unsigned, Genève. Made circa 1790. Very fine and rare ,multicolored gold pocket watch with automaton and shepherd and concealed erotic automaton scene.

CHF 12,000 - 22,000

HKD 96,000 - 176,000 / USD 12,000 - 22,000


Sold: CHF 32,500

Two-body, style "Directoire", polished with reeded band, glazed front and back. Automaton on the back finely painted with a Swiss landscape, varicolored chased gold decoration, on the right shepherd with automaton sheep and cow. On the left, concealed erotic scene behind the water mill and the automata water wheel. White enamel with radial Arabic numerals, outer minute track. Blue steel hands. 50 mm., frosted gilt, full plate, inverted train, fusee and chain, verge escapement with micrometric potence adjustment, brass three-arm balance mounted between the front plate and the dial, flat blued steel balance spring, regulation lever in the dial plate, the automata train activated by a lever under the dial at 6 o'clock

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Grading System
Grade: AA

Very good

Case: 3-27



Movement: 4*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 4-71-04





DIAM. 59 mm. Henry-Daniel Capt Born in Chenit in 1773, he married Henriette Piguet. He specialized in the production of complicated watches, musical watches and automaton watches. Among the first in Geneva to use the musical mechanism with pinned cylinder and tuned teeth comb, he was famous for his snuffboxes with music and automaton scenes. From Ventôse 16, An X (March 7, 1802), to 1811, he formed a partnership with Daniel Isaac Piguet, who was from the same village as he. Their signature was Piguet & Capt. In 1811, when Piguet broke off to join Meylan in a new partnership, Henry-Daniel Capt continued to work on his own until, in 1830, he went into partnership with Aubert and son, Place Bel-Air. Their signature was Aubert & Capt. They were among the first Genevan makers to produce watches with chronograph. In 1844 the workshop was at 108, rue Neuve in Geneva. It was then managed by Capt's son, Henry Capt Jr. After a short time it moved to 85, rue de la Fusterie, and in 1851, to 177, rue du Rhône. In 1880, the firm was bought by Gallopin and its name became H. Capt Horloger, Maison Gallopin Successeurs, a trademark registered on November 1, 1880, under the No. 44. This signature was only used for watches retailed in their own store, the watches supplied to other retailers being merely signed Henry Capt. Henri Capt, along with Isaac Piguet and Philippe Meylan, was the foremost maker of small musical automata in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of his work is not signed, although he sometimes scratched his name on his movements. To be sold without reserve