Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces.

Geneva, Nov 12, 2017

LOT 218

THE MAGNIFICENT CHINESE PEONY FLOWER Swiss, Geneva. Magnificent and exceptionally rare, very large,18K gold, painted and champlevé enamel, pearl-set, "quarters striking. Movement in blued and polished steel with matte gilt plate, standing barrel, cylinder escapement.

CHF 70,000 - 90,000

HKD 560,000 - 720,000 / USD 70,000 - 90,000

Sold: CHF 179,000

Grading System
Grade: CHECK
Case: 3-32


Slightly restored

Movement: 3-6


Slightly oxidized

Dial: 3-04-01



HANDS Original

Brand Unsigned

Year 1820

Numbers Case N. 1651

Caliber 22'''

Dimensions 70 mm.

Signature Dial, case and movement.

Accessories key with pearl set


The incredible realism and DEPTH of the painted on enamel flower show that it is certainly by one of the best Genevan enamel painters, evidently the same one that decorated the case of an almost identical watch sold as part of the Albert Odmark Collection, Christie's London, March 11, 2005 and another sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, May 15th, 2005, lot 204. A watch decorated with a peony flower and sold by Antiquorum, Geneva on 18th April 1998, Lot 51, also belongs to this series. Further such watches were sold by Antiquorum on November 13-14, 2004, lot 48, April 21, 1996, lot 267 (almost identical to the one sold in 2004) and Another example in the form of a pink rose sold at Sotheby's, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, December 2, 1999, Lot 26. The enamel flower extends to the very edges of the case with the effect of allowing the full beauty of the flower to be appreciated as a work of art. The artist was clearly an experienced painter of botanical specimens because the watch is decorated as a true representation of the flower it depicts - a spectacular example of the art of enameling The peony flowers have great symbolic importance for the Chinese. By their form, aspect, and fragrance, they are considered to be highly spiritual, reflecting the profound nature of the Chinese people. Poems and proverbs show the importance of flowers in the culture: "There is no flower without beauty in the world"; "A flower gives us a glimpse of paradise". Flower motifs are often used in art objects and objects of value. Certain flowers have a particular importance. The lotus symbolizes purity, the chrysanthemum perseverance, the plum blossom integrity, etc. The importance of flowers is so great that a country's destiny can become linked to that of a flower. The peony, with its generous forms, brilliant colors, and heady fragrance, thus became the most important flower for the Chinese. It is considered to symbolize wealth, nobility, power, and happiness. Known as the "queen of flowers" or the flower of riches and honor, the peony symbolizes wealth and distinction. Paintings of peonies are often hung in Chinese homes for good luck and in offices to bring success in business. The complimentary of opposites is another traditional Chinese theme associated with the peony, which is thought to be a positive influence for woman and man living harmoniously together. The Chinese peony is also an emblem of love and a symbol of feminine beauty. In the ancient Chinese "Book of Odes", amorous youths and maidens give each other peonies. White peonies traditionally symbolize young girls who are distinguished mainly by their wit but also by their beauty. Red has long been regarded as a life-giving color, so red peonies are admired and highly valued. The peony is one of the flowers of the four seasons and corresponds to late spring and early summer. Subtle lines are often employed in Chinese paintings of peonies in order to depict the life force of the plants. The deep and rich symbolism attached to the flower for the Chinese would have made it an ideal subject for expensive watches and those destined for exalted patrons, even for the Emperor himself. The flower's symbolism would have been immediately recognized and appreciated by China's elite, who would have seen in it a flattering reference to their own wealth and power.