Geneva, May 15, 2023

LOT 285


CHF 15,000 - 25,000

EUR 15,300 - 25,500 / USD 16,900 - 28,200 / HKD 134,000 - 222,000

Sold: CHF 16,250

Extremely rare and important gilt brass folding knife fitted with a single-hand watch.
Both sides of the handle similarly engraved with a scrolling pattern, the edges engraved with a geometrical pattern, a watch fitted in the middle of the handle, polished hinged and glazed bezel.
Silver dial with radial Roman champlevé numerals, inner quarter-hour ring, center with a chased flower. Blued steel ''beetle'' hand.

Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 3-6*


Slightly oxidized

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-6-01


Slightly oxidized

HANDS Original

Brand Unsigned, Germany

Year Circa 1690

Material Gilt brass

Caliber Shaped, brass, full plate, fusee and chain, four-wheel train, verge escapement, three-arm plain brass balance, flat balance spring.

Dimensions when folded 105 mm.


Practical instruments mounted with mechanical watches are rare from any period, but notably so from the 17th Century and earlier. The Dresden collection contains a watch mounted in a sword pommel from the 16th Century, and at least one powder flask with a watch survives. The form of the knife now offered for sale and the style of the engraving point to a date of circa 1700.
Miniature watches have always been a challenge for watchmakers, who have vied with one another to produce ever-smaller mechanisms.
It is then necessary to wait until the beginning of the 19th century to find this type of object. It is in Geneva that one encounters a production of small gold knives, richly decorated with enamel and / or pearls, sometimes incorporating a watch and / or a miniature music mechanism with vibrating blades. This production is often attributed to the Piguet & Capt workshop, which specialises in the construction of prestige and fantasy objects, often destined for export markets such as China. These luxurious knives can be fitted with one or two blades. In the latter case, the steel blade is used to pick a fruit, while the gold blade is used to peel it without oxidizing it. About ten of these knives are now listed, some of which are kept in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.