Geneva, May 15, 2023

LOT 289

Venus and Adonis

CHF 10,000 - 20,000

EUR 10,200 - 20,400 / USD 11,300 - 22,600 / HKD 89,000 - 178,000

Sold: CHF 20,000

Very fine and rare 18K. gold and enamel single-hand lady's pendant watch, enamel possibly by Pierre Huaud I.
'bassine' case with curved-in edges, the principal scene on the back cover depicting Venus trying to dissuade Adonis from hunting because she feared for his life, with Cupid holding on to a dog, framed by a stylised black and white leaf border, the band with four landscape vignettes, the inside enamel painted en grisaille with a river view, ruins in the foreground and a house on the far bank, chased and engraved split gold bezel, small pendant, loose ring.

Grading System
Case: 4-13


Slightly damaged

Movement: 3-6-8*


Slightly oxidized

Slightly scratched

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-32-01


Slightly restored

HANDS Original

Brand Unsigned, France

Year Circa 1660

Material 18K Gold

Diameter 33 mm.

Caliber 12''', hinged, gilt brass full plate, turned baluster pillars, fusee and gut line for the going train, verge escapement, two-arm steel circular foliot, elongated cock pierced and engraved and secured by a screw, ratchet wheel and click set-up covered by a pierced and engraved cock.


Pierre Huaud IFor a biography see Huaud frères, page 34.Venus and AdonisAccording to the legend, Adonis was born from an incestuous union between Myrrha and his father Cinyras, King of Paphos in Cyprus (or possibly Belos, King of Egypt, or even Theias, King of Assyria). The gods transformed Myrrha into the myrrh-tree and in due course Adonis was born from the tree when the trunk was split open by a wild boar. Venus (or Aphrodite) was struck by the beauty of the child Adonis and put him in the care of Persephone (or Proserpine), the queen of the underworld. But Persehone too loved the youth and refused to give him back to Venus. Jupiter (or Zeus) had to pass judgment to resolve the question between the two goddesses. There are two versions of this judgment: in the first, Adonis was to spend a third of the year with each goddess while the rest of the time as he preferred and chose to spend that time with Venus; in the other version, the judgment was made by the Muse Calliope, Jupiter not wishing to arbitrate, and each goddess was allowed to have Adonis for hlf of the year. Both versions are indicative of Adonis' function since he was the god of vegetation and nature. The cause of Adonis' birth became also that of his death because he died after being attacked by a wild boar while hunting. Venus was overcome with despair and from the blood of his wounds, created a new flower, the red anemone, a wild flower that each year blooms briefly and then dies.Adonis, imported probably from the Phoenicians, came to be revered as a dying-and-rising god. In midsummer, Athenians held Adonia, a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection.William Ilbery, London (ca. 1760-1839)Active in London from 1780 in Goswell Street, he moved to Duncan Terrace towards the end of the 18th century. Following James Cox in London and Jaquet-Droz in Switzerland, he also specialised in the production of luxury watches for the Chinese Market. His early production was very much in the English style featuring a full plate movement and an English type single wheel duplex escapement. However, for his highest quality watches, he incorporated a Peto cross detent escapement. Later, he used thestandard bridge calibre with free-standing barrel, also called the 'Chinese' calibre. The cases of his watches were sumptuously decorated by the best Genevan enamellers, such as Jean-Francois-Victor Dupont, who usually signed his work, and Jean-Louis Richter, who signed rarely. He seems to have maintained close contacts with the continental trade since a watch signed 'Ilbery Paris' is known and Ilbery Lot Son are recorded in London and Fleurier, as well as in Canton.


Published in the Sandberg book, pages 86-87.
Lot 289 from the Lord Sandberg auction.