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The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication PATEK PHILIPPE & Co., Geneva

A gold, double dialled and double open-faced, minute repeating clockwatch with Westminster chimes, grande and petite sonnerie, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar accurate to the year 2100, moon-phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky of New York City at 40 degrees 41.0 minutes North latitude Accompanied by the original fitted tulipwood box inlaid with ebony and centered by a mother-of-pearl panel engraved with the arms of Henry Graves, Jr. Also accompanied by the Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin and an Extract from the Archives of Patek Philippe. In the course of Patek Philippe’s 175 years as a master watchmaker, an anniversary which the firm celebrates this yea, many extraordinary watches have been created that have challenged the way we think about timepieces. It is an honour to offer the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication in this important anniversary year of Patek Philippe, Geneva. Amongst the most complicated and significant timepieces ever created, the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication redefined the possibilities of watchmaking and changed horology forever. With 24 complications, it remained the world's most complicated watch until Patek Philippe created the Calibre 89 in 1989 for its 150th anniversary. However, the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication retains the title of the most complicated watch ever made without computer-assisted technology. We are grateful to Eric Tortella for his assistance in researching the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication. LOT 345 PATEK PHILIPPE THE HENRY GRAVES JR. SUPERCOMPLICAITON PATEK PHILIPPE & Co., Geneva, No. 198.385, Case No. 416.769, started in 1925, completed in 1932 and delivered on 19th January 1933 diameter 74mm; thickness of case with glass 36 mm; weight of case 536 grammes (approx. 1 lb. 3oz) A gold, double dialled and double open-faced, minute repeating clockwatch with Westminster chimes, grande and petite sonnerie, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar accurate to the year 2100, moon-phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky of New York City at 40 degrees 41.0 minutes North latitude Accompanied by the original fitted tulipwood box inlaid with ebony and centered by a mother-of-pearl panel engraved with the arms of Henry Graves, Jr. Also accompanied by the Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin and an Extract from the Archives of Patek Philippe. The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication movement is unique. Patek Philippe ensured that each complication was designed specifically for this watch. Complex watch movements usually consisted of complications that were added to a simpler base calibre, however, the Supercomplication’s calibre was developed specifically for this single watch. The Supercomplication required the expertise of some of the finest watchmakers of the period, each skilled in the execution of particular components. These master makers had to work together to ensure that all complications within the watch were seamlessly combined with one another and presented in a case and with a dial of the finest design. After all, this watch was no mere flight of fancy; it was a special order and had to please its patron. This unique collaboration resulted in a watch that was not only the most complex in the world, but was also a timepiece of exceptional aesthetic beauty. Please see fig. 6 for the list of the Supercomplication's 24 complications. HENRY GRAVES, JR. Henry Graves, Jr. (1868-1953) was more than just a modern man at the beginning of the 20th century; he was an innovator. Born into a prominent banking family in Orange, NJ, his father, Henry Graves, Sr., was a partner in the banking firm of Maxwell & Graves located at 143 Liberty Street, New York City. Henry Graves, Jr. joined his father in the financial industry and moved to New York City. In 1896, Mr. Graves married Florence Isabel Preston of Irvington-on-Hudson, New York and they had four children. As a wealthy society family at the turn of the century, Mr. and Mrs. Graves had the luxury of owning several vacation homes in addition to their residence in New York City.  The family spent their summers at their homes in Irvington and Saranac, New York. In Saranac, the Graves owned Eagle Island, where Mr. Graves reveled in one of his sporting passions: boating. One of his treasured boats was the Eagle, a 50-foot speedboat. During the winter, the family spent time near Charleston, South Carolina where Mr. Graves was a member of the prestigious Yeaman’s Hall, an old plantation-turned-private club. The remainder of the year, the family lived at 420 Park Avenue in New York City, until the family moved to 834 Fifth Avenue in 1931. Mr. Graves would remain at his Fifth Avenue apartment until his death at the age of 86. Mr. Graves had a well-known appreciation for the arts. On 3rd April 1936, a single-owner sale was held at the American Art Association Anderson, Galleries, Inc., a predecessor of Sotheby’s in New York. The sale was titled "Masterpieces of Engraving and Etching: The Collection of Henry Graves, Jr." The introduction of the catalogue states: "The possibilities of collecting are revealed at their finest in the majority of the magnificent prints gathered by Mr. Graves. No other collection so rich in beauty, so carefully chosen, and in such splendid condition has ever been offered at public sale in this country." The highlight of the sale was Albrecht Dürer’s Adam and Eve, which brought an impressive $10,000. This price was truly remarkable at the time, given that the sale occurred in the midst of the Great Depression. In addition to Mr. Graves’ passion for fine art, he is remembered for his superb Patek Philippe collection of timepieces. Mr. Graves was introduced to the firm by his family jeweler, Tiffany & Co., and was impressed by Patek Philippe’s success in various timing contests at the Geneva Observatory. Mr. Graves began acquiring Patek Philippe timepieces in the 1910s, ultimately becoming one of the firm’s most notable patrons. Mr. Graves would either commission watches from the firm or would ask Patek Philippe to personalize timepieces he acquired with his family’s coat-of-ams. The Graves coat-of-arms bears an eagle rising out of a ducal coronet, along with the motto: Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than to Seem). The majority of Mr. Graves’ watches are distinguished by the use of this Coat-of-Arms on the case or, as with the Supercomplication, on the watch’s box. Many of his pocket watches were further personalised: “Made for Henry Graves, Jr. New York.” In line with his own competitive spirit, Mr. Graves commissioned Patek Philippe to make him the most complicated watch – more complicated than James Ward Packard’s Patek Philippe with sky chart no. 198.023, the Leroy No. 1 and the “Marie Antoinette” by Breguet. Mr. Graves became the very proud owner of the Supercomplication on 19th January 1933 for the sum of 60,000 SF ($15,000). Weighing approximately 535g (1 lb. 3 ounces), the watch consists of 920 individual components including 430 screws, 110 wheels, 120 mechanical levers or parts and 70 jewels. The Supercomplication remained in Mr. Graves’ collection of timepieces until his death in 1953. His daughter, Gwendolen, inherited the Supercomplication and much of the collection and later gifted it onto her son, Reginald H. “Pete” Fullerton, Jr., in 1960.  Mr. Fullerton, Henry Graves, Jr.'s grandson, was the last descendant of the Graves family to own the Supercomplication until its sale to Seth G. Atwood, founder of the Time Museum, in 1969. THE CONTEST One of the few, very few, minor regrets that I may have had during the 36 exhilarating years of my association with Patek Philippe, Geneva, is that I was not around during an era which, today, is considered as being  the vintage years for a number of timepieces produced by the Manufactory, namely: between 1900 and 1935. During that era, two men in the U.S.A., vied with one another to order and acquire exceptional watches, either for their time-keeping qualities or their complex mechanisms. Interestingly enough, both chose Patek Philippe as their principal source of supply. Thus started a fascinating ‘contest’ between two gentlemen . . . who were nevertheless rivals in the field of horology. The first, Henry Graves, Jr. of New York, was essentially a sportsman and collector; but fortuitously born into a private banking family. The second was James Ward Packard of Warren, Ohio, the automobile manufacturer. First one, then the other of these two gentlemen would order from Patek Philippe in Geneva, timepieces with multiple horological complications. By 1916, Mr. Packard had edged in front of Mr. Graves in his bid to own the finest and most complex watch in the world. Indeed, in January of that year he took delivery of an impressive pocket-watch made by Patek Philippe and which incorporated 16 horological complications. Again, in April 1927 a further stunning pocket-watch with ten complications, including a celestial-chart, was delivered to Mr. Packard by Patek Philippe. However, neither piece could claim to be the most complicated watch ever made. For Mr. Graves, ever the sportsman and competitor, the challenge was irresistible. Unhesitatingly, he returned to the ‘contest’ with renewed determination. In strictest secrecy he once more approached Patek Philippe in Geneva with a monumental request, namely: to plan and construct “the most complicated watch ever made” The master-watchmakers at Patek Philippe, undaunted, returned to their respective ateliers and drawing-boards to ponder this new, exciting challenge. Obviously, computer assistance in the construction of complex horological mechanisms did not exist in those days. Exhaustive studies in the realms of astronomy, mathematics and precision mechanisms were necessary to achieve what then became the “world’s most complicated timepiece” incorporating 25 horological complications. The Supercomplication retained that title for an impressively long time: 56 years in total. By modern-day standards, the end result was achieved astonishingly quickly. Indeed, ‘only’ seven years were necessary, between 1925-1932, to research, develop and produce the chef-d’oeuvre ordered by Mr. Graves from Patek Philippe. The watch was delivered to Mr. Graves on 19th January 1933. Then, in 1989, to mark Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary, they unveiled the Calibre 89 which incorporates 33 complications. Thus, the “Graves” watch lost its title…but to a worthy successor. For those who may have the privilege of actually handling this famous and extraordinary timepiece will, I am sure, experience an indefinable sensation. I certainly did! Alan Banbery Former Curator of the Patek Philippe Museum Geneva, October 2014 THE SIDEREAL DIAL The sidereal time dial was made between 1929 and 1932 from a gold plate with silvered finish. The three subsidiary dials for sunrise, sunset, and subsidiary sidereal seconds were recessed by circular engraving. The plate was then engraved and enamelled. Above the subsidiary sidereal seconds, the equation of time sector indicates the difference between the minutes of mean time and sidereal time. The sky chart is also made from a gold disc and is overlaid with champlevé blue enamel. The archives of Stern Frères show that Patek Philippe supplied the gold for the dial and paid 110 Francs for its construction. The Stern Frères archives still retain a copy of the original drawings for the dial which were submitted to Henry Graves, Jr. for his approval. The drawings appear in what is known as Stern Frères special design book. Dial details: Gold dial plate with silvered finish, black enamel Arabic dauphine numerals, outer minute track, large aperture revealing the sky chart surrounded with the cardinal points, the sky chart composed of a champlevé blue enamel over gold stars à paillons depicting approximately 450 stars and a magnificent representation of the Milky Way, the whole of the night sky for the exact longitude of Mr. Graves’ Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park on Fifth Avenue, three sunken subsidiary dials for times of sunrise and  sunset in New York, and seconds combined with equation of time scale, ‘pear’ shaped blued steel hands, the dial plate engraved and enamelled and with large personal inscription reading “Made for Henry Graves Jr, New York 1932 by Patek, Philippe & Co. Geneva, Switzerland.” THE MEAN TIME DIAL The mean time dial was made by Stern Frères S.A. between 1929 and 1930 and is white enamel. The perfect aesthetics of the dial mask the extreme complexity of its construction. The dial has to accommodate seven layers of hands - the two split seconds hands, hour hand, minute hand, alarm hand, and double hands within either power reserve subsidiaries - all of which have to seamlessly glide above one another. In order to accommodate the unprecedented number of hands, the subsidiary dials are double sunk, and each are made from two separate enamel sections with their relevant calibrations. This allows extra depth to the dial, keeping the overall height between crystal and dial surface to a minimum and thereby minimizing the overall depth of the watch. Dial details: White enamel dial, black enamel radial Roman numerals chiffres Romaines regardants, style Genève, outer track for minutes and chronograph seconds indication for fifths of a second, double-sunk subsidiary dials for 60-minute and 12-hour registers combined with power reserves for striking and going trains respectively, further double-sunk subsidiary dial for subsidiary seconds and date, apertures for day, month and moon-phases, Breguet hour and minute hands, the subsidiary dials with feuille shaped hands, gold alarm indicator hand, all other hands blued steel. THE MOVEMENT TIER 1 The movement's core tier is double sided. Each side of the ocre accomodates an additional tier, thereby making a total of three tiers. The movement: 25''' damascened, two train, multi-layered plates with 70 jewels, signed and numbered on the movement band. Tier 1 Main plate with lever escapement, three first wheels of 14k gold, bi-metallic compensation balance, with gold regulating screws, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and five positions, unique balance regulator with aperture enabling regulation concealed under bezel, striking mechanism with two barrels, Westminster-type carillon, grande and petite sonnerie, with four hammer's striking four gongs, mean time train, power reserves for movement and strike, both chronograph mechanisms visible to back-hyphen plate of central tier. The chronograph is executed in a classic manner, however this complication utilizes a 12-hour register which is rarely seen on Patek Philippe watches. It is also notable that the chronograph function has a 60-minute register which is considerably more complex to integrate than the more standard 30-minute register. The grande sonnerie includes four hammers that strike four gongs to sound the passing hours and Westminster quarter hours, the petite sonnerie when activated merely strikes the passing Westminster quarter hours. The alarm employs a fifth hammer and a fifth gong to ring the alarm. Tier 2 - Under Mean Time Dial Plate with alarm, spring and lever layout for time and alarm triple-setting system, calendar, and moon-phases. The perpetual calendar is unusually displayed with the day of the week and month of the year both shown in rectangular windows. Tier 3 - Under Sidereal Time Dial Sidereal time train, sky chart mechanism, cams for equation of time, sunrise and sunset. The Sidereal Time train is constructed with three main wheels and makes one full revolution every sidereal day. The Supercomplication provides the complete sidereal time with hours, minutes and seconds indicated. This is the most accurate manner to display Sidereal time but also the most complex. The Sky Chart mechanism comprises the display plate itself with three wheels and one gear, all connected to the sidereal time and adjustable through the crown's hand setting function. THE CASE The case of the Supercomplication was made by Luc Rochat of L’Abbaye in the Vallée de Joux. The case is 73.2mm in diameter, 35mm thick including the crystals and weighs 535g (1 lb, 3 oz). The case by itself weighs an impressive 250g. The double open-faced case is of classic bassine design. Both bezels are impressively thick to accommodate the depth of the dials and their hands. Each bezel has a concealed hinge, which represents the highest quality of such design. Despite the watch’s impressive size, it is exceptionally well proportioned; this is a testament to the careful planning and extraordinary collaboration between the master watchmakers, dial makers, and case maker who, between them, ensured that every cubic millimeter of space was used with the greatest efficiency. Almost five years were required from the design of the case to its final delivery, during which time hundreds of adjustments were made to ensure every function allowed by the slides and pushers was precise and smooth. The case incorporates 13 operational functions. Facing the watch from the mean time side and running around the case in a clockwise direction from the crown these are: 1. winding device, turning to one side for the main barrel and to the other side for the chime 2. pulling the crown, first position for the mean time, second position for the sidereal time setting 3. chronograph main start/stop coaxial device 4. moon-phase adjuster 5. alarm winding sliding device 6. petite/grande sonnerie selection slide 7. minute repeat trigger slide 8. adjuster for months of the year 9. adjuster for days of the week 10.  adjuster for date of the month 11. the strike/silent option, selected via a slide 12. the split device pusher 13. pusher to engage hand-setting when crown is pulled out SUMMARY OF THE MAJOR FUNCTIONS Perpetual Calendar with Moon-Phases The perpetual calendar shows the correct day of the week, date of the month and month of the year regardless of the length of the month. It also automatically adjusts for the leap year. The aperture for moon-phases shows the correct phase and age of the moon. Since the duration of the Solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 48 seconds and the mean year is 365 days, an extra year is added every four years (leap year) and a further adjustment is made with the omission of a leap year every four centuries. According to the Gregorian calendar reforms of 1582, century years that are divisible by 400 without remainder are to be considered leap years. Consequently, the perpetual calendar of the Supercomplication will be accurate until the year 2100, when the calendar will need to be readjusted for the first time. The Westminster Chimes, Repeater and Alarm Grande Sonnerie with Westminster chimes. Selected via a slide on the case band, this function strikes the hours and quarters at every quarter. The five gongs hammer for the carillon are separate from the alarm. Petite Sonnerie selected via the slide on the case band, this function strikes the passing quarter hours. Minute Repeater Selected on demand via the case band, the watch strikes the passing quarter hours and minutes. The Westminster chime, made famous by the Westminster London clock popularly known as ‘Big Ben,’ was first used in St. Mary’s Church, Cambridge in 1793. The chime tune itself was taken from the fifth bar of Handel’s aria from the Messiah, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Split Seconds chronograph The split seconds chronograph can be used to time up to two events at the same time. The chronograph is started, stopped and reset via the pusher at the center of the winding crown. When the chronograph is running, the split pusher which is located in the case band between 10 and 11 o’clock (when looking at the mean time dial) can be pressed to stop one of the central chronograph seconds hands, leaving the other to continue alone. Whilst the chronograph is running, minutes elapsed will be counted on the subsidiary dial to the right and hours to the left on the mean time dial. Sidereal Time and Equation of Time The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication has hours, minutes and seconds of sidereal time, the time of sunrise and sunset (calibrated for New York City) and the equation of time. This sidereal complication requires a transmission ratio of exactly 1.0027379092, which is driven by a 62 tooth wheel on the arbor of the fourth wheel. Sidereal time is based on the amount of time it takes the Earth to make two consecutive transitions of a meridian by a fixed star. By measuring the transits of a fixed star, one is able to measure the actual time it takes for the Earth to turn on its axis. This period of time is known as a sidereal day which is approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds. The equation of time indicator on the Supercomplication watch is calibrated to show the difference between apparent solar time (the time as indicated by a sundial) and mean time (the average of solar time). Since the Earth is in an elliptical orbit, the difference between mean and solar time ranges from plus 14 minutes 59 seconds to minus 16 minutes 15 seconds. Solar time agrees with mean time on or about 15th April, 15th June, 31st August, and 24th December. The Supercomplication watch indicates the equation of time on a sector-shaped scale with calibrations for plus/minus 17 minutes. The equation of time mechanism is driven by an arbor that protrudes through the movement from the calendar mechanism. The spelling ‘sideral’ on the dial of the watch is the French form of the word; the English spelling being ‘sidereal.’ The Star Chart The Supercomplication’s star chart rotates anti-clockwise behind the oval aperture of the dial. The shape of the aperture allows one to see the night sky as seen from New York City, complete with magnitudes of the stars and the Milky Way. PROVENANCE & TIMELINE Provenance Henry Graves, Jr., New York, January 1933 Gwendolen Graves Fullerton, by descent from the above, New York, 1953 Reginald H. “Pete” Fullerton, by gift from the above, New York, 1960 Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, Inventory no. 4443, 1969 Sotheby’s, New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, 2 December 1999, lot 7 Private Collection Exhibited Rockford, Illinois, The Time Museum, 1970-1999 Geneva, The Patek Philippe Museum, 2001-2005 Literature “The Summum of complication,” Journal Suisse d’Horologie, December 1932, pp. 36-37. “Watches: These are the Best Built in the World,” Life Magazine, 23 December 1940, p. 31. “The World’s Most Complicated Watch,” Patek Philippe Newsletter, May 1960, pp. 2-3. Eugene Jaquet and Alfred Chapuis, Technique and History of the Swiss Watch, New York, 1970, pl. 122-123. Cecil Clutton and George Daniels, Watches, London, 1979 (3rd ed.), pl. 377a-e. Rheinhard Meis, Taschenuhren: Von d. Halsuhr zum Tourbillon, Munich, 1979, pl. 848-850. Seth G. Atwood and William Andrews, The Time Museum an Introduction, Rockford, 1983,  p. 30. Martin Huber and Alan Banbery, Patek Philippe, Geneva, 1983 (vol. 1, 1st ed.), pp. 250-257, pls. 232a-h. Martin Huber and Alan Banbery, Patek Philippe, Geneva, 1993, (vol. 1, 2nd ed.), pp. 88-91, pls. 237-239h. David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World, Boston, 1983, pp. 448-449. Patek Philippe S.A., Star Calibre 2000, Geneva, 2000, pp. 20-21. Arthur Lubow, “Complicated Collectors,” Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva, Autumn/Winter 2002, pp. 36-41. Stacy Perman, A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch, New York, 2013. Timeline Please see fig. 9 for the timeline of The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication. Acknowledgements We are grateful to the following individuals for their guidance and assistance with the creation of this catalogue: Patricia Atwood, Alan Banbery, Alex Barter, Sylvie Dricourt, Peter Friess, Stacy Perman, Martin H. Wehrli, Béatrice Widemann, and of course, Patek Philippe.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2014-11-11
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PATEK PHILIPPE & Co., Geneva, Reference 989, Movement No. 844000

A yellow gold, double dialled and double open faced, minute repeating, grande and petite sonnerie clockwatch with Westminster chimes, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, indications for century, leap year cycle, seasons, second time zone, date of Easter, astrological indications, moon phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, alarm, temperature, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky over Geneva, Switzerland at 46° 11 59 minutes north latitudeAccompanied by the original Patek Philippe fitted wood box with a plaque engraved, Calibre 89. Together with a Patek Philippe Portfolio with Extract from the Archives confirming the date of manufacture in 1989, with outer presentation slip case, gold corrector and gold key. IN THE COURSE OF PATEK PHILIPPES DISTINGUISHED HISTORY, THE FIRM HAS CREATED MANY EXTRAORDINARY WATCHES THAT HAVE CHALLENGED THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT TIMEPIECES.  AMONGST THE MANY COMPLICATED AND SIGNIFICANT TIMEPIECES EVER CREATED, THE CALIBRE 89 HAS REDEFINED THE FIELD OF HOROLOGY DUE TO THE INGENUITY OF ITS CREATORS.  IT IS AN HONOUR TO OFFER THE CALIBRE 89, THE MOST COMPLICATED WATCH OF THE 20TH CENTURY, AND PATEK PHILIPPES MOST COMPLICATED MASTERPIECE TO DATE.  Philippe Stern: A Declaration of Independence  Throughout its 178 years as a master watchmaking firm, Patek Philippe has created an abundance of extraordinary watches, challenging the way consumers think about timepieces. Among the most complicated and significant watches ever created, the Calibre 89 not only represents Patek Philippes unrivaled position at the apex of horology, but it also illustrates the firms unwavering belief in the superiority of the mechanical watch. Made at a time when the impact of the quartz crisis was still reverberating through the Swiss watch industry, the Calibre 89 is an affirmation of the unsurpassable genius of the watchmakers art. With 33 complications, the Calibre 89 remains Patek Philippes most complicated watch.  While the Swiss watch industry underwent profound advances and changes, Honorary President, (then Vice President and Managing Director) Philippe Stern, boldly faced the challenges of the modern world with a new manifesto. Under Stern, the company published a brochure titled A Declaration of Independence in 1974. Patek Philippe reaffirmed its integrity as a family-owned business and reassured its retail partners of its commitment to excellence in the face of the mass-produced and easily accessible quartz watch.  Sterns challenge was to push Patek Philippe into the modern world while retaining the venerable culture on which its success and reputation originated. The companys new approach to marketing and innovation redefined Patek Philippe in the final two decades of the twentieth century.  Changes in socioeconomic status and consumer culture paved the way for a new type of consumer with very high spending power but little knowledge of traditional and bespoke brands such as Patek Philippe.  Stern wisely targeted this deficit through an aggressive and cohesive marketing strategy.  Our marketing objective is to make Patek Philippe known as the best watch. We have to look after this new clientele and point out to them that Patek Philippe stands for original watchmaking that is above fashion and trends, and also something that is not an industrial product. (Philippe Stern in Nicholas Foulkes, Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography, 2016, p. 338)  The Calibre 89 was devised during a discussion between Philippe Stern and Patek Philippes Technical Director, Max Studer. Under the new and dynamic marketing model of Stern, the team sought to find an appropriate and momentous way to celebrate their 150th Jubilee anniversary. Conceived ten years ahead of the anniversary, the initial idea of the watch was to reproduce the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication, which had then represented the absolute limit in horological possibility. Instead, Max Studer proposed the creation of an even more complex and complicated timepiece. Stern thus commissioned the making of the worlds most complicated watch to represent Patek Philippes unique and unmatched horological prowess. The Calibre 89 maintained the ateliers traditions and history, while the research and development required to complete it in turn helped keep Patek Philippe at the forefront of watchmaking. This open-faced astronomical and astrological watch with two dials comprises 1,728 components in total. Preliminary calculations and designs began in 1980, followed by five years of research and four years of production with the collaboration of a small group of Patek Philippe experts. The team included engineers Jean-Pierre Musy and François Devaud, watchmaker Paul Buclin and designer Frédérique Zesiger. With a working prototype ready in July 1988, the yellow gold Calibre 89 (movement No. 844000) was completed in April 1989.  The company then manufactured three additional pieces, one each in pink gold, white gold, and platinum, for which a further nine years were required to complete production.  The prototype currently resides in the permanent collection of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Switzerland. Innovations in Technology The discreet and acutely sensitive task of watchmaking had never before been mechanized by computer assisted technology. In fact, master watchmakers operated without the use of reference images or blueprints, relying solely from memory; an astounding feat. The development of the Calibre 89 was assisted firstly by Patek Philippes director, Alan Banbery, who was able to obtain photographic details of the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication for research, development, and inspiration. Secondly, the making of this watch introduced the unprecedented use of computer-aided design (CAD). Introduced and mechanized by automotive and architectural industries, CAD programs enhanced manual drafting with a swift automated process. The technology became integral in producing a higher level of precision components for the enormous movement. CAD-produced calculations guided tool-making mechanisms to create highly specialized parts to be cut without error at smaller scales than ever before. Headed by master draftsman and designer, Frédérique Zesiger, thousands of technical drawings and schematics were transferred to CAD. The program calculated various components such as the precise distance between indentations in the steel notched snail-cam in the repeating mechanism.  The team made several changes to the design of the Calibre 89 throughout the years, including the later addition of the tourbillon escapement and multi-functioning crown. As they made these adjustments, CAD simplified the process by generating new blueprints and components. CAD has advanced the field of horology and allowed makers to continually innovate and expand on masterpieces from the past. Surpassing the Supercomplication The Calibre 89 surpasses the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication with nine additional complications. Tourbillon: It was not until two and a half years into production that the makers decided to include a tourbillon escapement in the Calibre 89.  Alterations for the mechanism of the split-seconds chronograph were made in order to include the tourbillon in the final design. The tourbillon patented by Abraham Louis Breguet in 1801 compensates for the effects of gravity on the balance wheel.  By mounting the balance-wheel and escapement mechanism in a revolving cage, positional errors due to gravity are averaged out.  While the tourbillon regulator traditionally is part of the fourthwheel of the main drive train, due to the complexity of the Calibre 89, the fourth-wheel engages the toothed rim of the tourbillons cage.  The tourbillon also revolves once every two minutes, rather than the usual one revolution per minute. Sun Hand:  The gold hand capped by the sun on the Sidereal dial makes one rotation around the dial annually, and indicates the zodiac, seasons, the solstice and the equinox, located in the outer, middle and innermost ring respectively.  The mechanism for the sun hand also corresponds to the Equation of Time, the hours of sunrise and sunset and the Date of Easter. Date of Easter: All of the possible dates of Easter, which range from March 22nd to April 25th, appear in an arc on the sidereal dial.  Easter is the only Christian lunar holiday, thus it has a different date every year.  The cam in the Calibre 89 can accurately give the date of Easter for 29 years, starting in 1989.  After 2017, the cam needs to be replaced for the next 29 years.  When the watch records change of the year, a blue-steel hand shifts to point to the date of Easter for the indicated year.  A mechanism to indicate the date of Easter had never been done before, and Patek patented the design under patent number 649673 on December 13, 1985. Second Time Zone:  A gold hand on the mean solar time dial indicates the hours of a second time zone.  By pressing the push-piece at 11 oclock, the user can advance this independent hours hand in increments of one hour.  This allows the user to adjust this watch in different time-zones without advancing the minutes hand. Secular Calendar and Leap Year:  The Perpetual Calendar shows the correct day of the week, date of the month and month of the year regardless of the length of the month, it also adjusts for the leap year.  Since the duration of a Solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, an extra day is added every four years (leap year).  According to the Gregorian Calendar reforms of 1582, only century years that are divisible by 400 without remainder are considered leap years.  Unlike the Graves, the Calibre 89 compensates for this, thus it will not count the years 2100, 2200 and 2300 as leap years. The aperture immediately to the right of the year indication displays the leap year cycle from 1-4.. Year Indication: The year indication appears in an aperture right under the winding-crown-position indicator.  A metal disk has the numerals for centuries up to the 27th century. Mechanism to halt chime: Two mainspring barrels in the first tier of the movement power the chime and the alarm.  The chime consists of four gongs, and is regulated by a centrifugal governor.  When the repeater is in use, it can run down the mainspring in the barrel that powers the chime.  If the watch is set to chime in passing, a blocking mechanism stops the Grand Strike or Small Strike before the mainspring of the chimes completely runs down. Winding-Crown position indicator: The Winding Crown position indicator is also unique to the Calibre 89.  Placed towards the top of the mean solar time dial, it indicates the different positions at which the winding crown must be at in order to set specific functions of the watch.  Position R to wind the movement and the chime, Position A to set astronomical calendar and the alarm, Position B to set sidereal time and mean solar time. The Mean Time Dial Cream dial, applied yellow gold Breguet numerals, outer track for minutes with red five minute divisions, double-sunk subsidiary dials for 30-minute and 12-hour registers combined with power reserve indications for going and striking trains respectively, further double-sunk subsidiary dial for constant seconds and temperature combined with moon-phases, retrograde date, apertures for day, month, year, and leap year indication, crown position indicator, yellow gold Breguet hour and minute hands, blued steel Breguet hand for second time zone, blued steel split second hands, blued steel triangular alarm indicator, hands for temperature and power reserve indications, blued steel hands for subsidiary seconds and chronograph minute/hour registers 1. Winding-Crown-Position Indicator 2. Century Decade and Year 3. Leap Year Indication 4. Split Seconds 5. Seconds in Meantime 6. Power Reserve for Movement 7. 30-Minute Register 8. Month 9. Second Time Zone 10. Constant Seconds 11. Moon-Phases 12. Temperature °C 13. Day 14. Power Reserve for Chime 15. Alarm 16. Hours in Meantime 17. 12-Hour Register 18. Date The Sidereal Dial White dial, painted gold Arabic numerals calibrated for 24 hours, inner minute track, subsidiary dials for sunrise, sunset and sidereal seconds combined with the equation of time, outermost ring for seasons, solstice and equinox indications, zodiac, and months, blued steel feuille hands for hours and minutes, blued steel hand for indicating date of Easter, yellow gold sun-tipped hand indicating to outer rings, blued steel hands for sunrise/sunset and subsidiary seconds, gold hand for equation of time, large aperture revealing the celestial chart surrounded with the cardinal points, the celestial disc composed of corundum sapphire crystal marked with 2,800 distinct gilt stars in five sizes according to their orders of magnitude, on the reverse side of the transparent disc with applied fine gold dust representing the Milky Way, the whole night sky for the horizon at the latitude of Geneva, Switzerland, 46 ° 11 59 North 1. Month 2. Signs of the Zodiac 3. Seasons 4. Minutes in Sidereal time 5. Celestial Chart over Geneva, Switzerland 6. Time of Sunset 7. Constant Seconds in Sidereal Time 8. Solstice 9. Sun Hand 10. Equation of Time 11. Time of Sunrise 12. Equinox 13. Hours in Sidereal Time 14. Date of Easter The movement of the Calibre 89 is composed of four separate tiers on three plates. The plates are made of the alloy maillechort, more commonly referred to as German silver. Within the movement are three mainspring barrels, powering the main functions of the watch and calendar, the alarm, and the repeat function respectively. The multi-tiered construction not only allows the watch to convey all the information of its 33 complications to the dial, but also allows the configuration of the dials to retain symmetry and attractive proportions.  The Movement Tier 1 Containing the chime, alarm, power reserve for the movement and repeater, and 12-hour register.  Tier 2 Containing the mean-time, tourbillon, chronograph function and 30-minute register.  Tier 3 Containing the functions of the sidereal dial including the sidereal time, star chart, seasons, solstices and equinoxes, Zodiac calendar, equation of time, sunrise and sunset.  Tier 4 Containing the functions of the perpetual calendar including the month, day and date, moon phases, second time zone, and the one non-horological function, the thermometer. The Case The classic bassine case of the Calibre 89 was made in house by Patek Philippe. It is cut from three pieces of 18 carat yellow gold, and consists of a central case band that supports the plates of the movement, the band fitted with a slide at the crown, engraved CL (Cadran Légal) and CS (Cadran sidéral), slide for strike/ silent engraved S/O, for slide for petite sonnerie and grande sonnerie engraved GS/PS, repeat slide at 6 oclock, one large slide for winding of the alarm, with two bezels on which the crystals are installed to protect the dials. Two corundum sapphire crystals are fitted atop each dial which is scratch resistant against virtually every common material, except diamond. The case boasts a massive diameter of 88.2 mm, 41.07 mm total thickness including the crystals, and, including the movement, weighs a total of 1,100 grams (2 lb, 43 oz). The case itself weighs an impressive 500 grams, twice the weight of the Henry Graves Supercomplication. With such an enormous number of complications co-existing within one finely tuned case, even the simplest of functions and configurations were put to the test and met with challenges. The winding-crown-position indicator is a simple function where a needle points to one of the three positions to which the winding-crown is set to perform certain tasks. However, as the complication was developed and ordered after the entire watch had been designed, fitting this otherwise simple function was nearly impossible without the perfecting eye of Patek Philippes, Jean-Pierre Musy and Paul Buclin.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2017-05-14
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The duc d’orléans breguet sympathiquebreguet, nos.128 and 5009, dated

THE DUC D’ORLÉANS BREGUET SYMPATHIQUE BREGUET, NOS.128 AND 5009, DATED 1835 A UNIQUE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT ORMOLU-MOUNTED RED TORTOISESHELL BOULLE-STYLE, ROYAL SYMPATHIQUE QUARTER STRIKING CLOCK AND HALF-QUARTER REPEATING GOLD WATCH AUTOMATICALLY WOUND, SET AND REGULATED VIA THE CLOCK No other horological invention has been as consistently associated with the palaces and grand houses of the European Royalty and aristocracy as the Breguet Sympathique. The present example, named “the Duc d’Orléans” after its patron, has the most complex Sympathique mechanism of all the known examples. The complexity of the mechanism is only rivalled by the clock’s sumptuous case. The d’Orléans is the only Sympathique known to wind, set to time and regulate its watch via the integrated cradle mounted on the clock’s pediment. Originally commissioned by the Duc d’Orléans for his Parisian home the Pavillon de Marsan, nearly a century later the clock found its way into one of the world’s most important horological museums, the Time Museum of Rockford, Illinois. The clock remained on display at the museum until 1999 when it was sold to a private collector at the ground-breaking Sotheby’s auction “Masterpieces from the Time Museum.” Following its sale at auction, the clock was displayed at the Patek Philippe Museum, from 2001 until 2005. The Duc d’Orléans Sympathique exemplifies Breguet’s genius and demonstrates what can be achieved when the vision of patron, designer, artisan, and horologist seamlessly fuse with one another to create a true work of art. Breguet’s horological genius and the Duc d’Orléans’ remarkable eye resulted in the clock’s creation, expressed through his talented designer, Charles Auguste Questel (1807-1888), bronzier, Guillaume Denière, and ébéntiste, Louis Alexandre Bellangé. The Clock Five-inch dial with enamel chapters and outer silver rings, signed Breguet MDCC-CXXXV, two train square plated movement signed Breguet No. 128, with eight-day Graham-type deadbeat escapement, the escape wheel teeth pierced for oil retention, jeweled pallets and beat adjustment on the crutch, quarter striking on two bells with cadrature mounted on the backplate, a tandem wheel on the striking barrel drives a separate train for winding the watch, the gridiron pendulum with gilt lenticular bob insert with an inlaid silver center, the Sympathique mechanism with three control wires rising above to the watch holder, the richly decorated case veneered overall with red tortoiseshell inlaid with gilt-brass and pewter scrolls, strap work and cornucopia, the watch holder set on the “tiled” cresting above lion masks holding a garland of fruit, the angled corners with studious winged putti finials above a satyr mask and shell frieze, the angled corners with Corinthian-capped pilasters inhabited by musical putti, the slightly out-swept base with decorated moldings and raised on gadrooned feet, the sides and back inlaid with the Duc d’Orléans’ cypher surmounted by a crown, the glazed front door bordered with ormolu roundels depicting the signs of the Zodiac. height 23 in (59.1 cm) The Watch No. 5009, with silvered dial signed Breguet, finely engraved foliate center with sectors for state of wind and regulation, the movement with lever escapement, half-quarter repeating on a single gong, two-armed compensation balance with parachute suspension and spiral steel spring with terminal curve, the gold engine-turned case with concealed winding and setting in the band, with a gilt roundel applied with the Duc’s cypher to occupy the vacant watch aperture during the day, gold Breguet ratchet key for the watch. diameter 2.24 in (57.1 mm) The Breguet Certificate Accompanied by a facsimile of Breguet certificate no. 4182 dated September 13, 1999, and Breguet certificate no. 4383 dated October 24, 2012, recording the sale on July 16th, 1836 to “Son Altesse Royale le Duc d’Orléans le No. 128 ‘Pendule Sympathique à quantieme de mois remontant et remettant la montre à l’heure quelque distance que celle-ci soit de la pendule; blanc commencement d’ouvrage: Winnerl; blanc finissage cadratures mécanise de remontoire, roué de quantieme; Charles Couëte, echappement et ouvrage: D. Lebrun.’ Avec le No. 5009 chronomètre d’or, repetition au demi-quarts, cadran argent avec indicateurs de reserve de marche et d’avance-retard; echappement à ancre, balancier compensateur. Pour le prix de 10,000 Fr.” The Patron Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d’Orléans (1810-1842) Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d’Orléans was born in Palermo in 1810. The eldest son of Louis Philippe and Marie Amélie, Princess of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand-Philippe assumed the title of Duc d’Orléans in 1830 when his father became King of France. In 1837, he married Hélène Louis Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1814-1858) with whom he had two sons, the Comte de Paris and the Duc de Chârtres. The Duc d’Orléans was well-educated, with a distinguished military career and a clear passion for the arts. He regularly spent more than one-tenth of his annual one million franc income on art and cultural patronage. He had broad collecting interests, which ranged from medieval works of art to Chinese porcelain and furniture. Each piece in his collection was of the highest quality. He was passionate about contemporary painting, favoring the Barbizon school in particular. His collection boasted landscapes by Camille Corot and Theodore Rousseau, as well as paintings by Eugène Delacroix. In addition, the Duc commissioned Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to paint the work, Antiochus and Stratonice and his own portrait in 1840. In 1832, the Duc d’Orléans began to redecorate his Parisian apartments at the Pavillon de Marsan surrounding the Louvre. Ferdinand-Philippe’s financial wealth was such that he was able to employ the finest architects and craftsmen. The Duc was a young man of 22 when he appointed his contemporary Charles-Auguste Questel (1807-1888) as architect for his apartments. Questel demonstrated precocious talent, and the Duc was eager to patronize his artistic efforts. Questel went on to design the extraordinary case of the present lot while still in his twenties. Ferdinand-Philippe, the Duc d’Orléans died in a tragic carriage accident in 1842 at the young age of 32 whilst on his way to a military review in the countryside. Historians often consider Ferdinand-Philippe to have been the glue that held the July Monarchy together. His father, Louis-Philippe, was so distraught by the sudden loss that the event may have been a significant factor in the fall of the monarchy in 1848. The Commission In commissioning his Sympathique, the Duc d’Orléans sought to combine the latest horological technologies with a decorative design that would befit the sumptuous aesthetic of his royal apartments in the Pavillon de Marsan. Unsurprisingly, the Duc was no stranger to the House of Breguet. The d’Orléans family had been faithful patrons of Breguet since the horologist’s beginnings in 1775. Ferdinand-Philippe’s grandfather, Louis Philippe II, purchased one of Breguet’s first self-winding watches called the perpetuelle in 1780. Breguet had long been established as the preferred watch and clock maker for the French Royal family, including Marie Antoinette, as well as many other European monarchs and nobility. Therefore, it was fitting for Ferdinand-Philippe to continue his family tradition by commissioning Breguet to make the technologically advanced Sympathique. It was essential that the design of the clock case complement the interior of the newly-decorated apartment at the Pavillon de Marsan. As Anne Dion Tennenbaum, Chief Curator of the Department of Decorative Arts at the Louvre in Paris, notes, Questel was the ideal candidate for the clock case’s design. Questel hired bronzier, Guillaume Denière and ébéniste, Louis-Alexandre Bellangé to complete the execution of the case. According to Anne Dion Tennenbaum, it appears that the clock was later chosen by Dernière to be exhibited at the 1839 Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie in Paris. The Innovation of the Sympathique During the French Revolution, Abraham-Louis Breguet returned from exile to Switzerland where he conceived the ingenious idea of the Sympathique.  The Sympathique was primarily designed to demonstrate Breguet’s craftsmanship and capabilities, and to further enhance his reputation as the most distinguished and innovative horologist of his time. In a letter to his son dated June 26th, 1795, he wrote: “I have great pleasure my friend, in telling you that I have made a very important invention, but about which you must be very discreet, even about the idea. I have invented a means of setting a watch to time, and regulating it, without anyone having to do it… Then every night on going to bed, you put the watch into the clock. In the morning, or one hour later, it will be exactly to time with the clock. It is not even necessary to open the watch.  I expect from this, the greatest promotion of our fame and fortune.” Three types of Sympathiques were manufactured over the following twenty-five years.  The earliest known Sympathique was made in 1812 by Louis Rabi, one of Breguet’s most adept pupils, and featured the rewinding mechanism. However, the majority of the clocks are dated after Breguet’s death in 1823. Due to the exorbitant cost of these masterpieces, many were sold to European Royalty.  The Sympathique Mechanism  In The Art of Breguet (p. 90), Dr. George Daniels writes of the Duc d’Orléans Sympathique: “The technical development of the mechanism of this example is… remarkably advanced… and may be regarded as the complete mechanical solution to Breguet’s self-imposed problem of maintaining a watch without touching it… To have the watch set and wound it is necessary only to put it in the cradle and at three o’clock in the morning [the watch] will be set and… fully wound.”  The complexity of the Sympathique mechanism was such that construction could take up to 20 years to complete. Although the Duc d’Orléans Sympathique is numbered as part of a series that began ten years after Abraham Louis Breguet’s death in 1823, the watch itself belongs to a series that began in 1794. And though the sale of the d’Orléans Sympathique was in 1836, thirteen years after Breguet’s death, it is likely that Breguet was the mastermind behind its conception due to the amount of time it took to complete his most complicated pieces. Indeed, the present lot has all the characteristics of Breguet’s horological philosophy. Dr. Daniels wonderfully sums up the Sympathique thus: “The Sympathique is an ingenious and amusing toy such as only Breguet could conceive. Certainly no one but Breguet could have produced them, for they need the most skillful workmen to make them and the financial burden would have been considerable. They can hardly be described as useful or necessary, but great artists are not always motivated by such considerations. Sometimes fine work is done just for its own sake, or because it contains a challenge undertaken and overcome, or perhaps simply because it is amusing and demonstrates a remarkable talent in full flight of fancy. The Sympathique is a jewel of misplaced ingenuity in a forest of scientific horological endeavors and their very existence is sufficient reason for their manufacture for they never cease to amaze and mystify… The mechanism is thoroughly ingenious and fascinating to watch in action.  It can hardly be justified on practical grounds, for a watch with lever escapement and compensation balance will run accurately and not need regulating and setting each day… Such considerations however, were of little consequence to Breguet who simply wished to demonstrate his extraordinary ability as the supreme mechanic.” Excerpted and reprinted with the kind permission of Daniels London Ltd., from The Art of Breguet, London, 1974, pp. 91. Dr. Daniels was especially mesmerized by the action of the d’Orléans time-setting mechanism, noting on page 91 of his book that “the [watch’s] hand setting mechanism is fascinating to watch and quite startling to the uninitiated for… [at the allotted hour, if necessary] the hands will cross paths as the hour hand turns forward to three and the minute hand turns backwards to twelve.” For a full description, including Dr. Daniels’ technical drawings explaining the function and action of the Sympathique mechanism, see The Art of Breguet, pp. 356-360. Dr. George Daniels, MBE, CBE and the Breguet Sympathique no. 128 The celebrated horologist, master watchmaker, and Breguet scholar, Dr. George Daniels (1925-2011), was responsible for bringing the present lot, Sympathique no. 128, and its companion watch no. 5009, back to life. Seth G. Atwood (1917- 2010), the American collector and founder of the Time Museum in Rockford, Illinois, enlisted Dr. Daniels in 1974 to help him find one of the rare Sympathiques for his museum. Dr. Daniels and Mr. Atwood first met in 1974. Atwood, already a well-known horological collector, was on a mission to expand the Time Museum’s collection. He and Will Andrewes, the museum’s curator at the time, drew up a list of “must have pieces.” In the Sotheby’s New York auction, the “Fine Watches from the Atwood Collection”, December 11th, 1986 catalogue, Dr. Daniels wrote of Mr. Atwood: “His method was to approach every known and established horologist whatever their specialty and describe the pieces he wanted in order to build a complete picture of the development of the timekeeper… Nothing but the best would do and everything contributory, especially unique and extremely rare pieces, were sought.”  The Time Museum was considered the most important horological collection in the world until it closed in March 1999. Its contents were sold by Sotheby’s between 1999 and 2004. The initial sale on December 2nd, 1999 included the Sympathique no. 128. Locating a Breguet Sympathique was not an easy feat, given that all known examples were already held by institutions. Dr. Daniels wrote in his autobiography All in Good Time (2006): "I had located the piece in Paris through a French Antique dealer in 1974. The whole self -winding mechanism was missing, probably because, as so often happens with complex mechanisms, a repairer couldn’t reassemble it properly. But only a half dozen or so Sympathiques were ever made, so Atwood was pleased to be able to purchase it. My task was to replace the whole of the mechanism while filling all vacant holes and without making any new ones. At that time, I was filled with a passionate love for Breguet’s work and was at the peak of my understanding of his philosophy. The work presented no difficulty and was tremendously enjoyable." The restoration performed on the Sympathique is historic given that Dr. Daniels, considered the ‘modern day Breguet’ by virtue of his horological genius, had carried out the work. It is also significant that Dr. Daniels carried out the work for horological patron, Seth Atwood, who was instrumental in the early development of Dr. Daniels’ crowning achievement, the invention of the Co-Axial Escapement. Dr. Daniels published The Art of Breguet in 1975. The monograph on Breguet’s work was the result of a cumulative 15 years of study, thousands of miles traveled with camera and tripod, numerous collectors met, and hundreds of Breguet watches examined and photographed. In the preface, Dr. Daniels describes the role that restoring Breguet watches and clocks played in his own development as a horologist. He writes, “I began to specialize in the restoration of Breguet’s work with a view of making a detailed study.” Indeed, Dr. Daniels’ mastery of the most complicated technical elements is made evident in his thorough and academic description and illustrations of the d’Orléans Sympathique. Dr. Daniels’ interest in Breguet began in earnest following his restoration of a complicated Breguet pocket watch for his mentor and friend, Cecil Clutton, with whom he co-authored his first book in 1965 titled, Watches. In 1964, Daniels accompanied Clutton to Paris to research the newly restored watch in the Breguet record books. Dr. Daniels was then introduced to George Brown, then the owner of the Breguet firm. Mr. Brown and Dr. Daniels forged a lasting friendship, which provided Dr. Daniels with unparalleled access to the extensive Breguet archives. Dr. Daniels wrote in his book that “this information was important to [his] personal Breguet records in that it helped to give perspective to Breguet’s system of manufacture.” In 1967, Mr. Brown conferred upon Dr. Daniels the title of Agent de Breguet à Paris for London, a significant posting that had been vacant in London since 1920. Amongst Dr. Daniels’ earliest works were two replicas of Breguet’s Three Wheel Skeleton clock. Brown, excited by the quality of Dr. Daniel’s work, insisted that the two pieces be entered into the record books of Breguet, assigned a Breguet number and given Breguet certificates. Dr. Daniels retained one of the two Three Wheel Skeleton clocks until his passing in 2011. The clock was eventually sold in the Sotheby’s London sale of the “George Daniels Horological Collection”, November 6th, 2012, lot 3. Known Sympathiques Approximately 12 Sympathiques are known at this time. Of the existing Sympathique clocks, three were made for the Spanish Crown; four were made for the Russian Crown; one was commissioned by Napoleon as a state gift for the Turkish Sultan, Mahmut II; and one was made for the British King George IV at the time of his Regency. Of the entire group, eight are retained by national museums. Only four have been offered at public auction, one of which is now in the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich. The others, including the present lot, were purchased by private collectors. Of the known clocks, few have remained in their original state and some no longer possess their original watches. In researching his 1982 article in Alte Uhren, Helmut Mann accounted for ten clocks, and published their dates of manufacture and buyers. (Mann, H. “Breguet Pendule Sympathique”, Alte Uhren, July 3rd, 1982, pp. 177-184). Following the publication of this article, an additional two Sympathique clocks were discovered. The first was clock no. 257, made for Francis Barring, currently in a private collection. The second was clock no. 421, made for Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain, for 6,000 Francs and constructed between 1795 and 1808. However, it is not confirmed that clock no. 421 was sold with a watch, despite the fact that one was recorded in Breguet’s books. It was sold in 1994 and is now in the collection of the Beyer Museum, Zurich. The final Sympathique clock, No. 222, was made for Grand Duke Constantine Nicholaievich (missing its original watch), was sold at Sotheby’s, Geneva, November 18, 1997, lot 257.

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-12-04
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Patek, Philippe, Genève. The white gold "Calibre 89", the most complicated watch in the world with a total of 33 complications

Patek, Philippe, Genève. The white gold "Calibre 89", the most complicated watch in the world with a total of 33 complications. A spectacular and unique, keyless three-barrel, double dial, astronomical and astrological 18K white gold watch with sidereal time, second time-zone, time of sun-rise and sun-set, equation of time, perpetual calendar, century leap year correction, century, decade and year indication, four year cycle indication, season, equinox, solstice and zodiac indication, star chart, phases and age of the moon, date of Easter indication, split-seconds chronograph, hour and minute recorders, Westminster chime on four gongs, “Grande and Petite sonnerie”, alarm, up/down indicators for the going and striking train, three way setting indicator, winding crown position indicator, thermometer and Tourbillon regulator. Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives and a fitted hardwood box. C. four-body, "bassine", polished. D. Front: cream with applied white gold Breguet numerals,retrograde date sector, hour and minute recording dials combined with the power reserve sectors for the going and striking trains, moon phase, year, month, day and four uear cycle apertures, second time-zone, thermometer, winding-crown position indicator, alarm indicator, outer 1/5th seconds scale with five minute/seconds red Arabic markers and subsidiary constant seconds. Blued steel and white gold hands. Back: Silvered with hours of sidereal time, date of Easter sector, sun-rise and sun-set dials, subsidiary sidereal seconds, equaeion of time sector, sun hand and aperture for the star chart. Blued steel and white gold hands. M. Cal. 89, three-barrels on four levels, maillechort, 600grams, "fausses côtes" decoration, 126 jewels, 1728 parts straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance, blued-steel Breguet balance spring, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and five positions, tourbillion regulator.,Dial side main plate: mechanisms for the chime, alarm, 12-hour recorder and the power reserve indicators, the. Reverse main plate, mechanisms for mean time, the chronograph, the 30-minute recorder and the tourbillon regulator. Plate 2: mechanisms for sidereal time, the season, solstices, equinoxes and solstice, the times of sunrise and set, the equation of time, the date of easter and the star chart. Plate 3: the mechanisms for the secular perpetual calendar, the second time-zone, the phases and age of the moon and the thermometer. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 88.2mm, 41.07mm thick (with the crystals), total weight 1100 grams.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2004-04-24
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Assembled by a dedicated Swatch collector over the years, this is

All the watches are in unworn pristine condition, please note that the functionality and time keeping accuracy of the watches have not been tested. This collection represents the dedication and passion of the owner Paul Dunkel spreading across 25 years. He acquired the watches via various means including exchange forums, auctions and retail outlets globally. The acrylic presentation stands that accompany the watches are the efforts of a professional Swatch expert shop to better preserve the watches and illustrate the spirit of Swatch. To our specialist's opinion, some of the watches, particularly the prototypes of the collection, are likely configured versions of the factory version, which are presumably experimental ventures at the time.We would like to offer this Swatch collection as not merely a watch or art collection, but a holistic experience that captures the essence of the Swatch brand. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE." **Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2015-04-07
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The Yellow Gold Calibre 89 Patek Philippe - Genève A spectacular and unique, keyless three-barrel, double dial, astronomical and astrological 18K yell

The Yellow Gold Calibre 89 Patek Philippe - Genève A spectacular and unique, keyless three-barrel, double dial, astronomical and astrological 18K yellow gold watch with sidereal time, second time zone, time of sunrise and sunset, equation of time, perpetual calendar, century leap year correction, century, decade and year indication, four year cycle indication, season, equinox, solstice and Zodiac indication, star chart, phases and age of the moon, date of Easter indication, split-seconds chronograph, hour and minute recorders, Westminster chime on four gongs, “Grande and Petite Sonnerie”, alarm, up/down indicators for the going and striking train, three way setting indicator, winding crown position indicator, thermometer and Tourbillon regulator. Accompanied by the Extract from the Archives and a fitted hardwood box. C. Four-body, "bassine", polished. D. Front: cream with applied yellow gold Breguet numerals, retrograde date sector, hour and minute recording dials combined with the power reserve sectors for the going and striking trains, moon phase, year, month, day and four-year cycle apertures, second time zone, thermometer, winding crown position indicator, alarm indicator, outer 1/5th seconds scale with five minute/seconds red Arabic markers and subsidiary constant seconds. Blued steel and yellow gold hands. Back: Silvered with hours of sidereal time, date of Easter sector, sun-rise and sun-set dials, subsidiary sidereal seconds, equation of time sector, sun hand and aperture for the star chart. Blued steel and yellow gold hands. M. Cal. 89, three barrels on four levels, maillechort, 600 grams, fausses cotes decoration, 126 jewels, 1728 parts, straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance, blued-steel Breguet balance spring, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and five positions, tourbillion regulator. Dial side main plate: mechanisms for the chime, alarm, 12-hour recorder and the power reserve indicators for the chime and movement. Reverse main plate, mechanisms for mean time, the chronograph, the 30-minute recorder and the tourbillon regulator. Plate 2: Mechanisms for sidereal time, the season, solstices, equinoxes and solstice, the times of sunrise and sunset, the equation of time, the date of Easter and the star chart. Plate 3: The mechanisms for the secular perpetual calendar, the second time zone, the phases and age of the moon and the thermometer. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 88.2 mm, 41.07 mm thick (with the crystals), total weight 1100 grams.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2009-11-14
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Breguet & Fils, Paris, No. 2667 "Montre plate à deux mouvements, sur le principe des chronomètres". An extremely rare and exceptionally fine and elega

Breguet & Fils, Paris, No. 2667 "Montre plate à deux mouvements, sur le principe des chronomètres". An extremely rare and exceptionally fine and elegant 18K gold precision watch with two movements Signed Breguet et Fils, No. 2667, sold in August 1814 to Mr Garcias of London for the sum of 5,000 francs 26'''gilded brass movement with two complete mechanisms contained within the area of a single plate, both with going barrels, fully jewelled, straight line calibrated lever escapements with divided lift and straight pallets, banking against the escape wheels arbour, draw, bimetallic steel/platinum compensation balances, gold and platinum screws, with pare-chute suspension on both pivots, blued steel Breguet free-sprung balance springs, glazed cuvette, engine-turned silver dial, two small subsidiary dials for the mean time, to the left subsidiary dial with Arabic suspended numerals, outer minute track and yellow gold Breguet hands, with inside at noon a subsidiary dial for the seconds, with yellow gold equilibrated hand, symmetrically to the right another subsidiary dial with radial Roman numerals, outer minute track and blued steel Breguet hands, with equilibrated central second blued steel hand, the circular four body "forme quatre baguettes" case, chiselled band; ball-shaped pendant and round bow, signed on the dial and numbered 2667 on the case, case no. 1887 by Jean-Louis Joly 63.7 mm. diam.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2012-05-14
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The Uncovered Amphora Attributable to Piguet & Capt, the enamel by the workshop of J-L. Richter, Geneva, circa 1805, made for the Chinese market

The Uncovered Amphora Attributable to Piguet & Capt, the enamel by the workshop of J-L. Richter, Geneva, circa 1805, made for the Chinese market. Magnificent 18K gold and enamel, pearl-set musical form watch with automaton scene, designed as an amphora, the second of a unique pair. Accompanied by period fitted box. C. The painted enamel panel below the watch covers a musical automaton scene. The oval watch has a central visible stone-set oscillating balance. The panel shows a mother with her child who is holding grapes, in the manner of Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842). It is hinged so that when a catch is released it rises forwards. A small push on one side of the amphora sets the music and automaton going. A little boy to the left raises and lowers a stick, trying to encourage a dog to jump over it. To the right, also in varicolored gold, is a young lady playing a guitar. The painted background, through which the mechanism is wound, is of a classical urn upon a pedestal within a wooded landscape. Seven rows of graduated pearls run to the base which is decorated in polychrome champlevé enamel. The decoration is repeated on the reverse of the amphora, and the sides have foliate engraving, pearls and polychrome champlevé enamel, some of which is translucent. Graduated pearls decorate the back as well as the front of the handles. An oval painted enamel of a pair of nesting doves within a garland of flowers covers the watch movement. This opens onto the cuvette through which the mechanism is wound and set. The panel in the center below has a pastoral scene of a herdsman driving his cattle to drink beside a bridge, with a village and castle beyond. Later stopper. D. Oval, blue enamel plate with an aperture for viewing the four-arm polished steel diamond-set balance, beneath, the white enamel dial with Breguet numerals, above, subsidiary seconds dial. Blued-steel "spade" hands. M. 14.3 x 27 mm., oval, full plate brass, fixed barrel, cylinder escapement, steel escapement wheel, silver four-arm balance. Music and automaton driven by a five-wheel train, the last pinion with a small two-wing fly as a regulator. Pinned barrel with a stack of six tuned teeth. The automaton is activated by two cams mounted on the extension of an additional wheel driven by the musical train. Dim. 102 x 58 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2002-04-13
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“King Fouad” Vacheron & Constantin, Genève, No. 402833, case No. 251058. Started in 1914, presented to King Fouad I of Egypt, by the Swiss expatriate

“King Fouad” Vacheron & Constantin, Genève, No. 402833, case No. 251058. Started in 1914, presented to King Fouad I of Egypt, by the Swiss expatriate community in 1929. Exceptionally fine, highly important and unique, large 18K yellow gold and enamel, keyless, astronomical carillon trip minute-repeating, grande and petite sonnerie with silence, two-train clockwatch with split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute register, perpetual calendar and phases and age of the moon. Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. C. Four-body, massive, “bassine à filets”, polished, back with the arms of King Fouad the First in polychromeenamel, hinged gold cuvette inscribed “A Sa Majesté, Fouad 1er, Hommage de la Colonie Suisse d’Egypte, 1929”.D. Matte silver, black champlevé upright Arabic numerals, outer minute track with chronograph track dividedinto fifths with five-minute/seconds Arabic markers, aperture for the day and date at 12, concentric leap yearand month dial at 9, 30-minute recorder at 3, subsidiary seconds with moon phase aperture and lunar age sectorat 6. Blued steel Breguet hands. M. Cal. R.A. 21’’’ 74/12, maillechort, “fausses côtes” decoration, 46 jewels, twotrains, straight line lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance with eight adjustments, improvedVacheron & Constantin micrometer regulator (Patents CH101652, registered 1 November 1923 and CH105967,registered 1 November 1924), tandem winding, split-seconds mechanism set on the back plate, striking on threegongs, repeating on three gongs by three hammers through trip in the band, grande/petite sonnerie andstrike/silent levers on the band, chronograph pusher co-axial to the winding crown, split seconds via a pusher inthe band.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 67 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2005-04-03
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Breguet, No. 217 “montre perpétuelle à répétition à quantième...

Breguet, No. 217 “montre perpétuelle à répétition à quantième de mois et dates et équation, échappement libre à ancre”. An exceptional and historically important, probably unique 18K gold self-winding à toc quarter repeating lever watch with sectoral equation of time, day and month calendar and sectoral power-reserve indication, constructed on the principals of the garde-temps, in a Desoutter gold tooled red morocco fitted box No. 217 Signed Breguet et Fils, sold in Germinal an 8 (1800) to Général Moreau for the sum of 3,600 Francs, resold to Mr. Havas on 31st December 1817 for 4,800 Francs Gilded brass movement with two mainspring barrels, early jewelled lever escapement with steel lever and pallet frame, brass escape wheel, four arm compensation balance supporting two compensating affixes with adjustable weights on screws at the free ends, platinum shield-shaped oscillating weight, blued steel helical balance spring with terminal curves and screw stud, parachute suspension, equation of time cam mounted on the month calendar wheel, à toc quarter repeating with one hammer onto the case, weight lock and advance/retard levers in the band, engine-turned silver dial, Roman numerals on plain chapter ring, outer dot minute divisions, gold Breguet hands, two fan-shaped sectors for 60-hours power reserve and equation of time calibrated from +15 to -15 minutes, large subsidiary seconds concentric to the month ring, aperture for the date with gold arrow pointer, circular polished case with concealed hinge, back secured by two screws in the band, quarter repeating pull-twist push-piece in the pendant, dial signed Breguet et Fils, the reverse punched B 217 T for Tavernier, dial plate edge signed Breguet No. 217, case No. B 217. 55 mm. diam.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2016-05-16
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The henry graves jr. 18k yellow gold tonneau minute repeating wristwatch engrave

• circular manual winding nickel lever movement, bi-metallic compensation balance • gilt tonneau dial, painted black enamel Breguet numerals, subsidiary seconds, blued steel spade hands • the case of tonneau form, the band fitted with slide, back engraved with Graves' Coat-of-Arms • case, dial and movement signed • with an 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe buckle With an Extract from the Archives confirming the date of manufacture of the movement in 1895, encasement in 1927, and subsequent sale on June 16th, 1928. Research has shown that this previously unknown watch is likely to be the earliest minute repeating wristwatch purchased by Henry Graves, Jr. Henry Graves Jr., is known to have owned four minute repeating wristwatches. The present watch is also the only one made for Graves in yellow gold. The three others were cased in platinum. Of those, the most famous and nearly identical to the present lot is No.198212, now in the Patek Philippe Museum. For an illustration of No.198212, see Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Second Edition, p. 315. One platinum example, in a smaller cushion form case, No. 198095 appeared at auction for the first time in 2010 and another platinum cushion repeater, No. 198378 appeared at auction over 20 years ago.  At this early date, very few minute repeating wristwatches were manufactured by Patek Philippe. It is thought that the earliest minute repeater built as a wristwatch was created in 1906, but may have never been cased. From 1925, the sale of minute repeating wristwatches can be traced and were made up until 1942. That said, there are only twelve today known from the earliest production period. It is not until post war times, in the late 1940s into the early 1950s, that Patek Philippe's production of minute repeaters was done in series and models were assigned reference numbers. Of further interest is the fact that this watch was delivered a year following Henry Graves, Jr.'s most famous watch commission for No. 198035, the Supercomplication. Today there are twelve Patek Philippe minute repeating wristwatches known from the early part of the 20th century.  Of this group, only three have tonneau cases: two were made for Graves, and the third is known through a published archival photograph. The illustration is in Armbandurhen, Khalert, H., Mühe, R. and Brunner, G. p. 39. It should be noted that the first digit of the movement number is cut off in the photograph, however it is most likely 198306.

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-06-14
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Patek philippe's first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch, no 124824

MOVEMENT• 12''' rhodium plated, especially flat Extra quality movement, straight line lever escapement, 23 jewels, 8 adjustments, bi-metallic compensation balance, the split second chronograph work likely to be produced by Victorin Piguet, the chronograph function controlled via the button on the band for start, stop and reset to zero, the split second hand function controlled via the winding crown DIAL• white enamel dial with painted black enamel Breguet numerals, subsidiary dials for constant seconds and rare 60 minute register, the outer chapter ring calibrated for 1/5th seconds in black enamel CASE• circular four-piece hinged Officer's style 18k yellow gold case, hinged gold cuvette, screw down bars with slender lugs, with an early 18k buckle MARKS• the dial, cuvette, movement and case signed, the case further stamped with French import marks and further stamped with another mark with PD with hour glass emblem above and ampersand (&) below Accompanied by the Extract from the Archives confirming date of sale on 13 October 1923. Within the pantheon of important vintage Patek Philippe watches, only a handful are of such importance and renown that they have obtained iconic status. The Patek Philippe split-seconds chronograph, no.124.824, belongs within this category and is, without question, one of the most famous and coveted of all Patek Philippe’s vintage wristwatch production. This wristwatch first re-appeared to the public eye in 1999 when it was the cover lot of the The Art of Patek Philippe auction and sold by Antiquorum, November 14th 1999, lot 448. The purchase price broke all previous wristwatch records when this extraordinary split-seconds chronograph sold for nearly CHF 3 million, at the time the equivalent of $1,918,387. Antiquorum’s auction catalogue chronicled that the watch "shed new light on the historic production of the Genevan House.  It appeared five years prior to the official release of the split-seconds chronograph, making Patek Philippe the first manufacturer to have created this model”. This timepiece is not only the world’s earliest known split-seconds chronograph born as a wristwatch by any maker, but furthermore is considered the prototype for the split-seconds chronograph category. A combination that shows it as, not only of great importance within the history of Patek Philippe, but also within the development of this genre as a whole. It should also be noted that this timepiece is one of the earliest complicated wristwatches ever made by Patek Philippe and may be the earliest still remaining in private hands. • Patek Philippe’s, and any maker's, earliest known split-seconds chronograph wristwatch • Smallest and flattest known split-seconds movement • Only split-seconds chronograph wristwatch known with enamel dial • Only known Patek Philippe vintage chronograph wristwatch with 60-minute counter • Inspiration for the contemporary Patek Philippe ref.5959 split-seconds chronograph wristwatch Extremely mechanically complex, the split-seconds chronograph is considered one of the three most challenging complications in the art of watch making and is consequently one of the most celebrated by collectors. Designed to time events commencing simultaneously but concluding at different times, the split-seconds chronograph, as we know it today, first appeared around 1880. The split-seconds mechanism employs two central chronograph seconds hands, most often controlled by two push buttons in the case side; the present watch features the rarer single button activation with split pusher above. One hand, the fly-back, can be stopped to register one event's duration then, in turn, reactivated to resynchronize with the chronograph hand; this will allow, for instance, the timing and registering of an intermediary stage. Thus the length of multiple events can be recorded. This complication proves extremely useful during sporting events with multiple competitors, whether it be a horse race, a car race or the 100 meter dash. One of the most interesting features of this watch is the 60-minute register, which is highly unusual.  Patek Philippe chronograph minute registers are usually only calibrated to 30 minutes – indeed, our research suggests that this is the only vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch chronograph to have such a calibration. This wristwatch features an “Officer” style case with straight, screw-set lugs and rounded, hinged, four-piece case. This was one of the earliest wristwatch case designs to be used by Patek Philippe and is complimented by the use of a white enamel dial. Extraordinarily flat in design, the movement of No. 124.824 is the earliest and smallest split seconds chronograph wristwatch movement by Patek Philippe. Incredibly, the movement was so innovative that, 100 years later, it was pushed back into service as the working model for its contemporary cousin, the Ref. 5959 split seconds chronograph, which Patek Philippe introduced in 2005. It is interesting to compare the Ref. 5959’s calibre 27 525 PS (12 CCR) movement with that of the present wristwatch, for the similarities are visually striking. Indeed, the similarities between the present wristwatch, No. 124.824, and the modern Ref. 5959 are not confined to the movement: the entire dial and case design are faithfully based upon the original No. 124.824 masterpiece. The production of the Ref. 5959, a century after No. 124.824 was begun, demonstrates the extraordinary status that Patek Philippe has accorded the present lot, their original split seconds chronograph wristwatch. Following the production of No. 124.824, further production and development of wrist chronographs did not begin until 1926, when Patek Philippe began using the ébauches (blank movements) of Victorin Piguet. Production of a split-seconds chronograph following the designs of the 13-lignes Louis-Elisée Piguet ébauche began in 1927. The economic crisis of 1929 slowed production and very few complicated wristwatches were made during the 1930s. This is perhaps unsurprising when one considers that the finished split-seconds chronograph was up to 50% more expensive than the simple chronograph. [Huber, M., Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Vol. 2 Second Edition, p. 81]. The enamel dial on this wristwatch is of the highest quality and would have been produced by dial makers Stern Frères. The dial features a signature known as the so-called “block” layout which highlights the letters so that they form a perfect rectangle. This style can be found on other iconic Patek Philippe wristwatches such as the Henry Graves Minute Repeating Tonneau wristwatch, sold by Sotheby’s New York, Lot 8, June 14, 2012. The same signature can also be found on the earliest known repeating wristwatch, see Huber M., Banbery A., Wristwatches, Vol. 2, Second Edition, p. 313, pl. 468a. Enamel dials are much preferred by collectors since, unlike metal dials, they are not susceptible to oxidation or water damage and, when well looked after, can retain their original finish indefinitely. The pure unblemished finish of the enamel dial remains as fresh in its appearance today as it would have appeared on the day of its original sale.

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-06-10
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Geneva, attributable to Frères Rochat, made for the Chinese market, circa 1820. Extremely rare and magnificent pair of gold and enamel pearl- and diam

Geneva, attributable to Frères Rochat, made for the Chinese market, circa 1820. Extremely rare and magnificent pair of gold and enamel pearl- and diamond-set singing bird pistols. C. Made entirely of gold and enamel in the form of a double-barreled flintlock pistol, conjoined hexagonal barrels in translucent dark blue enamel over flinqué with gold scrollwork simulating damascene work, the opening set with diamonds and terminating with hinged panel enameled on the outside with black enamel and inside painted with a bird among flowers, the gold pan sides with rectangular gold plaques with concave corners, one depicting a sleeping lion, the other an antelope with black enamel border in diamond-set frame, the bottom of the pan decorated with a pattern of alternating straps of gold and black enamel, the grips with translucent scarlet enamel over engine-turning with pearl-set rosette in the middle with rose-cut diamond in the center, lower edge set with half pearls, upper edge decorated with wreath of laurel leaves made of graduated half pearls and black enamel, the back of the grip decorated with gold and black enamel fine crossing pattern with scrolling set with graduated half pearls. The top edge set with half pearls, gold matted and engraved hammers, the head of the flint vise engraved with lion’s heads, gold vise nuts terminated with diamonds, agate flints, gold pan covers mirror polished inside and engraved with acanthus leaves on the outside with their springs terminating with diamonds, opening under the right pan cover for sound, three barrel-like ramrod pipes, the ramrod containing the key for the watch. M. Rectangular, two tier, each slightly different, 115 x 29 mm, brass, reversed fusee and chain, six cams set on the extension of the second wheel arbor controlling the sound (whistle), the bird’s movements (turning, flapping wings, opening the beak and moving tail) controlled by two cams set on the same arbor between the plates, unusual mechanism for lifting and retrieving the bird, where both functions have their own mechanisms, each with its own spring, circular bellows. Punched with unidentified mark on chain ring of one of the pistols. Dim. Length 145 mm., width 38 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2002-10-19
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The Royal Presentation Mirror-Image Pair Geneva, Swiss, No. 2007 & 2008, the enamels depicting “Affection & Innocence” attributed to Jean-Abraham Liss

The Royal Presentation Mirror-Image Pair Geneva, Swiss, No. 2007 & 2008, the enamels depicting “Affection & Innocence” attributed to Jean-Abraham Lissignol (1749-1819) after an engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi, the cases No. 9703 & No. 9704 by Freres Oltramare (c. 1810/11 and 1826). Made circa 1815 for presentation in the name of King George III to the Chinese Emperor Jiaqing in 1816. An extraordinarily fine, magnificent and historically important, large, mirror-image pair of gold, painted on enamel and pearl-set, quarter-repeating pocket watches with special three-tone blued-steel decorated mirror-polished steel and gilt movements. Accompanied by the original morocco fitted presentation case, the lining embossed with the arms of King George III and a gold and painted on enamel key. C. Four-body, of unusual form, by Freres Oltramare, master mark “FO”, the full width of the band entirely set with large splitpearls giving a bowed effect, the bezel, pendant and bow entirely set with split pearls, the back cover with an extremely finely painted on enamel scene of “Affection & Innocence”, in mirror image to the second watch, large split pearl-set border. Hinged gold-rimmed glazed cuvette to view the movement. D.White enamel with bold radial Roman numerals, outer minute track, subsidiary seconds. Blued steel lozenge hands. M. 52 mm., 23’’’, unusual three-tone, gilt brass, mirror-polished steel and blued steel, Lepine-type calibre, brass plate and going barrel finely engraved with scrolling foliage, mirror-polished steel bridges and cocks, to the surfaces of which have applied finely pierced and chased blued steel foliate decoration, brass pivot bushes, jeweled cylinder escapement with steel escape wheel, three-arm balance with polished steel rim, flat balance spring, index regulator, repeating with two hammers on two square-section polished steel gongs activated by depressing the pendant. Diam. 62 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2008-11-16
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Breguet, Paris, No. 4111 "Montre plate à équation et à répétition, sur le principe des chronomètres, répétant l'heure, la demie, les quarts et les dem

Breguet, Paris, No. 4111 "Montre plate à équation et à répétition, sur le principe des chronomètres, répétant l'heure, la demie, les quarts et les demi-quarts". An exceptional 18K gold and silver equation of time watch with annual calendar, manual perpetual calendar, mean and true solar time, and half-quarter repeating, constructed on the principals of the garde-temps, in a Morocco fitted box No. 4111 Signed Breguet, Paris, No. 4111, sold on 10 January 1827 to Mr. Peyronnet for the sum of 7,500 Francs 25''' gilded brass movement, with going barrel, more than 21 jewels, straight line calibrated lever escapement with divided lift and straight pallets, banking against the escape wheel arbour, draw, cut bimetallic steel/platinum compensation balance with rims cut in the centre, sunk at the centre for the double roller, gold and platinum screws, with pare-chute suspension on both pivots, blued steel Breguet balance spring, the annual calendar driven from the gold days of the week wheel, making one revolution in five weeks, equation cam set at the centre of the annual wheel, ingenious system of transmitting power from the mean time motion work to the solar time motion work via special double wheel/double rack and pinion mechanism; repeating on a single blued steel gong with one hammer activated by a slide in the band, engine-turned silver dial by Pierre-Benjamin Tavernier, to the left true solar time subsidiary dial with Arabic radial numerals, outer minute track and yellow gold Breguet hands, symmetrically to the right mean time subsidiary dial with radial Roman numerals, outer minute track and yellow gold Breguet hands, subsidiary dial for the seconds at noon with blued steel equilibrated hand, fast/slow setting aperture above 6 o'clock surmounted on the left with days of the week aperture and on the right with leap year indication aperture, outermost annual date track with indication of the month of the year and their length and date of the months giving by a long "serpentine" yellow gold hand making one revolution in one year, circular engine-turned à grains d'orge three body "forme quatre baguettes" yellow gold case, silver engine-turned band; ball-shaped pendant and round bow, case no. 4072 by Tavernier's workshop (later Master mark "M A B"), dial signed 61.2 mm. diam.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2012-05-14
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Patek, Philippe & Cie., Genève, No. 80897, case No. 204270, made espe-cially in 1890 for Jean de Gradowski

Patek, Philippe & Cie., Genève, No. 80897, case No. 204270, made espe-cially in 1890 for Jean de Gradowski.Extremely rare, probably unique, 18K gold Grande Complication keyless astronomical double train Grande et Petite Sonnerie clockwatch with instantaneous perpetual calendar, phases of the moon, Julian and Gregorian calendars, minute repeating and chronograph with central 60-minute recorder, in Patek Philippe leather fitted box, accompanied by the Extract from the Archives. C. Four-body, solid, "bassine et filets", engine-turned back cover with the engraved coat-of-arms of Gradowski, reeded band, gold hinged cuvette, bolt at 4:30 hours for Grande or Petite Sonnerie, another at 9 for striking/silent, small pin at 3 for adjusting the Julian calendar every 131 years, at 10:30 a bolt for blocking the chronograph and at 2:30 a small tripping slide for repeater activation. D. White enamel, radial Roman numerals, outer minute divisions, outermost chronograph scale with fie-seconds/minute Arabic figures, four subsidiary sunk dials for days of the week, months of the four year leap cycle concentric with phases and age of the moon, Gregorian and Julian date and subsidiary seconds. Gold "spade" hands. M. 19''', nickel, "fausses-côtes" decoration, two-train, 38 jewels, straight line calibrated lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, Breguet balance spring, tandem winding, striking and repeating on gongsSigned on dial, case and movement.Diam. 54 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2002-06-08
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An early gold enamel pearl and gem-set singing bird automaton scent

The Case • the case of flattened pear form, one side with white enamel dial below an oscillating diamond-set balance, the other with a recessed richly painted singing bird perched on a leafy branch against a background of translucent pink enamel, bezels and borders of alternating rubies and half pearls, all surrounded by Renaissance-style gold paillon arabesques with birds and grotesques and urns of fruit over a translucent blue ground, the sides chased with similar ornament, partly enameled and set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and sapphires, the top scent compartment with stopper combined with a watch key, enameled on both sides en suite, the stopper base stamped PG below a crown, the base with hinged mirror-lined compartment The Bird and Serinette • the bird [12 mm high] produces its song via a six pipe organ composed of two groups of three pipes following the curves of the case, the song is conveyed via metal tubes with compressed air from the bellows to the pipes and distributed by a pinned cylinder operating six valves; when activated, by a small gold button, the bird realistically sings, opens and closes his beak, swivels his body whilst his tail moves up and down The Watch • gilt brass verge movement with fusee, white enamel dial, Roman numerals, gold hands, the timepiece and balance mounted on a shaped foliate scroll engraved cartouche plate, winding arbor below the dial at 5 o'clock, the dial and balance visible through glazed apertures on the hinged covering panel Accompanied by a fitted leather box. “The playthings of Kings,” is how distinguished horological author Alfred Chapuis described late 18th century singing bird automatons in his 1958 benchmark book Automata. Chapuis writes, “only for the princely clients of   former days could such richly produced objets d’arts be made for the decoration of the boxes was in the same class as the mechanism.“ In writing this passage, Chapuis could have easily been referring to the present singing bird scent bottle. It is clear that Chapuis carefully chose the finest examples for his book. In post-war Switzerland, Chapuis, already a prolific author on the subject of horology, had garnered tremendous respect and had entrée into the finest collections in Europe, such as those belonging to Gustave Loup, Maurice Sandoz and Sir David Salomons. Most unusually for an object of this date, the early history of this scent bottle has been recorded. On February 16th, 1787, Jean-Frederic Leschot (1746-1824) sent from Geneva to James Cox in London two identical scent flacons, each with serinette, singing bird and watch. The bottles had been ordered by James Cox in London and were described and listed in the account ledger as No. 1-2 scent flacons enameled in blue with applied rings and flowers in pearls and rubies with sapphires, watch with the balance set with diamonds, a serinette with bird placed on a tree trunk (in a medallion), which moves its beak and tail. The cost for the two pieces was listed as £235.18 (pounds sterling). The Jaquet-Droz and Leschot account books record a second similarly-designed set of scent bottles sold to James Cox in London for £226.8 (pounds sterling). The second set also described with serinettes, singing birds and watches were sent on April 26th and 27th of the same year; however, unlike the first two bottles, they were recorded as a pair. For an illustration of this pair see: Simon Harcourt-Smith, A catalogue of various clocks, watches, automata, and other miscellaneous objects of European workmanship dating from the XVIIIth and the early XIXth centuries, in the Palace Museum and the Wu Ying Tien, Peiping, 1933, W.Y.T No.653, p.6, pl. II. A fifth scent bottle of slightly different shape and designed with the singing bird in a covered compartment, is in the L.A. Mayer Collection in Jerusalem, formerly the Sir David Salomons Collection. This fifth bottle, of slightly later date, carries the innovation which Leschot writes about to Duval in London in 1792: "Two pairs of mechanism for bottles with a watch, the same as those sent to you recently. I hope to succeed in adding something different, whereby the medallion, which in the previous ones remained open after the bird's song, will close itself." The letter mentioned above is part of a large body of Leschot's correspondence preserved today. Through these letters, much insight into his business and its practices has been gained; the letters cover a range of topics from the difficulties Leschot suffered with certain personalities he encountered, to his fear of trade secrets being shared with the wrong parties. Bernard Pin, author of Watches & Automata, The Maurice Sandoz Collection, writes about the decorative elegance of the present bottle: "we should venture to say that the ingenuity with which the singing bird's mechanism has been integrated is also worthy of praise. For in this piece, the song is obtained by the use of a tiny bird organ." The organ would gradually be replaced by a system of whistle and sliding piston, less visually interesting but more compact. Historians acknowledge that Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, along with Jacob Frisard were the earliest makers to develop singing birds in small formatted objects such as scent bottles, watches, and snuff  boxes see: Alfred Chapuis, Automata, pp. 194-195. The birds were fashioned to imitate the live canary, which had become popular in 18th century European society. The canary, beloved for its melodic sounds, became an obsession to train the canaries to sing. In this process, the serinette was a useful tool. Canaries were introduced by the Spanish (who conquered the Canary Islands in the late 15th century) to Europe. Canaries were so enthusiastically bred that 29 distinct varieties existed by the beginning of the 18th century. The process of education was described by Professor Hervieux de Chanteloup, author of the 18th century book "New Treatise of Canary Birds," and an authority on training Canaries in the 1740s. He stated, “As to the manner of proceeding, at each lesson one must repeat nine or ten times the tunes one wants to teach them; & those tunes must be played without repeating the beginning twice." See: Sharon Bailly and Christian Bailly's, Flights of Fancy, p. 42. For a full discussion on the Canary and its popularity, see Ibid, pp. 32-53. As mentioned earlier, a large body of Leschot’s correspondence is preserved. The scent bottles are referred to in various letters from 1791 to 1793, after the passing of both father and son Jaquet-Droz. Now with the firm under the control of Jean-Frédéric Leschot, Leschot writes to MM. Duval of London in 1792, "These various pieces with mechanical birds embodied many trade secrets." See: Alfred Chapuis, Automata, p. 200. Chapuis quotes from a letter dated 2nd November 1793 from Jean Frédéric Leschot to his associate Henri Maillardet in London, "My friend M. Frisard like myself thoroughly agrees with you that the smallest number of people possible should be told how these things work, apart from relatives who are close by one in the workshop and whom we can trust not to turn their   knowledge to our disadvantage." In another letter, dated February 1793, Leschot informs Louis George in Berlin: "As for the singing bird snuffbox which you have seen, this mechanical piece certainly comes from our workshop. I had the honor to inform you a few years ago that we do this sort of work putting a  mechanical bird into a jeweled object such as a snuff box or scent bottle." For further references to these singing bird flasks by this maker, see Alfred Chapuis and Edouard Gelis, Le Monde Des Automates, pp. 120-121, fig. 397, vol. II, 1928; the same piece illustrated in color, The Art of Time, The Sir David Salomons Collection of Watches and Clocks, LA. Mayer Museum, Jerusalem, pp. 68-69, 2009; Guo Fu Xiang & Guan Xue Ling, ‘Les collections de Jaquet-Droz au Musée de la Cité Interdite’, in the exhibition catalogue, Automates & Merveilles, Musée Internationale d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2012, pp. 46-47; Osvaldo Patrizzi, "Arts of Asia," March-April 1980, "The Watch Market in China," p.71. The Case The case is stamped with the mark PG crowned, probably that of the workshop of Philippe Gervais (1734-1796), bijoutier, son of André, who came from Hanau in Germany, to Geneva and was registered as a resident on 7 September 1761. Two years later he was received as a master under the usual restrictions imposed on foreigners and presented as his masterpiece ‘a most acceptable gold and enamel snuff box set with diamonds.' On 26 February 1764, he married a local woman, Gabrielle Rey, with whom he had three children. Gervais died in Geneva on 19 August 1796. (Archives d’Etat, Geneva, Registres du conseil, RC 262, p. 402; Elections des jurés et réception à la maîtrise, p. 79, no. 676). The mark PG crowned incuse is usually found on objects of vertu combined with watches, such as a diamond-set, two-color gold and enamel chatelaine (Sotheby’s Olympia, 24 October 2002, lot 140) and colored gold snuff boxes set with watches (Sotheby’s Geneva, 15 May 1996; Christie’s Geneva, 15 May 1990, lot 81 and 14 May 1991, lot 1). For another elaborately executed scent bottle by this maker, see Terence Camerer Cuss, The Sandberg Watch Collection, pp. 386-387. Jacob Frisard, an inventive and innovative mechanical genius, is credited with many of the advances which brought Swiss automata and singing bird boxes to their apex at the beginning of the 19th century. Jacob, son of Louis Frisard and his wife, Marie-Madelaine Bourquin, was born in January 1753, in the village of Villeret, near Berne, in the Swiss Jura. Following family tradition, he served his apprenticeship as a clockmaker in La Chaux-de-Fonds. According to Sharon Bailly, [Flights of Fancy, Geneva, 2001] he then worked for clockmakers in Turin for around 12 years from 1772, marrying there Catherine Vastapani in 1778. The couple were to produce at least 14 children and concern for his numerous progeny seems to have influenced many of Frisard's work decisions, leading him to flee Geneva for Bienne in 1792, under threat of the French invasion of Savoy. Earlier, the couple had moved to Carouge, outside the city of Geneva, around 1784. Frisard was making watches at this time as well as working closely on mechanical inventions with Jaquet-Droz and their associate Frédéric Leschot. The Frisard family apparently did not return to Geneva until the turn of the century and it is from the surviving letters Leschot wrote to Frisard during the Bienne years that much of the information we have about Jacob's working life, skills and character has been gleaned. There is no doubt that he was a mécanicien of utmost ability and he has been credited with inventing the mechanism that enabled the lids of singing bird boxes to close smoothly after the bird itself has slipped back into its nest. He himself felt that his talents had been somewhat over-shadowed by the fame of the Jaquet-Droz and Leschot name, endeavoring in later years to promote his own more elaborate creations by travelling in the way that they had done. Indeed, it was on the return from a visit to Constantinople that Frisard died in a small town in Bulgaria in 1810. James Cox was the leading eighteenth-century retailer of jeweled automata and ‘toys’, and as such, his name has become indelibly linked with these objects. Born in London in about 1723, he was apprenticed in 1738 to Humphrey Pugh of Fleet Street, a silver spinner in business as a toyman.  Thus, although Cox was described as a goldsmith when he became free of the London Goldsmiths’ Company in 1745 and years later registered a mark as such, any skills as a craftsman were always secondary to his inventiveness and marketing abilities. His career was tumultuous. After an inauspicious start followed by an early bankruptcy, he began anew on a grander scale, focusing his attention on exporting his increasingly fanciful objects to the Far East, where they were called ‘sing-songs.’ When the inherently risky Chinese market waned, he opened a museum in Spring Gardens to display his wares, famously dispersed by lottery in 1775. Although the lottery was profitable, and despite significant sales to Catherine the Great, Cox declared bankruptcy again in 1778. He continued trading as a jeweler until he retired and moved to Watford in 1795.

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-06-11
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A magnificent yellow gold, silver, multi-colored agate, diamond, ruby

• Swiss B21, quartz movement • mother-of-pearl dial with applied sapphire numerals, diamond-set centerfield, gold and diamond pierced decorated hands, brilliant-cut diamond-set bezel • all housed within a circular yellow gold case, mounted onto a realistically sculptured yellow gold tree with bark-textured finish, the tree itself set within a very substantial piece of natural calcite and fluor, realistically sculptured roots and branches swathed to the base with bark-textured finish, blue, yellow and pink agate flowers blooming in abundance through the green agate foliage, each flower set with diamonds and rubies, bull rushes depicting as black onyx with green agate foliage, ruby-set stamens, amethyst petals with satin-finish green agate foliage, ruby-set stamens, the upper part of the tree with a highly realistic sculptured yellow gold bird's nest, itself containing yellow gold and diamond-set treasures, including a pair of scissors, spectacles, thimble, ruby-set ring and enamel-capped safety pin, all collected by a realistically modeled two color gold Magpie, swooping onto a branch and holding a very large oval-shaped tanzanite from its beak, the upper branches with rose quartz flowers with diamond and ruby-set stamens, with green agate leaves • inner casing, dial and movement signed and stamped PPC and hallmarked, base signed Patek Philippe, Geneva     With a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production in 1992 and sale on January 4th, 1996.  The Extract additionally states that the clock has diamonds weighing 24.95 carats, sapphires weighing 6.02 carats, rubies weighing 13.17 carats and one massive oval tanzanite weighing an incredible 104.75 carats.  Total weight of the clock is 15.1 kg.  With an associated wooden travelling box

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2013-04-07
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Breguet, No. 2807, sold to General Yermoloff on August 26, 1817 for 4,000 Francs

Breguet, No. 2807, sold to General Yermoloff on August 26, 1817 for 4,000 Francs. Extremely rare and exceptionally fine and elegant 18K gold and enamel astronomical equation of time watch with annual calendar, manual perpetual calendar, phases of the moon and mean and true solar time, in a Morocco fitted box. Accompanied by Breguet Certificate of 1857. C. Four-body, "forme quatre baguettes", back centered with engraved with coat-of-arms under pale gray translucent enamel, engine-turned around and on the band and bezel, gold hinged cuvette with winding, regulating and leap-year apertures. D. Silver, by Tavernier, engine-turned, to the left true solar time sub-dial with Breguet numerals, outer minute track and gold Breguet hands, symmetrically to the right mean time sub-dial with Roman numerals, outer minute track and blued steel Breguet hands, phases of the moon aperture above 6 o’clock surmounted with days of the week aperture with its setting aperture to the left, outermost annual date track. M. 53 mm. (23’’’), gilt brass, going barrel, 21 jewels, straight line calibrated lever escapement with divided lift and straight pallets, banking against the escape wheel arbor, draw, cut bimetallic steel/platinum compensation balance with rims cut in the center, sunk at the center for the double roller, gold and platinum screws, blued steel Breguet balance spring, the annual calendar driven from the gold days of the week wheel, making one revolution in five weeks, equation cam set at the center of the annual wheel, ingenious system of transmitting power from the mean time motion work to the solar time motion work via special double wheel/double rack and pinion mechanism. Signed on the dial and cuvette. Diam. 60 mm.

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2002-10-19
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Watches & Clocks

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