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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

À propos de l'objet

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.\n\nC. 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.


Gold and enamel form watches with music and an automaton scene are extremely rare, and it is unheard-of to discover a true pair. This model is recorded neither in "Le Monde des Automates", nor in "La Montre Chinoise". One other watch of this type, designed as an amphora, is known to exist. (Antiquorum, April, 23, 1995, lot No. 501). The companion piece to this one, also measuring 102 x 58 mm., is published in the Sandberg book, pages 402-403, and was sold by Antiquorum, in Geneva, in “The Sandberg Watch Collection” on March 31 and April 1, 2001, lot 47. For a full account of the incredible coincidence that led to the discovery of this piece, see The Antiquorum Vox Magazine 2002, pages 44-47. Piguet & Capt: Isaac Daniel Piguet (1775–1841) and Henry Capt (1775–1841) were partners from 1802 to 1811. They specialized in musical and automaton watches but also made very fine musical pieces with automata. Two small musical movements with five tuned teeth, playing tunes on five notes, were among their first, made in 1802. In 1811 Piguet became associated with Meylan, forming another famous firm, Piguet et Meylan. “Dictionnaire des Horlogers Genevois”, by Osvaldo Patrizzi, Antiquorum Editions, Geneva, 1998. Jean-Louis Richter (1766-1841) He learned his art under David-Etienne-Roux and Philippe-Samuel-Théodore Roux, becoming one of the most renowned and prolific of Geneva enamel painters. His speciality was the painting of landscapes and particularly lake-side scenes and marine-scapes, often representing ships in a harbor or battles with Men-of-War, but, on occasion, also portraits and hunting scenes. He did not often sign his work, but it is clearly recognizable as being in his hand from the style and quality of the painting. He applied his art principally to watch cases and snuff boxes and these were largely destined for the Chinese, Turkish, British and Italian markets. In 1828 he was in partnership with Aimé-Julien Troll (1781-1852) and one can find work signed Richter et Troll. Richter, like other great enamel painters of the time, often found inspiration for his work from paintings or engravings by the artists then in fashion, Van der Myn (1684-1741), Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-1785), John Francis Rigaud (1742-1820), John Hoffner (1748-1810) and Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), or even from parti-cularly famous scenes such as the “Rape of Helen” from the engraving by Guido Reni (1575-1642), now in the Cabinet des Estampes, Paris.



3 very good


2 in perfect condition

HANDS 01 original


2* in perfect condition (overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense)

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*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.

*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.


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