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  • Description

    Today, mid 20th century horology is defined by some of the most iconic and recognizable tool watches produced, however cloisonné enamel dial wristwatches are equally exemplary and demonstrate the skill and artisan workmanship of the period. In the 21st century, these watches have become marvels attracting collectors both for their mechanics as well as their dials, making them works of art. The cloisonné technique has had an illustrious history dating back to the 12th century BC. It is found on jewellery, clothes fittings, weapons and decorative objects, and historically was widespread across the globe. While often used for jewellery, it is not until the 19th century cloisonné enamel work appears as decoration to miniature clocks and pocket watches.

    The golden age of enamel dial wristwatches is the late 1940s and 1950s. Following the end of World War II, societal attitudes were changing, class structure becoming less rigid and together with tool wristwatches, enamel dial timepieces brought innovation to a new world order. These rare watches have a striking and appealing look with their carefully created dials and include motifs like landscapes, mythical creatures, geometric stylized designs and similar to the present example boats on the seas. Each is handmade with the enameller laying down a design in fine gold wire, next adding successive layers of enamel within the wire design, and finally firing it in a kiln. While similar designs look identical close inspection demonstrates the individuality of each piece with subtle colour differences, and design changes. Today, enamellers’ names are well-known and collectors seek examples by artists like Carlo Poluzzi and Marguerite Koch.

    The present IWC wristwatch is fresh to the market and testimony to a family buying a timepiece and wearing only a handful of times. The condition of the watch is almost exactly like it was when it left the factory. The case is crisp clean and unpolished, while the dial displays vibrant colours and no visible hairlines under bright light and magnification. The popular “dragon boat” motif was found on watches by other brands, but this example is sure to be one of the best to come to auction in recent years. The accompanying Gay Frères bracelet is additional evidence the watch has remained unmolested for 70 years with both the bracelet and clasp tight, crisp and clean.

    It is a rare opportunity to come across such a gem and this IWC wristwatch is sure to please all connoisseur, Phillips is delighted to offer such an extraordinary timepiece.

  • Manufacturer: IWC
    Year: 1950
    Reference No: 347
    Movement No: 1'177'076
    Case No: 1'200'208
    Material: 18K yellow gold and cloisonné enamel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 89, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Gold riveted bracelet, max length 170mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Gold Gay Frères clasp stamped 9 and 249
    Dimensions: 35mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by IWC Certificate confirming production of the present watch and its subsequent sale on April 24, 1950.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Today, mid 20th century horology is defined by some of the most iconic and recognizable tool watches produced, however cloisonné enamel dial wristwatches are equally exemplary and demonstrate the skill and artisan workmanship of the period. In the 21st century, these watches have become marvels attracting collectors both for their mechanics as well as their dials, making them works of art. The cloisonné technique has had an illustrious history dating back to the 12th century BC. It is found on jewellery, clothes fittings, weapons and decorative objects, and historically was widespread across the globe. While often used for jewellery, it is not until the 19th century that cloisonné enamel work appears as decoration to miniature clocks and pocket watches.

    The golden age of enamel dial wristwatches is the late 1940s and 1950s. Following the end of World War II, societal attitudes were changing, class structure becoming less rigid and together with tool wristwatches, enamel dial timepieces brought innovation to a new world order. These rare watches have a striking and appealing look with their carefully created dials and include motifs like landscapes, mythical creatures, geometric stylized designs and similar to the present example boats on the seas. Each is handmade with the enameller laying down a design in fine gold wire, next adding successive layers of enamel within the wire design, and finally firing it in a kiln. While similar designs look identical close inspection demonstrates the individuality of each piece with subtle colour differences and design changes. Today, enamellers’ names are well-known and collectors seek examples by artists like Carlo Poluzzi and Marguerite Koch.

    The present IWC wristwatch is fresh to the market and a testimony to a family buying a timepiece and wearing it only a handful of times. The condition of the watch is almost exactly like it was when it left the factory. The case is crisp clean and unpolished, while the dial displays vibrant colours and no visible hairlines under bright light and magnification. The popular “dragon boat” motif was found on watches by other brands, but this example is sure to be one of the best to come to auction in recent years. The accompanying Gay Frères bracelet is additional evidence the watch has remained unmolested for 70 years with both the bracelet and clasp tight, crisp and clean.

    It is a rare opportunity to come across such a gem and this IWC wristwatch is sure to please all connoisseur, Phillips is delighted to offer such an extraordinary timepiece.

  • Maker Bio

    IWC

    Swiss • 1868

    With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world's leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining high precision with masculine design. Vintage wristwatches such as the oversized Portugieser, Aquatimer, Ingenieur and the B-UHR pilots watch are especially desirable for collectors.

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58

IWC

Ref. 347
An exceptionally well preserved yellow gold and cloisonné enamel “Caravelle” dial wristwatch with Gay Frères riveted bracelet

1950
35mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 40,000 
€18,800-37,600
$20,600-41,200

sold for CHF56,250

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020