An exceptionally and historically important pink gold automata openface watch with enamel scene of the Battle of Fleurus

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  • Manufacturer: Swiss
    Year: Circa 1800
    Material: Pink gold and enamel
    Dimensions: 59 mm. diameter
    Provenance: Galaerie d’Horlogerie Ancienne, 7th October 1979, lot 195
    Previously from the collection of Otto Bühler, Ucwil

    Literature: The present watch is prominently illustrated in Automata by Chapuis Droz, page 183.

  • Provenance

    Galaerie d’Horlogerie Ancienne, 7th October 1979, lot 195
    Previously from the collection of Otto Bühler, Ucwil

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Jourdan – An Extraordinary and Historically Important Automata

    This exceptional and incredibly rare automata openface watch features a polychrome enamel scene of the Battle of Fleurus by Jean-Baptise Mauzaisse, a history painter from Corbeil. During the Ancien Regime, History Painting was considered the highest form of art, usually depicting a narrative story with moral associations. Towards the end of the 19th century, the subject matter shifted from religious and Greco-Roman narratives to contemporary battles scenes. These paintings were often used as tools of nationalism and to stir feelings of pride for one's country in a time of social and political instability.

    Following the French Revolution, the ruling party underwent various changes before Napleon’s ascent to the throne. During this time of unrest, European monarchies attempted to defeat Revolutionary France. This openface watch displays The Battle of Fleurus on 25 June 1794, between the French First Republic and the Coalition Army. The French decisively won, and General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan is celebrated in the painting. Battle of Fleurus is proudly displayed in the Gallery of Battles in the Palace of Versailles.

    The polychrome enamel is painted in an exceptional and very realistic way and is of extremely high quality with very vibrant and original colour. General Jourdan is featured above the battle scene, surrounded by a ring of paillonnée gold scroll work. Surrounding the painting are attributes of war illustrating a musket, bayonet, military drum and flag. The outer rim is further decorated with scroll work. These various elements proudly celebrate an important moment in France’s military history.

    The automata on the reverse is extremely unusual and features four moving parts, the lady is fanning herself, the young boy is playing with a moving cat and the fire is blazing. According to Alfred Chapuis, this is a typical, anonymous house scene. While this watch is a celebration of battle, it also presents an exemplary and ideal image of family politics in post-Revolutionary France. The literal separation of spheres – the woman tending a household contrasted against the masculine battle – suggests different gendered roles. While the woman operates within, and creates, a wholesome family space, the man fights valiantly and bravely in battle. This watch is proudly published and displayed in literature, further highlighting its importance in the history of enamel automata watches.

360

Swiss

An exceptionally and historically important pink gold automata openface watch with enamel scene of the Battle of Fleurus

瑞士,極重要,18K紅金活動人偶懷錶,配描繪「佛勒魯戰役」的琺瑯彩繪,約1800年製

Circa 1800
59 mm. diameter

Estimate
HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: Two

Hong Kong Auction 31 May 2016