Tissot - The Geneva Watch Auction: XV Geneva Saturday, May 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Tissot
    Year: 1951
    Movement No: 2'508'975
    Case No: 18'977
    Material: 14K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 28.5-21, 17 jewels, stamped "HON"
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Dimensions: 33mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Tissot Extract from the Archive confirming production of the present watch on October 3, 1951 and its subsequent sale without a case in 1951. Furthermore accompanied by printout of the Stern Cadran company book detailing the production of the present dial.

  • Catalogue Essay

    When it comes to decorative styles, none is considered above the art of enamelling in terms of aesthetics, required mastery of the craft, and overall rarity (given the high costs involved). Enamelling can take many forms, from the most basic (such as Grand Feu monochrome enamels) to the most complex such as miniature painting, champlevé and cloisonné enamels, as represented by the present piece.
    Cloisonné enameling consists in partitioning the surface of the dial with gold wires in order to outline the design, and then filling such partitions (cloisons) with colored enamels. The final results is usually a somewhat naive design of incredibly powerful aesthetic impact - as exemplified by this “2 Americas” enamel.

    Very few artisans in history have mastered the skills necessary to produce these dials, and the most proficient ones are now regarded are true artists, their names revered such as those of - to make a couple of examples - Picasso and Monet in the art collecting circles.

    One enameler in particular is regarded as one of the best that ever was: Mme. Marguerite Koch, who as it happens is responsible for the creation of this dial design N°14 - as shown in the Stern books. Active in the 20th century and working for Stern, her creations were employed mostly - but obviously not exclusively - by Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin.

    The present “2 Americas” design is a rare twist on the geographical maps theme, a classic of cloisonné enameling. While North and South America designs are relatively (for enamel dials) common, this design N°14 from Marguerite Koch with the 2 continents has been seen only three other times: on a Vacheron Constantin timepiece and 2 Tissot wristwatches including this one. Intriguingly, in depth analysis of the Stern books reveal no other similar dial, thus it is highly probable that these 3 pieces are the only ones ever executed with this extraordinary design. A similar design (No. 20, featuring a black sea) is known from a Rolex timepiece.

    The other Tissot watch with this design also features a 14K gold case and has a number very close to that of the present watch: 18943. This leads us to believe that these two watches were part of a batch shipped to the US.

    While the Tissot archive provides no mention of the dial, the Stern book - an extract from which is supplied with the watch - provides not only confirmation that this dial (identified by its serial number 4227) was made for Tissot, but also identifies in detail its design: “Cloisonne’ Or 2 Ameriques Jaune sans minuterie N. 14” (Gold Cloisonné, 2 Americas, Yellow, without minute marks. “14” represents this design in the Stern books) and even specifies the markers: 3/4 no. 42 (for the 3 Arabic numerals at 12, 3 and 9) 8 no. 2 (for the 8 square markers) - thus confirming in detail that this watch dial was made in this exact configuration and for this watch. It furthermore shows that Mme Koch charged Stern 75CHF for the job, and Stern charged Tissot 158CHF for the dial.

    Additional indications that this watch was made for the American market - beyond the dial design - are found in the 14K gold case (signed by Tissot, but supplied after the watch left the workshop, as detailed by the Extract) which is typical for the American market, and most definitely in the “HON” stamp on the movement, indicating it was imported into the USA.

    This is a most likely unrepeatable opportunity for the connoisseur of vintage watches to bring home a cloisonné enamel by one of the all-time masters of the field at a very attractive price point.

173

A sublime and outstandingly rare yellow gold automatic wristwatch with bumper rotor and polychrome cloisonné enamel dial made by Marguerite Koch, one of two examples known

1951
33mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF25,000 - 50,000 
€24,600-49,100
$26,500-53,100

Sold for CHF69,300

Contact Specialist

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

+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 22 317 96 63
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XV

Geneva Auction 7 - 8 May 2022