A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished
Lot 86
A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch
The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished
Sold for US$ 233,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished
Lot Details
Property of various owners
A fine and rare diamond-set engraved and enameled gold singing bird snuff box with musical movement and watch
The box with the lozenge maker's mark of Jean-Georges Réymond, Geneva 1798 - 1815, and the mark of les frères Rochat, the movement stamped with serial number 7, circa 1804, and later embellished
Rectangular with rounded corners, guilloché panels on the base and sides with engraved and enameled borders, the top panel now set with four old mine cut diamonds and numerous round diamonds forming scrolls enclosing the oval lid now enhanced with calligraphic Arabic script monogram, all within a further row of round diamonds framing the panel, the front panel with split pearl bezel enclosing a white enamel watch dial with center seconds and opening to reveal arbors for winding, setting and regulation of the watch and for winding the music and bird, each labeled with a pictorial engraving designating the function, hinged key compartment to the side.

The gilt three part mechanism comprising: the automaton with chain fusee, cylindrical bellows and stack of eight cams controlling the motion and song of the brightly feathered bird who appears, sings and flaps his wings before retreating back into the box; the music with pinned barrel playing on stack of seven steel plates, each with three tuned teeth; and the watch movement with cylinder escapement and plain gilt balance, gold buttons on the front and back panels activate the singing bird and musical mechanisms; the box is accompanied by two gold engraved keys for operating and setting the complications.
width 9.3cm, depth 6.2cm

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The lid bears the monogram of the 19th century Ottoman Prince Shehzade Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi (1862 - 1888) son of the Turkish Sultan Abdul Aziz (1830 - 1876) who presumably had the box embellished for his son.

    The diamonds were added during the mid 19th century, however the box and automaton date from the beginning of the century.

    The lozenge maker's mark was used by Georges Rémond during the French occupation of Switzerland, 1798 - 1815.

    Les frères Rochat, Ami-Napoléon and Louis, were initially apprenticed to their father, Pierre of Le Brassus. Subsequently they developed their skills in the workshop of the eminent maker of automata, Pierre Jaquet - Droz (1721 - 1790). Shortly after 1800, they established their own workshop in Geneva and were quickly recognized as the preeminent makers of singing bird automata. The Rochat box number "1" is dated 1804.

    The mechanism bears the serial number "7". suggesting it was made shortly thereafter and thus one of their earliest productions.

    Other examples of later Rochat boxes with the same complications display a different layout with a robust musical barrel and striking watch work housed separately, with the music in the main compartment and the watch under the front panel. In this earlier box, the music and watch mechanisms are housed together under the front panel, sharing a rectangular main plate.

    Bonhams gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Brittany Nicole Cox who researched and conserved this singing bird.

Saleroom notices

  • The singing bird is incorrectly attributed to les frères Rochat. The rubbed maker's mark on the snuff box has been correctly identified as that of Isaac-Daniel Piguet (1775-1841) and Henri Capt (1773 - c. 1837), both eminent makers in their own right. They were in partnership from 1802 to 1811. Equally as talented as the Rochats, they specialized in automata and musical movements for watches. Notably they made miniature movements that were small enough to be fitted into rings and brooches.
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Contacts
  1. Jonathan Snellenburg
    Specialist - Watches
    Bonhams
    Work
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    New York, 10022
    United States
    Work +1 212 461 6530
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