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
- 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.