Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795
Lot 57
Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter
Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795
Sold for £146,500 (US$ 231,062) inc. premium

Lot Details
Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795 Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795 Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795 Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795 Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795 Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter   Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795
Swiss. A magnificent and very rare gold and enamel, centre-seconds, musical automaton watch with carillon on five bells and five hammers, and enamel back painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter
Watch attributed to John Rich, Circa 1795
Gilt brass full plate double train, the going train with fusee and chain, cylinder escapement with plain brass 3-arm balance, flat balance spring with regulator. Pin drum musical train, carillon on five bells with a stack of five hammers, driving the automata by means of cams and levers, white enamel dial with Roman numerals and outer minute and seconds ring, gold moon hands, three-body gold case, the bezels engraved with blue and black champlevé leaf decoration, the enamel back painted in the manner of Richter with a very fine seaside landscape, a citadel on the right, a sailing vessel on the back and a fishing boat in the foreground, the spring loaded back discloses the five coloured gold automaton scene depicting a maiden pumping water into a fountain for a horse to drink, the whole applied over a light blue enamel ground
63mm.

Footnotes

  • Watches fitted with a carillon musical movement on five bells with five hammers are extremely rare, even more so when also fitted with an automaton scene.

    John Rich was a Famous English maker and retailer. He used to work in London and Geneva from the end of the 18th century to circa 1825. He specialised in automaton watches, singing bird boxes and scent bottles with built-in watch and carillon musical movements. He often made for the Chinese Market and his production was always of the very highest quality.

    Jean-Louis Richter (1766-1841) learned his art under David-Etienne-Roux and Philippe-Samuel-Théodore Roux. He became a most renowned enamel painter. His speciality was the painting of landscapes and particularly lake and marine scenes, often representing ships in a harbour. More often than not, his paintings are unsigned but can clearly be recognised as being in his hand, from the style and quality of the work. He applied his art principally to watch cases and snuffboxes and these were largely destined for the Chinese, Turkish, British and Italian markets. Richter, like other great enamel painters of the time, often found inspiration for his work from paintings or engravings by the artists of the time in fashion, such as Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-1785), John Francis Rigaud (1742-1820), John Hoffner (1748-1810) and Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815).

    Bernard Nadal Baker (11 May 1854 – 20 December 1918) was a transatlantic shipping magnate from Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
    Baker descended from generations of wealthy Baltimore merchants and glass manufacturers. In 1881, with the support of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baker he established the Atlantic Transport Line A.T.L., which quickly became the second-largest American steamship operator. In 1892 he initiated the exclusively first class direct London to New York passenger service, for which the A.T.L. became famous.

    Baker had gained an international reputation as an authority on shipping and was consulted by the U.S. Government on the Panama Canal. He was one of only four experts appointed for a National sub-Committee on transportation problems. He supplied much of the data for the contentious shipping bill in 1915, and having been one of the moving spirits in its creation, he was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson as one of the five members of the United States Shipping Board during World War I.

    Baker was an Anglophile who supposedly knew England almost as well as he knew Maryland. In 1889, Baker built the 49 room Georgian mansion "Ingleside" in Catonsville, Maryland. He established a sizeable collection of antiquities with an emphasis on fine clocks and watches.

    This particular watch was in the Baker collection, and has remained within the family's descendants until this present day.
Auction information

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