At Bonhams | Watches and Wristwatches

Posted in Art Market by Editor on May 10, 2023

Lot 55: Joseph Martineau, Senr, London, gold and ruby-set key wind triple case pocket watch with shagreen outer case (441 individually set rubies), ca. 1760 (estimate: £20,000–30,000). Note (added 16 May 2023) — it sold for £48,180, as noted by the post-sale press release via Art Daily.

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From the press release for the sale:

Watches and Wristwatches
Bonhams, London, 11 May 2023

Bonhams Watches and Wristwatches sale on 11 May will offer staple designs from names including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and IWC, along with a significant single-owner collection of exquisite 17th- and 18th-century pocket watches. The 14 pocket watches, come from the collection of T. P. Camerer Cuss, renowned for his discerning eye for special timepieces. Included are designs by the father of English clockmaking Thomas Tompion (1639–1713), alongside works by George Graham and Joan Dellavos.

Lot 58: Thomas Tompion, 18K gold and gilt metal key wind quarter repeating pair case pocket watch, London Hallmark for 1709–10. It appears to have been made for Mary Montagu, Duchess of Montagu (1689–1751), daughter of the 1st Duke of Marlborough (estimate: £20,000–30,000).

Penelope Andrews, Bonhams Head of Watches in London, said: “It’s a privilege to offer such a significant collection of early pocket watches from the esteemed Camerer Cuss Collection in the Knightsbridge sale. The timepieces represent some of the leading names of watchmaking including Tompion and Graham. The watches are truly works of art; they transcend from being simply a watch into exceptional decorative pieces. We look forward to presenting the outstanding horological selection to our clients.”

Leading the sale is a fine and rare 18K gold and gilt metal key wind quarter repeating pair case pocket watch by esteemed maker Thomas Tompion (Lot 58, estimate: £20,000–30,000). Tompion was known for his exceptional designs and high society patrons, creating arguably some of the world’s greatest clocks. The watch on offer, from around 1709, represents an important quarter repeating watch of the highest quality; it is one of the earliest surviving with jewelled bearings and diamond end stones for the balance, complete with a beautiful watch dial featuring a central cherub and garland cartouche design. The timepiece was made for Mary, Duchess of Montagu (1689–1751), as indicated by the cypher ‘MM’ on the outer case below the coronet; it is believed to be one of only three watches that Tompion made for a female.

Lot 59: George Graham. 18K gold key wind repeating pair case pocket watch with repousse decoration. London Hallmark for 1718–19. Pierced and engraved outer case with repousse depicting Hercules being led, possibly by Hermes, to Cerberus with four embossed shells to the quarters depicting busts of classical figures (estimate: £15,000–20,000).

A fine and rare 18K gold key wind repeating pair case pocket watch with repousse decoration by George Graham, ca. 1718, is also included in the sale (Lot 59: estimate: £15,000–20,000). Featuring a finely produced repousse outer case depicting Hercules being led by a figure in classical armour, the watch is an exquisite example of the art of watchmaking and the art of the goldsmith from an esteemed maker rarely seen on the market. Also on offer is a Joan Dellavos fine and rare gold key wind open face pocket watch, ca. 1765, with a striking enamel scene depicting Venus blindfolding Cupid set within a decorative cartouche surround (estimate: £15,000–20,000).

Outside of the Camerer Cuss Collection, another important lot is a Joseph Martineau, fine and rare gold and ruby-set key wind triple case pocket watch with a shagreen outer case made in about 1760. It includes 441 individually set rubies forming a radiating circle to the back and bezel of the middle case and further decoration to the white enamel dial (Lot 55: estimate: £20,000–30,000).

Other Highlights from the T. P. Camerer Cuss Collection
• A William Snow fine and rare silver and leather key wind pair case pocket watch with pin decoration. The watch, ca. 1670, has a silver dial with a central engraved rosette, and the decorative pin work on the back of the leather covered outer case features exuberant floral designs. Offered with an estimate of £12,000–18,000.
• A John Snow silver key wind pair case ‘puritan’ pocket watch, ca. 1640. The early design was fashionable between 1630 and 1660 and features a silver dial along with an early method of fitting the crystal ‘glass’ held in place by tags around the underside of the bezel. Offered with an estimate of £12,000–15,000.

Additional Sale Highlights
• Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, reference 16523, ca. 1999. The stainless steel and 18K gold automatic chronograph bracelet watch has a sunburst champagne and diamond set dial. Offered with an estimate of £12,000–18,000.
• Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’, stainless steel automatic calendar bracelet watch, reference 16610, ca. 2004. The special edition submariner with a green and black dial is offered with an estimate of £10,000–15,000.
• IWC limited edition 18K rose gold automatic calendar wristwatch, ca. 2015. The big pilots watch ‘Le Petit Prince’ with sunburst blue dial is offered with an estimate of £8,000–12,000.

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