watches : Some Jaquet-Droz watches, pre SWATCH : The Empress Josephine Singing Bird Box by Les Freres Rochat.1

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A NOS JD Diver3

Eight-Tune Triple-Mechanism Musical Clock Pierre Jaquet Droz, a la Chaux-de-Fonds. Made circa 1770.1


Les Frès Rochat, No. 116. Made circa 1810. A magnificent and exceptionally rare, gold and mother-of-pearl table jewel box, with Singing Bird and musical movements. Accompanied by a fitted plush-lined, tooled and gilt fitted case, two keys and two reference books: Automata by Chapuis Droz, 1958 and Antique Automatons, A la Vieille Russie, Inc., loan exhibition, 1950.
C. Rectangular jewel box with a gold framework (master mark JI) chased with leaf decoration, enclosing mother of pearl panels at the sides and base, the center containing the movements with concealed winding hole for the bird in the base and for the music at the front with a gold shutter, at each side a silk-lined compartment with hinged mother of pearl cover, six gold bun feet (one lacking), surmounted by a very fine octagonal filigree gold birdcage with foliate and pinecone finials, opening door to the front, mirrored base, two feeding bowls, one glazed and containing seed. M. The singing bird movement: 76 x 40 x 33 mm., gilt brass, in two tiers, massive cylindrical pillars, fusee and chain, circular bellows, eight cams and a piston with sliding whistle for the song's modulation, the multicoloured feathered bird on a ring perch decorated with gold foliage, the bird with flapping wings, wagging tail, opening beak and rotating on its axis, long duration of singing, rack for rotating the bird on its axis, large fly governor. Musical Movement: 80 x 50 x 15 mm., bedplate with pinned brass cylinder, steel comb, going barrel and fly-controlled wheel train, playing two tunes released and changed by levers in the back of the case, metal protecting box housing the movement. Signatures: Bird movement: punched FR twice - within an oval, No.116. Punched French hallmarks. Maker's mark: JI. Dim. 21 x 11 x 17.78 cm.
Provenance: By tradition, The Empress Josephine of France (1763-1814) Thence by descent. Mr & Mrs Louis von Cseh by 1950. A la Vieille Russie Inc., New York. Coll. Berry-Hill., New York.
Exhibited: “Antique Automatons”, a loan exhibition, A la Vieille Russie, 785, Fifth Avenue, New York, November 3rd – December 5th, 1950. (Cat No. 87, lent by Mr & Mrs Louis von Cseh).
Literature: Automata, Chapuis Droz, 1958, p.210 illustrates the same piece.
"This magnificent object typifies the kind of singing bird boxes that the Freres Rochat were famous for. The cage and mounts are made from gold and the musical and singing bird mechanisms hidden within the base. This object is highly unusual in that it is also a jewellery box. By repute, this box was once owned by the Empress Josephine of France, the box itself is certainly of high enough quality to support this provenance."
FR (Frères Rochat) Sons of David Rochat (1746-1812), who was received Master watchmaker in 1766 - François Elisée, Frédéric, and Samuel Henri. David Rochat and sons worked for Jaquet-Droz and Leschot, providing ebauches of singing bird mechanisms, at the end of the 18th century. Around 1813, these three Rochat brothers moved to Geneva and went into business on their own, soon splitting up into two groups. François remained on his own (later aided by his son, Ami Napoléon), and Frédéric and Samuel worked together, (with Frédéric's sons, Antoine and Louis). FR is usually thought to stand for these Rochat brothers, although it is possible that the signature FR may stand for a single name: François Rochat, or Frederic Rochat. There were also other Rochats working in Geneva at the time. Among them is Louis Rochat, originally from l'Abbaye in the Vallée de Joux, who is considered to be the maker of a piece with clock and singing birds (today in the Peking Museum) which won a prize from the Genevan Réunion des Industriels in 1829. In 1814, Louis and his brother François formed an association along with Pierre Daniel Campiche, called Frères Rochat et Compagnie. To complicate matters, there were ties between the various Rochats. For example, Louis Rochat from l'Abbaye worked with Antoine (son of Frédéric) for a time, around 1850. It is however clear that the Rochat family produced a majority of the finest and most complex singing bird objects
09-10-2010 Sold including buyer's premium: 2,120,000 HKD

A NOS JD Diver3

Eight-Tune Triple-Mechanism Musical Clock Pierre Jaquet Droz, a la Chaux-de-Fonds. Made circa 1770.1


Sources:

  1. Antiquorum, via search engine http://www.antiquorum.com
  2. eBay #8932147486 sold on 05-08-06 for £41, http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8932147486
  3. For Sale add on thePurists on 05-12-2006, sold for $975. http://www.thepurists.com
  4. Personal collection of cme2c (Jeff Geisert), offered for sale on http://www.timezone.com for $2900 on 06-17-2006
  5. Personal collection of Larry Seiden
  6. The European Watch Company in Boston

Created with the tool album a script written by Dave Madison Mon Oct 1 16:10:55 2012