watches : Some Jaquet-Droz watches, pre SWATCH : Unsigned, attributable to the workshop of Henri Maillardet, Jaquet-Droz partner in Geneva, circa 1810. Extremely fine and rare 18K gold and enamel pearl and turquoise set caterpillar automaton, in red leather fitted box.1

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Jaquet-Droz, La Chaux-de-Fonds, No. 755, Ref. 2205, circa 1996. Fine, centre second, self-winding, 18K yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch with date and fitted box.1

Attributable to the workshop of Henri Maillardet, Jaquet-Droz partner in Geneva, circa 1810. Extremely fine and rare 18K gold and enamel pearlset automaton mouse, in leather fitted box.1


C. Fully articulated and realistically decorated as a caterpillar, it is composed by 11 turquoise set red translucent enamelled and black mottled body sections fitted into each other with alternate splitpearl set links. M. Gilt brass shaped with going barrel and fly regulator, driving the two small knurled wheels imitating the realistic movements of the caterpillar by means of cams and levers. Dim. 75 x 14 mm. Sold 113,500 CHF on 10-18-1995.
Literature: Similar pieces are described and illustrated by A. Chapnis and E. Gdli.s in Le Monde des Automates, vol. II p. 154, fig. 427 and by A. Chapnis and E. Droz, Les Automates, pp. 248-249, fig. 294. Two similar caterpillars, from the N1: unite and Edonard Sandoz Collection, part of the exhibition in Le 1ocle, Chateau des Monts, are described in the catalogue pp. 88-89 and 110-11 I. Apparently, no more than 3 caterpillars of this type are known to exist: one, in Le Monde des Automates was formerly in the Bernard Frank Collection, in Paris; the other illustrated in Les Automates was formerly in the lkle Collection in Saint Gall. Both seem to be now in the Sanrloz Collection. The newly discovered one, now offered for sale, is almost identical to that of the Sandoz Collection, illustrated page 89 of the catalogue. With fete other small automaton animals such as mice, hogs and lizards, these Ethiopian dtenilles Abr, as they were designed, were the pride of Henri Maillardet, partner of lagnet-Droz in London, and according to a poste', they were exhibited in 181 I. They were certainly produced in his workshop in Geneva, by craftsmen such as Lentaire or Frizard. This superb caterpillar is so realistically made that it could provoke a nervous reaction from somebody allergic to crawling animals, although the wonderful colours of this magnificent jewel, should incite to take even more into consideration the marvels of nature. Looking at this wonderful automaton, one might think, that with his genius, Man inspired by Nature, is sometimes able to grow it lovelier, However, such small automaton animals certainly are, the most precious and extraordinary toys ever made.

Jaquet-Droz, La Chaux-de-Fonds, No. 755, Ref. 2205, circa 1996. Fine, centre second, self-winding, 18K yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch with date and fitted box.1

Attributable to the workshop of Henri Maillardet, Jaquet-Droz partner in Geneva, circa 1810. Extremely fine and rare 18K gold and enamel pearlset automaton mouse, in leather fitted box.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

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