Gold and Enamel Chatelaine Repeating Virgule – Circa 1790
Diameter 48 mm
This exquisite timepiece is a Swiss virgule watch from the late 18th century. It features a quarter repeating mechanism and is housed in a stunning gold and enamel consular case. The watch is accompanied by a matching chatelaine, adding to its elegance and charm.
The watch boasts a full plate gilt fusee movement, with a finely pierced and engraved bridge cock that is adorned with a garnet endstone. The balance wheel is plain and three-arm gilt, featuring a blue steel spiral hairspring. The silver regulator dial is complemented by a blue steel indicator.
What sets this watch apart is its rare virgule escapement, which is coupled with a large brass escape wheel. The watch also features a push pendant dumb quarter repeater, which can be activated by pressing the pendant. This repeater function strikes the hours and quarters on two separate blocks within the case.
The dial of the watch is made of white enamel and showcases Roman numerals at the quarters, with Arabic numerals in between. The hands of the watch are intricately crafted from gold. The consular case, made of gold and enamel, is adorned with a dark blue translucent enamel over an engine turned ground. The bezel and back of the case are set with a row of large split pearls. The back of the case is further embellished with white metal decoration set with diamonds. The watch is wound through the enamel dial, which adds to its unique design.
The watch is accompanied by a matching chatelaine, which is a decorative accessory worn by women in the 18th century. The chatelaine features a gilt clip, embellished with gold and champlevé enamel. A central oval motif between two split pearls adorns the clip. The clip supports the watch on two short chains, alternating square links that are decorated with gold and translucent dark blue enamel, bordered in white. These chains terminate in a spring clip with a threaded safety collar. The center of the chatelaine features a gold and enamel bell, adorned with tassels of graduated pearls. This is supported by a row of pearls, adding to its luxurious appeal.
The other side of the clip features a matching chain with two gold and enamel pearl-set rectangular cartouches, each centered around a split pearl. The lower cartouche is bordered by a row of split pearls and supports the accessories, which are presented on three further matching chains. The central chain is home to a matching gold and enamel oval key, while the outer chains feature smaller versions of the tassel motif seen at the center of the clip.
This exceptional watch and chatelaine set is in excellent overall condition. It is remarkable that a virgule escapement repeater of this caliber, created for such a luxurious timepiece, is not signed by the maker. The accompanying red morocco covered case adds a final touch of elegance to this remarkable antique timepiece.
Diameter 48 mm