Collection Highlights from "Geneva at the Heart of Time" Exhibition in Beijing

“GENEVA AT THE HEART OF TIME – The Origin of Swiss Watchmaking Culture”

Here are just some of the beauties that are being shown and the recently opened exhibit in Beijing.  They are divided into two sections, pieces provided by the Geneva Museum of Art & History (MAH) and pieces provided by Vacheron Constantin.

I.  Museum of Art & History, Geneva Collection Highlights

 

François Fol, Geneva, ca. 1690

Pocket watch

Engraved case in steel and brass, dial with cartouches, blue numerals, center in embossed copper

Movement frame in brass, Egyptian pillars, crown wheel escapement, chain fusée, large shell-shaped balance-cock, flexible blade regulating system

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv.AD 4726

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François Dentand, Geneva, ca.1700

Pocket watch with calendar display and visible balance-cock

Case in gilded brass and studded gold scales; visible balance-cock with enamel miniature of a young woman, pendulum in the form of a bee, protected by a back fitted with a glass

Dial with enamel cartouches, date display at 12 o'clock in a cut-out window

Movement frame in gilded brass, Egyptian pillars, crown wheel escapement, chain fusée, circular balance and pendulum

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2008-137

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Geneva, ca. 1800

"Bras en l'air" pocket watch

Case in silver, figure in chased gold, dial in painted enamel, 12-hour scale on right, 5-minute scale on left

Movement frame with cylindrical gilded brass pillars, verge escapement and chain fusée, three-arm balance, flat balance-spring, polished balance-cock, time indicated by pressing the pendant

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. N 373

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Monier & Fils, Geneva, ca. 1820

Hunter pocket watch with windows

Gold case, intaglio engraving, guilloché, silver dial, time discs in engraved silver, champlevé varnished index. Movement with bridges, special cylinder escapement with eccentric center wheel, pendant at 12 o'clock. Decorated case back; circus scene with plumed horses, trainer and spectators; dust cover with rococco ornaments, masks and scrolls

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. N 1228

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Jacques Louis Alfred Ruegger, Fleurier (?), Geneva (?), ca. 1860

Silver "Chinese" pocket watch

Silver case; enamel dial, chinese numerals. Movement frame in gilded brass and steel, crown wheel escapement, chain fusée, brass circular balance, blued steel balance spring, silver rosette

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2007-0008

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Jean [Js] Rousseau, Geneva, ca.1640

Shell watch

Gilded case in engraved silver, engraved brass, single blued steel hand

Movement frame in gilded brass and steel, detent escapement, vase-shaped pillars, simple balance-cock, steel balance spring

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2003-98

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Abraham Collomby or Colomby, Geneva and Paris, ca. 1745

Pocket watch with chatelaine, accessories and charms

Engraved gold case, chased, enamel miniature (La Chasse d’Atalante et Méléagre or the Wild Boar of Calydon); enamel dial, roses of diamonds set into the silver; chatelaine with pompons, engraved and gilded, intaglio engraved seal in rock crystal, cachet, vinaigrette, medallion and watch key. Movement frame, vase-shaped pillars, crown wheel escapement, chain fusée, steel circular balance. flat steel balance spring, polished steel end stone lock, silver rosette

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. M 980

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Rochat Frères, Geneva, ca. 1814

Cage with three singing birds and striking watch,

Octagonal cage, side panels painted on enamel, gold, diamond, champlevé enamel; watch dial in white enamel, Breguet-type hands. Brass movement, cylinder escapement, three-arm balance, flat balance spring, striking on two bells

Birds movement: octagonal brass plate, chain fusée and cam mechanism, the birds move and sing automatically on the hour and on demand.

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2003-136

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"Les Frères Huault" (Amy Huault, Pierre II Huault),enamelers; Fromanteel, watchmaker, Geneva and [London] (England), ca. 1680

Pocket watch Gold case, gilded brass multicolored enamel; dial with enamel miniature painting "Minerva and Mercury" (center), brass hand (rear). Movement frame in gilded brass, crown wheel escapement, brass balance, chain fusée, brass rosette, chased pillars and chain guide

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva,  inv. H 2011-95

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Geneva, ca. 1800

Sectioned box with watch and automata

Case in pink gold, colored golds, champlevé enamel and enamel miniatures.

The box is divided into three compartments; the left compartment of the box contains automata in different golds and enamel, featuring Cupid sharpening his arrow on a grindstone; the right compartment contains a watch.

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2008-131

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Bovet, Fleurier (movement), Geneva (enamel), ca. 1835-1840 

"Chinese" pocket watch

Case in gold and enamel, pendant and suspension ring decorated with enamel painted on gold; dial in white enamel, pear-shaped hands in blued steel.

Movement with bridges in blued and polished steel, cylinder escapement, blued steel bottom plate and barrel, gears in brushed silver, winding by key

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv.M 911, donated by Gustave Loup, Geneva, 1939

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Moulinié (watchmaker), Henry Le Grand Roy (enameler), Geneva, ca. 1850

Pocket watch

Gold case, champlevé enamel and enamel painting (view of Geneva, the Cathedral, the Môle, the Salève, Mont-Blanc in background); gold dial, chased and engraved.

Movement with gilded brass bridges, cylinder escapement, circular balance in gilded brass, blued steel balance spring

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2005-122

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Esquivillon Frères & Dechoudens, Geneva, ca. 1800

Butterfly hunter watch

Pink gold case with champlevé, flinque and painted enamel, pearls, cabochon-cut emeralds and rubies, six emeralds set in applique on enamel; white enamel dial. Movement frame with gilded brass cylindrical pillars, verge escapement, chain fusée, brass three-arm balance, pierced and engraved balance-cock, silver rosette

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv.H 2001-28

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Haas, Neveux & Cie, Valant Watch Co, Geneva, ca. 1925

Pocket watch “de smoking”, for the evening

Gold case, back in blue enamel, floral decor in champlevé enamel; dial in sanded silver with applique gold markers, small seconds at 6 o'clock

Movement with rhodiumized steel bridges, false sides decoration, straight-line anchor escapement, bimetallic compensation balance, Breguet overcoil balance spring

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 2003-95

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Marc-Louis Dufaux, Frank-Edouard Lossier (enamelers), Geneva, ca. 1885

Free-standing striking clock

Case in ebony wood, enamels painted on copper

Anchor escapement,rack striking mechanism hours and half hours en passant on a gong

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv AD 1407, donated by Marguerite Meroz-Lossier, 1963

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Berthe Schmidt-Allard (enameler), Geneva, ca.1930

Table clock in patinated copper

Blue champlevé enamel (turquoise on sides and top), back decorated with cloisonné enamel on copper (gold, black, blue, turquoise, violet, brown)

Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, inv. H 99-103, legacy of M. Claude Schmidt, Geneva 1999

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II. Vacheron Constantin Collection Highlights

 

 

1755

J.-M. Vacheron, Geneva

Silver pocket watch, enamel dial, key winding and setting

First known pocket watch created by our founder, Jean-Marc Vacheron

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1884

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold double-face pocket watch, enamel dials

Perpetual calendar, phases and age of the moon

Chronometer watch with official Observatory Bulletin

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1929

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, silvered dial

Split-second chronograph with 30-minute counter, perpetual calendar, phases and age of the moon, minute-repeater on three gongs, grande and petite sonneries

Presented by the Swiss Colony in Egypt to King Fouad I in 1929

Back with enameled coat-of-arms of King Fouad I

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1918

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

20K yellow gold pocket watch, enamel dial

30-minute counter-chronograph, grande and petite sonneries, quarter and half-quarter repeaters

Chiseled case, guilloché back with engraved and enameled monogram of the American collector James Ward Packard (1863-1928)

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1817

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, silver guilloché dial, key winding and setting

Quarter-repeater

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1889

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold lady's wristwatch, enamel dial, winding and setting by turning the beze

Engraved figures depicting two winged goddesses, claw-set diamonds

A very rare wristwatch model of the late 19th century and the first to be produced in series by the Manufacture

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1920

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K white gold lady's wristwatch, silvered dial

Diamond and sapphire-set case,  pearl-set bracelet

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1924

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

Platinum lady's wristwatch, silvered dial

Diamond and sapphire-set case, cordon bracelet

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1916

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

Platinum lady's wristwatch, silvered dial

Engraved case, diamond-set and openworked bracelet, curved movement

Formerly part of the collection of Sir Bhupindra Singh, Maharajah of Patiala

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1923

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, enamel dial

Engraved case, enameled case-back with a miniature painting by Marie Goll, reproducing the painting « Les Bergers d'Arcadie » by Nicolas Poussin, engraved dome depicting a pastoral scene "l'Arrivée des moissonneurs dans les marais pontins" by Léopold Robert and some notes Beethoven’s no 6 symphony. Engraved movement representing 2 angels

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1913

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, gilt dial

Black champlevé enamel case, Renaissance-style decoration

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1824

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, guilloché silver dial

Blue champlevé enamel case depicting the map of Northern Italy

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1905

Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

18K yellow gold pocket watch, guilloché silver dial

Cloisonné enamel case with thistle pattern

Presented at the International Exhibition of Milan in 1906

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thanks for the write up, the Geneva Art Museum's collection looks quite stunning
04/27/2015 - 11:21

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Re: Collection Highlights from "Geneva at the Heart of Time" Exhibition in Beijing
04/27/2015 - 16:11

Dan,

I thought some of those watches looked familiar!

In 2012 the Museum in Geneva put on a spectacular exhibition sponsored by Vacheron (see below).

It was really outstanding. I believe the show in Beijing is part of that collection.

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As I recall we were going to see that exhibition together, but your plane was late getting in...I can't quite recall.

Here is the cover of the catalogue. Even if you don't read French, it's worth finding. The photo's are excellent!

 

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Joseph

You are definitely correct, many of those prices definitely look familiar! (nt)
04/27/2015 - 23:50
A worthwhile visit...
04/27/2015 - 19:40

Dan, thank you for taking the trouble to compile this most interesting feature.

The photographs are excellent including the complementary copy. Unfortunately, I am unable to visit the exhibition personally so your painstaking work is deeply appreciated. Thank you again!

Regards

Tony

I didn't actually take these pictures, that was done by professionals.
04/27/2015 - 23:54

I realize we are a distance away, but if you ever travel this far... you must let me know!