A story with no watch

Did you come by your watch in an interesting way? Does your watch come with a story? Provenance adds value ... and interest too. Tell your watch provenance story here.

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A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:12 pm

I recently obtained one of those oversize silver cases that were popular in the 1880's.
This one is a 6 ounce hunter and measures around 2 1/2 inches dia. I was pleased
A little while later I was brousing through Ebay and stumbled accross a rather tired 18 size watch in a box.
The hole in the box was way to big for the watch but I remembered my big un and decided to keep an eye on it.
I thought it might be a fitted box for some kind of jewellery but it would work for my purpose.
Everyone else must have thought the same and my initial low bid won the day.

The item arrived promptly and my watch fitted perfect. I was pleased again.
Next step was to service the watch and clean up the case. All went well.
Finally I had a good look at the box and noticed a crack in the back of the lid.
I decided to fix that and to do so had to remove the insert to get to it.
I did that and out falls a card 3 1/2 wide by 5 1/2 long ( folded in half ) and covered in fine hand writing on both sides.

Turns out this is a watch box and it once contained a rather nice watch.

The card reads in part

Antique Gold and Enamel Singing Bird Watch.
This watch belonged to the French State and was offered to an important Oriental Diplomat
by the French Government at the occasion of the inaugriation of the Canel De Suez for whom
a special dial was made at that time.
This piece is a most curious and rare one and certainly one of the best of the Reuhat Brothers on account of the uniqueness of the mechanism.

There is a lot of historical stuff about the maker and on the other side is a diagram of the watch and instructions how to operate it.

Now I have a story. Does anyone know of such a watch ?

box 002.jpg
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:13 pm

I hasten to add there is no way I could afford such a watch but the current owner might like the history.
Alas no serial no but perhaps the watch did not have one.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby 4thdimension » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:28 am

Neat find ! I've had the little singing bird boxes before but not a watch. That is a lot of mechanism to fit in a watch case! It often pays to lift up the insert in old boxes. I've found watch papers, receipts, photos and, once, a five dollar gold piece!
If it isn't too much trouble I would enjoy seeing a pic of the card. That is a special and historic find.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:49 am

Here is the front of the card that talks about the watch.
Did it in 2 halves to get a better result.

If this works I will have a go at the other side which looks to be the history of the maker.

cardfronta.jpg

You can see how fine the writing is. Very tidy as well.
Last edited by Glyn Meredith on Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Larger pic loaded for clearer view.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:44 am

Here is the other side of the card.

I do not know if this information is correct or even who compiled it.
I do not know if this is the origional box.

All I know for sure is that at some point a singing bird watch was in this box and I have some idea what it looked like and how it worked.

My watch told me it feels kind of special now in its new home. :P :P

cardbacka.jpg
Last edited by Glyn Meredith on Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Larger pic loaded for clearer view.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:49 am

Think I spelt the makers name wrong at the start. Upon reflection I think it should be the " Rochat Brothers"
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby 4thdimension » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:45 am

Amazing! Thank you for posting that. I look forward to giving it a close read.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby watchguy » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:24 pm

I just mentioned this story on the NAWCC message board. Hope you don't mind!

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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:42 pm

No Problem. Wouldn't it be fun if we could find the watch mentioned.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby richiec » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:42 am

Stephan, how about a picture of your happy watch in its new home?
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby JerryT » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:57 am

Stephen - this is a marvelous piece of history, even without the watch. Rochat and some of his affiliations and work are mentioned in the book "Montres de fantasie (Watches of fantasy) 1790-1850" by Patrizzi and Sturm. One of Rochat's singing bird boxes is shown. Patrizzi, once the founder of Antiquorum, now has his own new auction company. If anyone knows whether the watch from your box still survives he might be the one who knows.
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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Glyn Meredith » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:29 am

Steve and I decided to reload the scans. They are now bigger, so please look again. The thumbnail pics will expand if you click on them. Try clicking on a scan a second time and you might get a further expansion (not sure if this works on all PC's but it does on my Mac).
Posted on GH recently? Your posts keep us going.

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Re: A story with no watch

New postby Stephan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:37 am

Here is a shot of the outside of the box.
No fancy decoration but a bit of shape to the edges. Looks to be covered in leather perhaps.
It is a brown colour? with a hint of red to it. Measures 4 1/4 wide by 5 deep by 2 inches high.

box 003.jpg


And for Richard a shot of the new Tennant. I believe the chain to be original.

box 004.jpg
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