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November 21, 2012updated Feb 07, 2013

Bovet Grand Feu Collection at Christie’s Auction

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Geneva, Switzerland – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

On November 12th, the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva opened its doors to the annual Christie’s Important Watches auction led by Aurel Bacs and his team. They assembled a collection of timepieces from the last three centuries, with the 19th century pocket watches attracting particular interest from the Chinese market.

The auction was attended by watch collectors and buyers from international museums, with many items fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ten Bovet pocket watches and several manuscripts sold for figures far above their original estimates. Owner of the Bovet House, Pascal Raffy, has long championed traditional watchmaking crafts and owns an extensive private collection of 19th century pocket watches. Following the auction remotely, Pascal Raffy acquired two of the most sought after BOVET lots, including a signed BOVET pocket watch initially sold in China in 1835 and bought by Raffy for CHF 363,000.

The movement is wound by its original key and includes a duplex escapement. The movement decorative finish consists of a mirror polished surface and blued steel, visible through a transparent case-back pioneered by Edouard Bovet. The dial is made of white enamel and in addition to hours and minutes includes a central second – very rare for this time period.

The surfaces of the bow, bezels and the sides of the casing surface are decorated in fine enameling. The engravers prepared by hand the champlevé that allowed the compartmentalizing of different enamels and glazes, and the piece was completed with a fired enamel decoration of a mandarin duck on the back of the timepiece.

The second lot was composed of a series of letters exchanged between the Bovet brothers, Louis and Alphonse, between 1837 and 1855. Other items sold included letters written by the brothers to George William in Fleurier, recounting their lives impressions of Canton, China.

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