Patek Philippe pocket watch

Precision Swiss Timepieces: An Antique Patek Philippe Pocket Watch

Patek Philippe pocket watchA client brought us this beautiful Patek Philippe pocket watch in 2014, just in time to coincide with the renowned company’s 175th Anniversary. Patek Philippe is considered among the most prestigious of luxury Swiss brands and is respected for creating some of the most complicated mechanical watches ever made.

The company’s origins lie in Geneva, Switzerland. Antoni Patek began making pocket watches in 1839 with a fellow Polish watchmaker Franciszek Czapek. The duo employed a small team of workers and created a limited number of fine quality pocket watches by individual order, usually reflecting themes from Polish history and culture. Only a few of these watches survive, but they are notable for their technical skill and degree of artistry. Patek earned a reputation for emphasizing the artistic quality of his pocket watch cases. Increasing tensions between Patek and Czapek led to the end of the partnership in 1844.

In 1851, Antoni Patek joined forces with French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, the inventor of the keyless winding mechanism. The mechanism was an impressive development in watchmaking technology; no longer were keys required to wind the watch. Watches could now be wound and set using the crown. Philippe earned the Gold Medal at the French Industrial Exposition (aka World’s Fair) of 1844. The partnership of Patek Philippe led to new innovations in technology while simultaneously emphasizing design. The company pioneered the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches. Their timepieces found a receptive audience among the wealthy and elite families of Europe, even supplying watches to Queen Victorian and Prince Albert of England.

This particular watch from our client dates to around the turn of the century and features a solid 18k gold case set with rose cut diamonds. The watch found a new home with an appreciative collector for an exciting price that our client was quite pleased to see! Other examples of fine antique and vintage watches we have assisted our clients with can be found on our Watches page. Or, take a peek into the heart of the watch collector over on the blog.

Do you have a pocket watch or other fine timepiece you would like to learn more about? Call us at (518) 587-8787 or email us.

c1880 Henry Capt Bronze Dore Carriage Clock

From the Archives: A 19th Century Henry Capt Carriage Clock

c1880 Henry Capt Bronze Dore Carriage Clock Today we’re taking a look back at one of our auction highlights from 2010: a late 19th century bronze doré carriage clock.

The first carriage clock was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the leading watchmaker of his day. Breguet (1747-1823) was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His step-father came from a family of watchmakers, and while Abraham-Louis resisted joining the trade as a youth, he eventually developed a keen interest in horological pursuits. He began his career as an apprentice to a master watchmaker in Versailles and soon astonished his mentor with his aptitude and intelligence.

Throughout the course of his career, Breguet took his place as one a notable horological innovator, inventing a self-winding watch known as the “perpetuelle”, developing multiple advances in accuracy and function, and creating the world’s first wristwatch, in addition to the carriage clock. Breguet made his first carriage clock, or ‘pendule de voyage’, in 1810. The carriage clock fulfilled the need for a smaller, more portable clock that could accompany travelers on their journeys. The carriage clock was designed to be robust enough to deal with the jostling and bumping of riding in a carriage, while maintaining an elegance of design crucial to the aesthetic requirements of the upper classes.

Our client’s carriage clock is a beautiful example of the style. The bronze dore case is designed in the Classical style with a tall, columnar form. The carrying handle allowed the owner to easily carry the clock from room to room. The carriage clock is accompanied by its original carrying case, a sturdy leather jacket with an open panel that allowed the clock face to be seen even during travel. The clock is signed “Henry Capt, Geneva” for Captain Henry Daniel, a retailer of fine clocks and watches in Geneva who also had branches in London and New York.

Clocks from this time period were quite sophisticated (thanks in large part to innovators like Abraham-Louis Breguet) and included such features as a dial depicting the days of the week, day of the week, phases of the moon (important information for the days before streetlights, when nighttime travel depended on moonlight), perpetual calendars, thermometers, and alarms. It’s quite extraordinary to realize the ingenuity and technical mastery of watchmakers like Breguet who was an innovator ahead of his time. Fine quality antique clocks and watches can be an amazing accomplishment of engineering and design. Our client’s carriage clock was a handsome example of late 19th century craftsmanship and design, and sold at auction for $7,500.

Jamini Roy painting, "Cat with Kitten"

Indian Modernism: Jamini Roy Paintings

Jamini Roy painting, "Cat with Kitten"Today’s spotlight is on a beautiful pair of Jamini Roy paintings that we sold for a client. We’re updating the highlights from our 2014 consignments and auctions, and these paintings were certainly an exciting find. Jamini Roy (1887-1972) was a celebrated Indian artist who was noted for his revolutionary modernist work. Roy began his artistic career painting in an academic style, creating Western style portraits and impressionistic landscapes. He became dissatisfied with working only in the Western tradition and turned instead to the art of his own culture.

Roy spent his boyhood in Bengal and the traditional folk arts of the area, specifically Kalighat painting, influenced and informed some of his best known paintings. The Kalighat style emphasizes bold, flat colors and simplified forms. Roy reinterpreted the traditional iconography of Kalighat painting, creating vibrantly hued images of ordinary people and animals, and imbuing them with a lyrical grace and immediacy. Jamini Roy painting, "Bull"The clean, crisp modernist lines of Roy’s paintings captured the essence of his subjects. Roy’s paintings were a critical and commercial success. Critical acclaim revolved not only around how Jamini Roy combined sophisticated modernist sensibilities with the vibrancy of folk art, but also regarded his work as the revival of an Indian artistic identity, entirely separate from Western art. The Indian government honored him with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, and he is a designated National Treasure of India.

These two paintings were purchased directly from Jamini Roy in the 1960s. We brought the paintings to sale for our client where they sold for a combined price of $11,932.


From the Archives: Esteban Vicente Collage

Esteban Vicente Collage In 2009, a client brought in a striking mixed media collage signed Esteban Vicente. Our client had purchased the piece directly from the artist in the 1950s and was interested in exploring the possibility of selling it.

Esteban Vicente Perez (1903-2001) was a Spanish-born American artist and one of the first generation of New York School abstract expressionists. The New York School was an informal, avant-garde group of painters, poets, dancers, and musicians. The painters drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including surrealism and action painting. Vicente was an active member of the New York School, participating in some of the first Abstract Expressionist exhibitions, including the Sidney Janis Gallery and Charles Egan Gallery, as well as the seminal shows at the Kootz Gallery in 1950 and the 9th Street Art Exhibition in 1951.

Vicente thoughtfully explored the interaction between color, form, and texture in his paintings and collages. His early collages showed a great spontaneity, with carefully layered pieces of cut-and-torn paper. The collage that our client brought in had a beautifully subtle use of color and a wonderfully textural look. The art of collage is a combination of intention and accident, an exciting open-ended process for the artist. Vicente is often credited as reinvigorating the art of collage, lending it the immediacy and energy of action painting.

This was a wonderful original contemporary work of art that we brought to auction for our client. At the end of the day, the Esteban Vicente collage brought $25,000.