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Good Old Watch

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Rare and beautiful pocket watch for Chinese market in beautiful silver gilt case. Fleurier. Switzerland, circa 1860s.
Diameter is 33mm, weight is 24 grams.

Watch is signed on dial and back cover by Bovet Fleurier - the most famous of the Fleurier manufacturers.
Bovet, Fleurier (Val-de-Travers) - is one of the most important Swiss watchmaking dynasties having worked for the Chinese market, founded by siblings Charles-Frédéric (1786-1846), Charles-Alphonse (1788-1850), Gustave (1790-1835), Edouard (1797-1849), Charles-Henri (1802-?) and Julie-Caroline Bovet (1807-?).

The three brothers, Frédéric, Alphonse and Edouard, first set up a business in London in 1814-1815, making watches for the local market. In 1818, Edouard was hired by the Maison Magniac to be a watchmaker for them in China, in Canton.

In few years, having realised the great possibilities of the Chinese market, the Bovets established their own company. On May 1st, 1822, Edouard, remaining in Canton, signed with his brothers Frédéric and Alphonse, working out of London, and Gustave, out of their home town, Fleurier, a partnership contract for the export of watches from London.

Edouard Bovet notes that not only mandarins but all of the Chinese are fond of watches. He wants to sell quality watches at affordable prices to the rest of the population who are often neglected by the luxury market.

Fleurier becomes the manufacturing centre of the “Chinese watch”. The Bovets boosts the economy of Val-de-Travers; in 1840, no less than 175 watchmaker workshops worked for the Bovets in Fleurier, Saint-Sulpice and Bayards.

The Bovets are the first to write their name in Chinese on watch dials. The brand becomes so famous that the word “poway”, whether “bovet” according to the Chinese pronunciation, becomes synonymous of “watch” for the Chinese. Among the signatures on these watches, one often finds the name Bovet translated into Chinese, as well as the name “Tevob” (“Bovet” spelled backwards).

Movement is typical Fleurier piece, with central second hand and cylinder escapement.

The watch is richly decorated with enamel portrait of Western young lady with jug in the pastoral environment and half-pearls to the rim, bow and pendant.

The watch appears to be in good condition.
The enamel is beautifully preserved and appeared to be in good condition.
Dial has tiny reparation to the side, not visible under the bezel.
Movement is in good running condition, however time keeping isn't guaranteed and I recommend cleaning as usual.

Beautiful and rare watch, don't miss it.