Antique Gold Automaton Repeating Watch - Vincenzo Bellini


With a full gilt plate movement, repeating on gongs by pushing pendant, to the blue enamel dial with applied vari-colored gold Jacquemarts in classical dress flanking the white enamel central zone with black Arabic chapters, further accented by circular cut diamonds on rim of crystal, all within an engine turned 18K gold case, measuring 2 1/8 inches (6.35 cm), engraved "Breguet et Fils" on movement cover. Winding key missing. Circa 1830.

Provenance: Vincenzo Bellini (given to him in 1835 by Louis-Philippe, King of the French, according to the minutes of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Memorabilia Committee for the season 1961-1962).

Bellini's last opera, I Puritani premiered in Paris in January 1835 to huge acclaim, and he was made chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by Louis-Philippe: the presentation of this watch may have taken place at the same time. His premature death (from a gastric illness) on 23 September the same year carried him off at the height of his fame.


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