Le Roy & Fils made by Louis Audemars, Le Brassus (Vallée de Joux), No. 9 294
LE ROY & FILS BY LOUIS AUDEMARS POCKET WATCH WITH NINE HOROLOGICAL COMPLICATIONS, INCLUDING MINUTE-REPEATER, DEAD INDEPENDENT SECONDS WITH FOUDROYANTE AND DÉDOUBLANTE (SPLIT-SECONDS), DATE AND DAY, PHASES OF THE MOON, SECOND MERIDIAN AND THERMOMETER; 18K YELLOW GOLD Model: made by Louis Audemars, Le Brassus (Vallée de Joux), No. 9 294 Caliber: 20''', gilded brass, with two going barrels, gold train of wheels, straight-line equilibrated lever escapement, compensated balance with gold and platinum poising screws and blued steel hairspring with terminal curve Accesories: copies of biographical article Signed: dial, case and movement HKD 315000 - 474000
The quality of execution of this timepiece and its serial number, as well as similar models, allow us to attribute it to the Louis Audemars House from Le Brassus, Vallée de Joux. It should be noted, however, that the production sheets of the watch No. 9 294 are unfortunately no longer present in the Historical Archives of the Louis Audemars House, now kept by Mr. Paul Audemars in England. The present watch is similar to the Louis Audemars No. 10 517, illustrated and described in Zantke, Hartmut, Louis-Benjamin Audemars, His Life and Work (2003, pp. 262-263). This latter (No. 10 517) was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, April 24, 2004, lot 159, for the amount of CHF 146 500.- Another Louis Audemars’ watch is fitted with the same type of horological complications, the No. 11 820, but with the addition of a perpetual calendar. This watch was also retailed by the house Leroy ?? L. Leroy & Cie, Paris, No. 58 515 ?? and presented in 1920 by King Alphonse XII of Spain (1886-1941), to Count Vicente Santamaria de Paredes (1853-1924). This latter (No. 11 820) was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, May 10, 2015, lot 159, for the amount of CHF 351 750.- Another watch of this type is known, retailed by Charles Oudin, Paris, No. 32 440, with the indication of the moon but without thermometer. This latter was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, October 21, 1995, lot 572. This kind of watch is at the time of their creation recorded in the archives of the house Louis Audemars in the register of "Montres supérieures” (Superior watches). Examining this watch one cannot help admiring the ingenuity and variety of the design, as well as the attention paid to the details. The finish of the escapement, with its equidistant pallets and the undercut of the escape wheel to make it lighter but still stable; the polish of the steel, the arrangement of the cadrature (the work under the dial), are on a par with the best horological work done. The dédoublante of the split-seconds dead independent seconds is operated by a single push-piece in the crown. The first push brings both “chronograph” hands together and starts the dead seconds with both hands. The second push stops one of the hands, the third push stops the split-seconds hand. Branicki de Korczak, François-Xavier (in Polish, Franciszek Ksawery Branicki) Warsaw, Poland, October 26, 1816 ?? Assiut, Khedivate of Egypt, November 20, 1879 Count Xavier Branicki was a Polish nobleman, political exile and landowner who took French nationality. He became a political writer, financier, art collector and philanthropist. He was the owner and restorer of the Château de Montrésor and estate (Touraine) in France. He was descended from a powerful magnate family with immense land holdings in the Duchy of Lithuania and in Ukraine, partly as a result, it is said, of a family connection with Catherine the Great. He was a member of the close circle of Napoléon III. He was a cofounder of the Crédit Foncier de France, a bank that continues to this day. He marries Pélagie (Pelagia) Cécile Eve Zamoyska but remains without legitimate descent; However, he has several natural children, including Augustin (Xavier Vadislas Constantin Augustyn; Paris, April 19, 1853 ?? 1905), son of Sydonia Szumla?ska Revitiski, who has been acknowledged by his father but will not have good relations with him. He will be a diplomat, spouses in 1876 Anna Stolypin, publish various things (Les Griffes du chat, Paris, 1900) and wrote in Bonapartist newspapers. Xavier Branicki is in his time, one of the richest men in France. Following an accidental death during a cruise in Egypt, without legitimate posterity, his nephew Ksawery Wladyslaw inherited his fortune and Montrésor Castle. Bibliography Skorha, Line, “Un magnat polonais en Touraine, Xavier Branicki (1816-1879)”, in Bulletin de la Société Archéologique de Touraine, T. XXXIX, 1980, pp. 555-569.