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These watches have been made for the Chinese market around 1850-1880. Most of them have been manufactured by Swiss watchmakers like Bovet. Their nice movements (with duplex or lever escapement) are fully engraved. Currently they are quite affordable, but I have noticed that the prices are rising. The collectors really like them. In fact, they were undervalued some years ago...


The most interesting models have a duplex escapement : the second hand moves every second like a quartz watch.





The pendant is characteristic



The nice movement with duplex escapement











An other one











A nice pair cased model with a very special movement











A rare gold model made by Fiebelmann (Rotterdam)











And finally, a very rare animated erotic model with lever escapement


<mod edit: Sorry, but those pictures aren't suited for a family-friendly forum!>










I hope that you have appreciated this little article :)
 

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The last watch is interesting, because it is signed in a phonetic transliteration of "Bovet" in slightly clumsy Chinese, which is expected of that period.
 

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A couple of interesting features of these watches that ties in with modern Chinese-made timepieces (from the 1950s onward):

1. The importance of a sweep second hand. This seems to be a consistent priority for both 19th century foreign watches made specifically for China and also for 20th century Chinese made watches.

2. The offset 2nd wheel and centered 4th wheel to achieve a directly-driven sweep hand. This is probably necessary to eliminate the stutter that the crab-tooth duplex escapement would deliver through an indirect sweep hand. But what makes it interesting for me is that this train layout didn't arrive in wristwatches until Zenith 'discovered' it in 1948. Even more interesting is that this layout, in a open-frame construction (a faint echo of the Bovet skeleton?), was adopted in the standard Chinese alarm clock design introduced in 1958.

Just a couple of reasons why I'd like to own one of these watches. Not to mention that the 'Chinese Duplex' (aka Crab Tooth Duplex) escapement is as cool as it is silly :-d The problem is that for years whenever I see one in even remotely serviceable condition on ebay it has gone for much more than I can afford. :-(
 
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Discussion Starter #6
The erotic dial of the last watch (the picture had been removed, but it is OK now) :

 

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Thanks for sharing these wonderful watches...real eye candy!
 

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Does this one has anything to do with chinese market?
Looking at OP photos or even the archive photos seller provides it visually just does not compare and feels like several quality levels below..
Possibly that is an illusion created by this watch being a lot smaller than other examples?

Regardless of the quality of finish, this watch possesses all the technical and decorative features that were specific to the 19th century Chinese market e.g. duplex escapement, directly-driven sweep second hand, offset 2nd wheel, elaborately decorated skeleton bridges, glass movement cover. I can't imagine this watch being made for any purpose other than to be sold in China. The opening button being styled as a mock winding crown would seem to indicate a late example of this type of watch.
 

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Wonderful "different" watches :),
thank you for sharing and the first one would be my favorite too. I also agree that the rices race up. I don't own one because the don't match with m collection and you can't collect all, but since I've seen the Duplex second working I always have a view on these movements. I just detect tht a lot of different qualities excist but this doesn't play a role for the price in the bay ..crazy.

Thanks Silke
 

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Any ideas on this one, please?
Can the maker to be determined?

I noticed these occur in very different sizes.
Which are the more attractive ones, the smaller ones in Lady size?

Thanks in advance,
Monako.
 

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the maker is Fritz Bovet of Fleurier
regards enrico
Thanks very much, Enrico!
How were you able to tell?
By the construction or by deciphering the Chinese letters?

Sorry for asking stupid questions here, I am helpless almost with watches.

Best from Monaco di Baviera,
Monako.
 
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