A mint and substantial solid 18k gold pocket watch with solid Lapis Lazuli inset back made in Paris by the famous maker, LeRoy & Fils in the early 19th century, dating from the just after the Napoleonic War Era. The watch is ticking away strongly and comes with a period winding key and keeping good time, recently cleaned and overhauled by my watch-maker. This unusual watch in a very high quality engraved solid 18k gold slim L'Epine calibre case, so clearly made for someone with a deep pocket when new, 200 years ago. This is a beautifully made French key-wound man's pocket watch, dating from ca. 1815-1820, from the late Georgian period. The watch is marked 18k gold and with French control marks for the period 1815-25 and most unusually inset with Lapis Lazuli. The watch is in full working order and comes complete with a key for winding and presentation box.
Lapis lazuli (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is a semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense blue color. Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for 6,500 years, and trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian sites, and lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.
THE DIAL: 100% mint, the stunning gold dial with fine black Roman numerals in bright condition with engine turned effect to centre of the dial. Dial with blue steel spade hands in excellent and original condition. Diameter is 27 mm. The period glass is also in excellent condition.
THE MOVEMENT: 100% mint, with finely mercurial gilded plates and finely engraved balance cock, in very bright and crisp condition. A shiny blued steel Bosely regulator, and a substantial diamond endstone setting. All the fine blued steel screws are in superb order with no damage. A large gilded balance, showing little wear and fine cylinder escapement. The movement with lots of nice features such as an outside set-up ratchet wheel, and very clean condition. The watch is much brighter and crisp than in these dark photos, which are limited by my camera and lighting equiment. The watch is in very good working order for its age. The watch is key-wound, comes with a period watch key, small pouch and presentation box. The watch is set through the back for winding and via the central square for hands-set also through the rear cover.
THE MAKER: This French maker, Charles LeRoy & Fils, Horlogers of 114 Et 115, Palais Royal, Paris, is recorded as working in the period ca. 1788 through to 1825. The firm had royal patronage to the Emperor Napoleon, the King of Westphalia, Princesss Pauline and the Duc of Bourbon. The firm went through various minor name changes in this period, but the quality remained remarkably high, as did the price of the watches.
THE CASE: 100%, the the solid 18K gold case measures an impressive 28 mm outside diameter and the complete watch weighs a substantial 21 grams. The hinged lids are in excellent order with all the covers all closing tightly, and the bow is original and tight to the case. The watch with French marks and 18K stamps. The original top pendant and bow also in stunning condition. The case band with raised finely ribbed profile. The rear of the case inset with a beautiful piece of deep blue Lapis Lazuli, very striking and effective, with the odd minor mark to the surface. This is a high quality case, with deep and rich engraving to the case back and all over the case band, a work of art in its own right in crisp condition and of jewel like quality.