Bonhams Auction

May 7

Bonhams Auction

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Lot 160 featured a fine and rare 18k yellow gold open faced Breguet pocket watch which was made for Paul Iribe; a French designer and illustrator. This watch was sold to him for 10,800 Francs (approximately £7272) in December 1933.

Paul Iribe was initially well known for his caricatures featured in Parisian journals but in 1912 his career took a significant turn; he was commissioned by Jacques Doucet, the Couturier to furnish his Paris apartment and three of these furniture pieces are still exhibited in the Musee des Decoratifs in Paris today. He later moved to Hollywood to design stage sets for Cecil B De. Mille, including in ‘The Ten Commandments’ film in 1923.

Iribe had been married twice and divorced again in 1928, when he met Coco Chanel in Paris. The main repeated character in the cartoons he drew for magazines bares a dazzling resemblance to Coco Chanel. They formed a strong connection through sharing the same controversial nationalist political views. By 1933, they collaborated on designing a jewellery collection commissioned by the International Guild of Diamond Merchants. It was made almost entirely from diamonds and platinum, based on the Hollywood themes of knots, stars and feathers. Named the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection, it was exhibited at Coco Chanel’s home in the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in Paris where huge crowds gathered to view the pieces. Is it a coincidence that this watch was bought by Paul Iribe in the same year.


The watch features an engine turned automatic movement with an oscillating winding weight made of platinum, a silver engine turned dial with offset chapter ring, seconds sub dial at 6 0’clock, retrograde power reserve indicator under 12 0’clock, blue steel hands and an engine turned hinged case.

This beautiful timepiece with an interesting history sold for £26,250 at the Bonhams auction.

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