[World Expositions: Pocket Watches, Watchmakers:] Enrique Grandjean y Ca.
C.1870s Swiss watchmaker’s numbered certificate of authenticity and related trade card
Colorful and beautifully printed ephemera from Swiss luxury watchmakers Henri Grandjean & Cie.—here Enrique Grandjean y Ca.—of Le Locle in the Canton of Neuchâtel.
The purchaser of their watch Number 29857 received a certificate touting the number of gold medals won by the firm of Enrique Grandjean y Ca. at international expositions in London (1851, 1862), New York (1853), Paris (1855, 1867), etc. This Spanish-language certificate is filled in by hand with that serial number and the handwritten “signature” of the firm. The certificate is in an envelope labeled “Certificado” and hand numbered 29857.
The certificate warns against fraudulent or counterfeit goods and reproduces images of the Neuchâtel goldsmiths’ marks, guaranteeing the purity of the gold, which should appear on their watches. The watchmaker’s name is a brand of quality:
Certificamos que el Reloj No. 29857 es de nuestra fabrica y recomendamos a los compradores que se fijen bien en el numero, en los timbres antedichos y principalmente en la marca “Hi Grandjean & Cie, Locle.” Locle (Suiza) [in manuscript:] Hry Grandjean & Cie.
(We certify that the Watch No. 29857 is from our factory and we recommend that buyers pay attention to the number, the abovementioned stamps and mainly the brand “Hi Grandjean & Cie, Locle.” Locle (Suiza) [in manuscript:] Hry Grandjean & Cie.)
The certificate is accompanied by a Spanish-language trade card showing the company’s logotype as well as the gold medal they received at the international exposition held in Paris in 1878.
According to The Popular Guide to the International Exhibition of 1862 (Cambridge, 2014 ): “The head of this firm [Messrs. Henry Grandjean and Co.] has, for upwards of thirty years, strenuously devoted himself to the introduction into Switzerland of the manufacture of the very best description of watches, and has more particularly paid attention to the construction of marine chronometers. In this he has been very successful, and the naval authorities of various countries have expressed their high opinion of his merits. ... He also shows pocket-chronometers, which embody all the results of the experience obtained by him during the many years which he has devoted himself to their improvement.”
“Henri Grandjean (1803–1879). Swiss chronometer-maker. Established in Le Locle, Switzerland, in 1824, Grandjean Henri et Compagnie S.A. was a specialist manufacturer of pocket watches with grande and petite sonnerie, and marine chronometers. Henri Grandjean was a founder of the Neuchâtel Observatory in 1858, and the recipient of numerous First Class medals and awards. Alongside Ulysse Nardin and Louis Richard, he was one of the first to establish marine chronometer manufacturing in Switzerland.”¹
Henri Grandjean & Cie. pocket watches and chronometers of the 19th century are much valued by today’s collectors of luxury goods and haute joaillerie. The firm’s watches often sell at important international auction houses in the upper five figures in U.S. Dollars.
Description: [World Expositions: Pocket Watches, Watchmakers:] Enrique Grandjean y Ca.
Zurich [Switzerland]: Lith C. Knusli, c.1873. pp. Certificate. 4¾ x 3 inches. Chromolithograph with letterpress; manuscript additions on final page. Text in Spanish. Very good. [sold with:] [Np, np, c.1878]. p. Trade Card. 4½ x 3 inches. Chromolithograph; embossed. Text in Spanish. Very good. The pair accompanied by a partly printed envelope, 3¼ x 5 inches, with matching manuscript annotation.
Ref. Henri Grandjean - Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie accessed online.