3.07 – Clockmaking in France

Last Update: 07-25-2022 @ 10:48

3.07.1 – Clockmaking in France: The Highlights

Middle Age

  • 12th century – The ecclesiastics divided the day into uneven parts, thereby organizing the artisans’ work. Subsequently, the bourgeois divided the day and night into equal parts, allowing the night work and guards’ turn. Only a few clocks are left of this period, only miniature turrets with an open cage and a dial on one side.
  • 1176 – Construction of Charles V’s clock for the Cathédrale de Sens. This clock had no dial or needle but weights that rotated a twisted wheel that struck on a bell at the time of the hour. The escapement had not yet been invented. Four churchwardens were tasked with lifting the weights after each bell. It was a device that tells the time, from the Greek hora for an hour and legein for to tell, which created the word horloge in French, or Horologium in Latin.
  • 1292 – As far back as we can go, it seems that Jehan the Aulogier was to be identified as the first French watchmaker.
  • 1299 – Pierre Piepelard built for Philippe IV le Bel “a completely iron-free silver housing with two silver counterweights filled with lead” (“un reloge d’argent tout entièrement sans fer avec deux contrepoids d’argent remplis de plom”) for which he received 6 livres tournois (former French account currency).
  • 1334 – Charles V commanded the building of the Palace’s interior clock. In the same year, the first clock was installed at the Saint-Jacques-aux-Pèlerins hospital in Paris, built by wealthy bourgeois people to serve as a reception point for pilgrims from Compostelle. Few patients have received care there. This era’s clocks required a lot of attention and were often replaced. Old records indicate that much time and money was spent on maintaining and replacing them.
  • 1370 – Charles V is said to have had one of the first public clocks installed on the Palais de la Cité in Paris by the watchmaker of Lorraine, Henri de Vic. He then orders that all the kingdom’s clocks synchronize time with it.
  • 1430 and 1492 – Apparently, the monks had clocks that warned them of the time of prayer. During the Middle Ages, several clocks were hand-crafted, mostly made of iron, and resembled public buildings’ turrets in their structure. Most of them were weight clocks. But the appearance of the first springs towards the end of the 15th century, allowed in 1492 to develop the first watch.

16th century

  • 1518 – At that time, efforts were made to reduce the size of watches: Julien Coudray, watchmaker of King Francis I, would have designed the first portable clock.
  • 1530 – The fact that the king was installed in Blois will make this city an important watchmaking center, the first center of watch production. François the First acquired two small watches inserted in daggers, made by his watchmaker.
  • 1544 – The watch industry was influenced by an association of craftsmen and merchants, the French Clocks Corporation, created in 1544 with King François I’s permission. It regulated the manufacture and sale of clocks, clock parts, and materials. It was a matter of ensuring the quality of the quality. But this corporation’s main purpose was to maintain its members’ rights and privileges. To obtain gold and silver and the privilege of working these metals for watch and clock cases, the Clock Corporation was doing business with the Goldsmiths Corporation. The French Watchmakers’ grip lasted until the French Revolution.
  • 1551 – Jacques Delagarde, a watchmaker from Blois, creates the first French watch. He was the king’s watchmaker from 1578 to 1580.

17th century

  • 1600-1685 – The clocks of this period are quite large and mostly made of metal. They have different shapes, cylindrical or hexagonal. There are also drum clocks and square metal table clocks engraved with ornaments in the Italian Renaissance style. The dial is placed on top. Size reduction efforts were made to produce watches that could be worn to always have time with you, at the expense of clocks.
  • Grollier de Servières, Nicolas (1596-1686) – French engineer Nicolas Grollier de Servières, born in Lyon in 1596 and died around 1686, invented all kinds of mysterious mechanics and clocks, such as “ball clock, clocks-hourglass, globe-shaped, mouse clock, turtle, etc.” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation). He exhibited his “fantastic machines” in his Cabinet des Curiosités Place Louis-Le-Grand in Lyon. In 1719, his grandson published the “Collection of Curious Books of Mathematics and Mechanics,” a catalog of objects from his grandfather’s Cabinet. We also owe Nicolas the arrow clock: an arrow attached to a chain goes around a round dial where pearls mark the hours. He also made a clock where “a celestial globe on the circumference where the hours are described, which rotates on the head of an Atlas that wears it, to make the current hour mark at a fixed needle” (Wikipedia). In a way, Nicolas Grollier de Servières was the forerunner of the fancy clocks (Novelty Clocks).
  • 1674 – Abbot Jean de Haute-Feuille (Orléans, 1647-1724) “published in 1674, in the “Journal des Scavants (sic),” a “memory on how to balance the oscillations of a portable clock regulator, using a skinny, very delicate and strongly attached blade to the body of the clock.” Seeking the solution to the problem of longitudes since 1701, he objected to the registration of the privilege of Huygens, unnecessarily for that matter. (…) In 1701, he introduced a loxodromic machine to find longitude. In 1722 he presented a rake-anchor exhaust. He published various memoirs and polemics from 1675 to 1722.” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation)

18th century

  • 1736 – The watchmaker Julien Le Roy introduced the Equation clock, and his son Pierre later perfected the marine chronometer.
  • 1750 and ff. – This is the golden age of French watchmaking. Clocks are produced in Paris and not far away, in Trevillers and every major city in France, such as Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Lyon. In the middle of the 18th century, a movement called Les Pendules de Paris began, lasting until the dawn of the Second World War. Paris’s clocks are characterized by the presence of the famous French round movements of which there will be four varieties according to their diameter, from 2 3/4 inches French (1 inch – 27.07 mm) to 3 1/3 inches. For more technical details about these movements’ evolution, see The Paris Movement website.
  • 1750 and ff – In the countryside, the Comtoise takes place in the modest mansions and the richest. In addition to France-Comté (Morbier and Morez), several other regions of France, particularly on the edge of Switzerland, have seen the emergence of clock and timepiece factories. Nomons Belfort, Montbéliard, Audocourt, Beaucourt, Besançon, Morteau. In the east of France, close to Strasbourg, the small towns of Alsace, Mulhouse, and Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont have seen several watchmakers settle there.
  • 1792-1795 – During the French Revolution, the king’s master watchmakers had to take refuge elsewhere or work incognito. The fervor for the clocks has gone out. But the governments that followed encouraged the watch industry. Watchmakers such as Abraham-Louis Breguet, Antide Janvier, and several others have introduced industrial manufacturing methods into French watchmaking as unparalleled refinement. The neoclassical style is at its peak, and the highly decorated clocks in marble, bronze, or wood, Portico type, or with statuettes carved by the best sculptors and artisans of bronze are legion.

19th century

  • 1801 – The Japy brothers played a key role in developing the French watch industry. Their factory could produce 100 000 movements a year at the beginning of the 19th century. The clocks’ style remained as ostentatious as in the late 18th century, a touch of romanticism added by grafting heroic and chivalrous characters that echoed the renewed Gothic and Rococo styles.
  • 1867 and ff. – The Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867 boosted French clockmaking. The middle classes were increasingly interested in clocks. The more ostentatious the clocks were, the more they became a symbol of social success for the bourgeoisie.
  • 1870-1871 – The Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the Franco-Prussian War, dealt a major blow to the French clock industry, as German clocks were now sold in France, free of import duties.

20th century

  • Pendule de Paris Despite the Treaty of Frankfurt, French clock manufacturers could hold on and occupy a good market position. The Pendule de Paris remained extremely popular.
  • 1914-1918 – The First World War caused domestic clock manufacturing to almost stop. But some clockmakers took the opportunity to develop complex military clocks such as chronographs, both for the navy and aviation. Officer portable clocks were also trendy in the army.
  • 1920 – The 1920s, called the Roaring Twenties, brought a new lease of life to domestic clocks. New styles appeared like Art Nouveau and Art Deco, allowing a certain French clock industry expansion.
  • 1929 – Unfortunately, the 1929 crisis brought doubts about economic progress in the 1920s in France, and the French watch industry suffered greatly.
  • 1939-1945 – World War II, the mobilization, the German invasion of France, and the bombings that destroyed the clock factories created the perfect storm. And the French clock industry was never the same again.

3.07.2 – Famous French Clockmakers and Manufacturers

BAYARD

Bayard Desk Clock Art deco

Bayard, whose real name is Pierre Terrail de Bayard, is not a watchmaker, as everyone knows, but a 15th-century knight who was said to be “fearless and blameless.” The ancestors of the Réveils Bayard were three partners, Albert Villon, Paul Duverdrey, and Joseph Bloquel. But the company Les Réveils Bayard wasn’t really created until 1962.
(Sources for the following information: Réveils Bayard, and Wikipedia (both in French)

(Image ID198 – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)

  • BAYARDtm In 1928, the Bayard brand was officially registered in honor of the famous “Fearless and blameless Knight.” In 1930, the animated alarm clock, the Bayard Mickey Mouse, was born. In 1947, Raphael Hennion succeeded Robert Duverdrey, who had just died. In May 1950, Bayard revivals were made in Casablanca, Morocco.
  • FAMOUS – A new company called Famous (Fabrication Moderne et Usinage) produced Bayard alarm clocks for department stores in Bonnières-sur-Seine in 1955. Under the leadership of a new CEO, Edmond Forest, appointed in 1959, the Casablanca plant was closed in 1961. Instead, he set up a factory in San Sebastian, Spain. The alarm clocks were made and sold under the brand name O’Bayardo with the mention Made in Spain.
  • RÉVEILS BAYARD, S. A. – Réveils Bayard, S. A. replaced the Societé des anciens établissements Duverdrey and Bloquel in 1962. The following year, Réveils Bayard, S. A. discontinued the Spanish brand O’Bayardo, and repatriated the equipment and parts to France. In 1964, they closed Famous. In 1967, the Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont plant was able to produce more than one million movements per year.
  • RÉVEILS BAYARD, S. A. (Matra Group) – From 1978 to 1984, the Matra-Horlogerie Group, a subsidiary of Jaeger-Lecoultre, became the majority shareholder of Réveils Bayard.
  • NOUVELLE SOCIÉTÉ DES RÉVEILS BAYARD – In 1984, the company, following financial difficulties, had to file for bankruptcy. It was then that the Nouvelle société des réveils Bayard was created. It will not be more successful because it will file its balance sheet two years later.
  • LAVAL – About 50 Bayard employees tried to save the company with the Centrale d’Horlogerie-Bijouterie Laval in 1987. This attempt did not last long. After 15 months, it had to close its doors. In 1989, all Bayard’s equipment and remaining parts were sold at a public auction.
  • SPIERO – The brand was purchased by Spiero, a wholesaler and retailer of watch products, in existence since 1919. Some of their products bear the Bayard brand, but its font differs from the original. Moreover, they do not bear the indication Made in France.

BERTHOUD, Ferdinand (1727-1807)

Ferdinand Berthoud Portrait

Born in Placemont-sur-Couvert, Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in 1727. He moved to Paris around 1745. In 1786 he entered the service of the king and navy as a mechanical clockmaker. He will make several marine clocks. He also wrote many books such as Essai sur l’horlogerie (Essay on Watchmaking), Traité des horloges marines (Treatise on Marine Clocks), Histoire de la mesure du temps (History of the Measurement of Time). Besides, he had a shop in Paris from 1789 to 1806. He died in 1807. For more details, see Wikipedia.
(Public domain image)

BERTHOUD, Pierre-Louis (1754-1813)

French clockmaker of Swiss origin, born in Placemont in 1754, Pierre-Louis Berthoud is the nephew of Ferdinand Berthoud, of whom he will be an apprentice. In 1784, he was hired as a student clockmaker and mechanic in the Navy. He will mainly make marine chronometers. For more details, see Wikipedia (in French).

BOULLE, André-Charles (1642-1732)

A cabinetmaker, founder, and engraver of Louis XIV, André-Charle Boulle resided in the Louvre from 1673. He developed several very luxurious wooden and bronze clock cases. He used marquetry extensively in the clock cases and furniture he designed. He created such a trend that many clocks were named ‘Boulle clocks”. A Wikipedia article is dedicated to his work as a cabinetmaker.

BREGUET

Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), Swiss clockmaker settled in France in 1765

BREGUET ET CIE (1775-1820): Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) was born in Le Locle, canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. At 18, he left Switzerland for Versailles and Paris, where he apprenticed as a clockmaker with Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine. He opened a workshop in 1775 in Paris at 39 Clock Wharf. In 1784, Breguet entered the court.
(Public domain image)

  • SOCIÉTÉ BREGUET POUR LE COMMERCE DE L’HORLOGERIE ET BIJOUTERIE (1787-1791) – In 1787, Abraham-Louis Breguet teamed up with Xavier Gide and founded the Société Breguet pour le commerce de l’horlogerie et bijouterie (Breguet Society for the Watch and Jewelry Trade – my translation). His reputation as a clockmaker extended beyond the borders of France. In 1780, Breguet created an automatic winding, the “Perpétuelle” (Perpetual). It had a shaking mechanism that allowed the rewinding. In 1783, Marie-Antoinette ordered a watch with a “Great Complication,” which was not completed until 1827. Breguet innovated by introducing guilloche dials in 1786. Around 1791, the revolution rumbled. His partner left him for “both political and economic” reasons (Tardy, 1972). Moreover, his municipal political involvement caused him so many problems that he had to leave France in 1793 to join Switzerland with his son Antoine-Louis (1776-1858), who had returned from England, where he had been Arnold’s apprentice. He then tried to open a workshop in Neuchâtel but with little success.
    Abraham-Louis returned to Paris in 1795 to find his studio, whose building had been abandoned, completely looted. After many representations, he eventually found all the tools and inventions he had provided the list at the state’s expense. He continued his work as a clockmaker and regained his early fame in France. He invented the Tourbillon, patented in 1801, a perpetual calendar, and the Breguet spiral. He filed a patent in 1798 for a constant-force escapement. He collected honors and titles, including the Légion d’honneur.
    In 1808, he opened the “House of Russia” in St. Petersburg. He was then made clockmaker of Her Majesty and the Russian Imperial Navy. Unfortunately, in 1811, Tsar Alexander, in opposition to Napoleon’s policies, blocked French imports, ending the House of Russia. But in France, King Louis XVIII appointed Breguet as a member of the Académie des Sciences. Breguet exhibited at the Paris exhibition of 1819 several original pieces, including “a military counter for the troop’s step and a repeat and equation watch, both commissioned by the Tsar; (…) a double clock with two pendulums for the King of England, regularizing one by the other; an astronomical counter with an observation bezel allowing appreciation to 1/100e of a second.” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation) In 1823, Breguet was a jury member of the Exposition national des produits de l’industrie (National Exhibition of Industry Products).
  • BREGUET ET FILS (1820-1833) – Abraham-Louis Breguet joined forces with his son Antoine-Louis in 1820 under the name  Breguet et Fils. In 1830, Breguet et Fils introduced the first pocket watch that could be rewound without a key but neglected to patent it so that others reused the idea. Breguet was awarded a gold medal in 1827.
  • L. BREGUET ET FILS (1833-1840) – In 1833, Louis-Antoine retired and sold the company to his son Louis-Clément-François (1804-1883). The name became L. Breguet et Fils. In 1834 and 1844, Breguet received two more gold medals. Louis-Clément-François researched the field of telegraph and electricity. He developed “a system of electric clocks transmitting time remotely.” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation). He was awarded the Légion d’honneur. Over the years, the company diversified into electricity and aviation.
  • BREGUET NEVEU ET CIE (1840-1870) – In 1840, Louis-Clément-François joined forces with his nephew under the name  Breguet Neveu et Cie.
  • BREGUET-> EDWARD BROWN (1870-1970) – In 1870, Louis-Clément-François Breguet parted his watch division in favor of his shop manager Edward Brown, who manufactured watches in Clerkenwell, England. The latter’s family will continue to develop the company over the years.  The Breguet will also get several awards and patents.
  • BREGUET – CHAUMET (1970-1987) – In 1970, the Brown family sold the company to the Chaumet brothers, Pierre and Jacques, who moved it to Le Brassus in Switzerland in 1976.
  • BREGUET HORLOGER GROUP (GHB) – INVESTCORP (1987-1999) – In 1987, Chaumet was in financial difficulty, and Investcorp seized it and transferred watch production to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland and opened up new markets in Asia and North America. In 1991, Investcorp purchased Valdar and integrated it with GHB. He did the same in 1992 with New Lemania,  a watch movement manufacturer.
  • BREGUET SA WATCHES – SWATCH GROUP (1999-….) – In 1999, Swatch Group bought GHB and retained only the Breguet brand. It has outlets in Paris, Zurich, and Shanghai that act as Breguet’s Museums of Works.

BROCOT (Sources: John G. Kirk, Tardy, 1972 and Wikipedia)

Visible Brocot Escapement
Brocot Visible Escapement (Image CP – All rights reserved, Bordloub)
  • LOUIS-GABRIEL BROCOT (1791-1872) – Louis-Gabriel arrived in Paris at a very young age in 1803. He was already able to read and had a good background in mathematics. After an apprenticeship in clockmaking, he worked at his shop in Paris from 1820 to 1850. He sold what was then called the “Pendule de Paris.” He used the drafts of Henri Pons to make their silk-wire suspension. Louis-Gabriel perfected the Pons drafts’ ringing mechanism and the escapement and suspension. He invented two pallets and anchor escapement (1826 patent), placed in front of the dial, making its structure and operation visible, as in the illustration above. He obtained several patents, including one for a clock with rake ringing and dead-beat escapement (1840) developed with his sons. Louis-Gabriel had five sons, two of whom worked as clockmakers, Antoine-Gabriel, the eldest son, and Louis-Achille, the middle-born son. In his descendants, two other Brocots were involved in clockmaking, his grandson Jean-Louis, son of his son Gustave-Amédée, and Paul-Louis, son of Louis-Achille.
  • ANTOINE-GABRIEL BROCOT (1814-1874) – The oldest son of Louis-Gabriel, Antoine-Gabriel Brocot, developed machinery for making suspensions (1858 patent) and parts that ébauches makers didn’t provide, such as hammers, gongs, bells, and suspensions (1863 and 1866 patents).
  • LOUIS-ACHILLE BROCOT (1817-1874) – Son of Louis-Gabriel, Louis-Achille Brocot worked with his father and continued his work until the middle of the 19th  century. He obtained several patents for improvements to the escapement and rake chiming, and he invented a pendulum-spring suspension called Brocot, whose trademark was filed in 1874 by his widow. He also designed a thermal compensation clock (patent 1847), a perpetual clock-calendar mechanism (patent 1849), and even a clock capable of operating for four years. For more details, see the excellent presentation by John G.Kirk.
  • BROCOT ET DELETTREZ (1851-1870) – Louis-Achille Brocot had a shop on Rue Charlot in Paris with Jean-Baptiste Dellettrez 1851 and 1870 to market his perpetual calendar clock.
  • JEAN-LOUIS BROCOT (1855-1885) – He had a suspension and suspension spring factory based on his grandfather and uncle Antoine’s patents. He also obtained three patents in 1877, 1878, and 1879 for minor improvements to his grandfather and uncle’s suspensions.
  • PAUL-LOUIS BROCOT (1846-1883) – Paul-Louis Brocot is the family’s artist. Although he received training in horology, his specialty was the bronze statues he created and sold himself in Paris with clocks.

CALOR HOME APPLIANCES, S. A.

Calor from Lyon, specializing in manufacturing electrical appliances of all kinds, also manufactured Calor kitchen clocks in the 1960s.

CARTIER – Paris

Louis François Cartier (1819-1904) created a company in Paris that would become famous in jewelry and luxury watches on the remains of his master Adolphe Picard’s jewelry. His son Louis-François-Alfred (1841-1925) became a partner in 1874 and master on board in 1879, who developed the division of watches and clocks. But it was not until 1924 that Cartier put his name on clocks. Between 1911 and 1930, Cartier developed the famous mystery clock of which Maurice Coet, with whom he had partnered, is the true inventor. This clock had no mechanism connected to the hands that seemed to float. It was launched in 1912 under Model A. Cartier also produced a small ticking clock with or without a repeat mechanism. Louis Cartier, who was owed Cartier’s golden age, died in 1942. Jaeger Le Coultre will provide Cartier’s watch movements for about twenty years. Cartier will also sell watches from Swiss manufacturers such as Piaget, Vacheron, Philippe Patek, etc. In 1972, a group of financiers bought the company and revived it by creating the 1973 collection Les Must de Cartier. The following year, the same group bought Cartier from London. In 1988, Cartier installed the production of watches and clocks in Switzerland. For more details, click HERE.

CATTIN, Césaire Émile (1904-1979) -> Cattin and Co.

Césaire Émile Cattin (1904-1979) founded a company called Cattin et Cie. in 1926 in Morteau, in the department of Doubs in Franche-Comté, to manufacture watches. In 1947, with a partner, Martial Vuillemin, he made sketches and dials in a former hotel built in 1939. Cattin et Cie could make nearly 30 000 watches annually. From 1947 to 1950, Cattin opened a watchmaking school for the disabled. From 1954 to 1987, the company had an outlet in Paris. He built a new factory in 1961. When its founder died in 1979, his two sons took over the company’s management but only for a short time as they died in 1982. The man who later took over the company’s management died in 1985. In 1988, Jacques Bouhelier, who took over LIP in 1984, took over. But when he retired in 1989, he sold his shares to a group of investors that sold the company to the Société Mortuacienne d’Horlogerie (SMH  –  not to be confused with SMH of Switzerland), which manufactured watches under the brand Kiplé, La montre qui plaît (The watch that pleases). In 1989, he retired from SMH and sold his shares to Orfimor, an investors’ group. The following year the company filed for bankruptcy and was liquidated.

COUAILLET, Armand (1865-1954)

Armand Couaillet (1865-1954) is a self-taught watchmaker trained with Albert Villon de Saint-Nicolas-d’Aliermont, founder of the Réveil-matin Bayard. In 1893, he opened a workshop there. In 1902, his workshops had nearly 150 employees. The following year, he teamed up with his brothers Ernest and Henri to create the Établissements Couaillet et Frères,  which produced mantle and travel clocks. In 1912, following a fire, the Couaillet brothers bought the workshops formerly occupied by Honoré Pons and continued to make travel clocks, shell parts, and telegraphs. After the first great war, they bought a new factory in Saint-Ouen where they made parts for airplanes. A second fire ended the company. In 1932, Armand Couaillet relocated, this time to the family property. He made new movements for alarm clocks. But he could not afford to pay the sums required to patent them, so his inventions fell into the public domain. Following his death in 1954, his sons and grandsons took over, and the company was called Couaillet-Maruanne-Quesnel. In 2011, it will take the name of Couaillet Usinage. For more details, see  Wikipedia.

COUËT, Maurice

Maurice Couët was a designer and watchmaker of genius. Louis Cartier had discovered and hired him. He developed unique clocks for Cartier, including a mystery clock. For more details, click HERE.

DODANE

Alphonse Dodane and his father-in-law François-Xavier Joubert created the Établissements Dodane Frères in Besançon in 1857, an ébauches and watches manufactures. The plant was located in the Doubs Gorge, where it derived the hydraulic power needed to operate its machines. In 1905, the company moved its facilities to upper Doubs to take advantage of the railway and electricity proximity. At the dawn of the First World War, it developed chronographs used by French aviation. Alphonse-Gabriel Dodane succeeded his father in 1917 and developed inverted chronographs installed in Dassault’s planes. In 1929, Alphonse-Gabriel’s son, Raymond Dodane, took over the company and moved it to Besançon. He obtained all the certifications necessary to be a NATO and French aviation supplier of complex measurement instruments. He also carried on the watch fabrication. In 1983, under Laurent and Michel, Raymond’s son, the company produced more than 100 000 watches distributed on five continents. The factory manufactured chronographs for aircraft by adding an altimeter chronograph. Then it proceeded to supply the world’s aviation. The company fought against the arrival of quartz until 1994. It then gave up its activities. In 2013, Laurent and Frédéric of the fifth generation of Dodanes decided to revive the company based on the continued sales and maintenance of military chronographs. It quickly became NATO’s authorized supplier again. Then they launched chronograph wristwatches that were very successful. It’s still alive and well these days.

DROCOURT, Pierre

In 1853, Pierre Drocourt (1819-1872) founded with his son Alfred (1847-?) in Paris, Drocourt et fils, a travel and carriage clocks factory. He won a Bronze Medal in Paris in 1867. In 1872, Alfred took over. In 1875, the company acquired from the Holingue brothers their workshops in St-Nicolas-d’Aliermont, Upper Normandy. They made for Drocourt and other manufacturers “blancs roulants”, and unfinished ébauches. Then, the movements were encased in Paris, ready to be sold. Drocourt won a silver medal in Paris in 1878 and a gold medal in 1889. Drocourt continued his activities until 1904, when he sold the facilities of Saint-Nicolas-d’Aliermont.

FAVRE-BULLE, Maurice

Born in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, he invented the electromagnetic clock. The following year, he reinvented Alexander Bain’s system. With a colleague, Marius Lavet, he created the Société Bulle et Cie after the war to commercialize his invention. In 1920, he teamed up with André Moulin’s widow to patent an electric clock for commercial production. He created the Compagnie Générale des Appareils Horo-Électriques (General Company of Horo-Electric Devices) to produce the Bulle-clock. More than 300 000 of these clocks, all with the same movement but under different styles (a hundred models), were produced between the 1920s and 1952. For more details, especially on the movement, click HERE.

FARCOT, Eugène (1830-1896)

Henri-Eugène-Adrien Farcot (1830-1896) Portrait, French clockmaker

Watchmaker, engineer, inventor, industrialist, Henri-Eugène-Adrien Farcot was born in 1830 in Sainville. He patented in 1872 the famous Farcot conical pendulum clock. He exhibited his conical pendulum clock topped with statues at various exhibitions, including in London in 1862. He received several awards during his long career. He also obtained patents: a visible escapement in 1859, a clock-based warning device in 1860, an alarm clock, and a conical pendulum in 1865. He died in 1896.
(Public domain image)

  • MANUFACTURE D’HOLOGERIE E. FARCOT (Paris 1853-1856) – In 1853, Eugène Farcot founded the Manufacture d’horlogerie E. Farcot in Paris, where he worked until his retirement in the late 1880s.
  • FARCOT ET CIE (Paris, 1856-1887) – The company changed its name in 1856.
  • FARCOT ET WANDERBERG (Paris, 1887-1914) – In 1880, his son-in-law, Henri-Charles Wanderberg, took over the company, but it was not until 1887 that the firm changed its name to Farcot et Wanderberg. Henri-Charles exhibited a talking clock in 1900. From 1903, Wanderberg’s nephew, Paul Grenon, took over until 1914, when it was closed. Under his leadership, he will propose so-called phonograph clocks.

GARNIER

  • GARNIER, Jean-Paul (1801-1869) – Jean-Paul Garnier was Antide Janvier apprentice. He opened a workshop in Paris in 1825. “In 1830, he filed a patent for a resting escapement for clocks and watches, and in 1847, a patent for an electric clock dispersing electric action to an unlimited number of clocks. In 1849 he exhibited an electric clock, which earned him a gold medal, and in 1851 in London, travel clocks(Tardy 1972 – my translation).
  • GARNIER, Paul (1834-1916) – Paul, son of Jean-Paul Garnier, on his death in 1869, took over the latter’s business. When he died in 1916, he left the Louvre Museum with “56 watches and 3 clocks… provided that one of the Museum’s rooms bears his name” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation).
  • BLOT (1871-1938) – Blot, nephew of Paul Garnier, succeeded him in 1916. “He published with Chevalier a study on automatic clock reassembly (1913)” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation). The store on Boulevard Hausmann had since 1900 been incorporated into a Société Anonyme (S. A.) in which Blot owns 20% of the shares, with Lavigne and Georges Mayer each holding 40% (Tardy 1972). Blot died in 1938. Léon Hatot acquired the company, but he failed in his attempt to use the name of Paul Garnier, which appeared on the store’s sign.

GRIVOLAS, Claude

Claude Grivolas announced himself as a 400-day clock manufacturer in Paris. He filed a patent for a torsion pendulum clock in 1907, 1909, 1910, and 1911. It was a fairly thick flat disc surmounted in the middle of a pivot to which the escapement wire was attached. His movements were installed in glass lanterns on all sides.

GUILMET, André-Romain

André Romain Guilmet specialized in mystery clocks, obtaining several patents from 1853 to 1887. He ran a boutique workshop on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin in Paris. One of these mystery clocks is displayed at the British Museum in London.

HATOT, Leon (1883-1953)

Léon Hatot was a student of the Besançon School of Watchmaking from 1895 to 1898 and then of the School of Fine Arts. He opened a workshop there in 1905 and produced precious metal watch cases with engravings with a dozen companions. In 1911, he moved to Paris while retaining the manufacturing workshop in Besançon. He then bought Maison Bredillard, specializing in housing assembly, for a long time. Hatot is also increasingly interested in the applications of electricity in the clockmaking industry. In 1920, he established a company dedicated to researching and developing battery-powered watches and clocks. Then, he grouped all his companies in Besançon and Paris under the name Société des Établissements Léon Hatot. Besides, he learns of engineer Marius Lavet’s work on “direct maintenance of pendulum oscillations by an electromagnetic force” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation). In 1923, Hatot teamed up with Lavet at an ATO clock factory in Besançon. These ATO electric clocks were very successful. “In 1925, Hatot won the Grand Prix of the Exposition internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) with a series of Art Deco-style electric clocks. He was made a Knight of the Légion d’honneur. Hatot was one of the founding members of the Société française chronométrique.” (Wikipedia). Hatot acquired Paul Garnier’s company in 1938. He retired in 1960. Leon Hatot is now part of the Swatch Group that keeps the name, but keeps it “dormant” as the site says.

HOURIET, Jacques-Frédéric (1743-1830)

Frédéric Houriet was born in Switzerland. At 16, he left for France with his older brother, a famous engraver. He worked there for nine years with the greatest French clockmakers of the time, such as Pierre and Julien Le Roy, Antide Janvier, Ferdinand, Louis Berthoud, and especially Abraham-Louis Breguet. He returned to the Locle in 1768. See the Swiss watch section for the rest.

JAEGER, Edmond (1858-1922)

He established his first workshop in Paris in 1880. In 1890, he supplied the French Navy with chronometers. In 1903, he developed an extra-flat watch movement with Jacques-David Le Coultre, Antoine’s grandson. In 1915, he created console instruments for airplanes and automobiles with Le Coultre et Cie.

JANVIER, Antide (1751-1835)

Portrait of Antide Janvier (1751-1835), French Clockmaker

Antide Janvier is a genius that history has almost forgotten. Born in the Jura, he became interested in astronomy early. He created an astronomical sphere shown at the Besançon Academy. He was only 15 years old. In 1768 he obtained a certificate of recognition for the latter. He continued his training as a clockmaker as an apprentice. The municipality of Besançon called him to repair a table clock created in 1564. In 1773, he landed in Paris, where he built several planetary planets. During his career, he also produced several large astronomical clocks. Unfortunately, he struggled during the revolution, not being a big supporter of it. He ended his days in poverty. For more details, see Wikipedia.
(Public domain image)

JAPY, Frédéric (1749-1812)

Frédéric Japy is recognized as one of the founders of modern French industry, as he introduced processes for manufacturing mechanized clocks in France. He certainly encouraged the development of Montbéliard, where he was born in a small village in the region called Beaucourt. Coming from a large, rich family, he was sent to Montbéliard to receive his education. He then lived with his clockmaking grandfather, Jacques Frédéric Georges Japy. This no doubt prepared his future vocation. On the eve of his 20th birthday, he went to Switzerland and apprenticed to Abraham Louis Perrelet in Le Locle, specializing in clockmaking tools. Then, two years later, he joined Jean-Jacques Jeanneret Gris in a family of small mechanics inventors at clockmaking service.

He returned to France in 1771 and set up a small workshop in Beaucourt where he made ébauches which he sold to La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, a walking distance from the border. Two years later, he married and relocated his shop to his father-in-law’s premises in Grange-la-Dame, where he had apprentices. In 1776, he bought all the inventions of his master J.-J. Grey and made him make a dozen different machines. He installed it all in a new building built in Beaucourt in 1777. The machines were powered by animal traction, a horse-drawn merry-go-round since there are no streams near his new factory where he makes ébauches at the chain. Some parts are hand-made by workers who work from home. These workers will eventually be integrated into the factory staff. Around 1780, he made 2 400 ébauches a month. In 1806, 500 employees were manufacturing nearly 13 000 of them monthly. He sold them mainly in the Swiss Jura, then in Montbéliard and Besançon. He received his first Bronze medal at the Exposition des Arts et Métiers de Paris. He retired in 1806 wealthy from all his real estate investments and the Légion d’honneur.

JAPY ET FRÈRES

Japy Frères Grand Medal of Honor 1889 Movement

Three of his sons, among 16 children, Fritz-Guillaume (1774-1854), Louis-Frédéric (1777-1852), and Jean-Pierre (1785-1863), trained in their father’s factory, ensured the continuation of the company that they would diversify in the field of kitchen utensils, coffee mills, typewriters, pumps for refrigerators, and hardware, etc. The brothers’ company was named Établissements Japy et Frères. Unfortunately, they will have to dispose of many of these products for lack of profitability. In 1930, they tried to manufacture and sell small clocks in tin cases, but without much success, the Jaz and Blangy brands’ competition was robust. The Second World War will take the end of the enterprise. Nevertheless, the Japy brothers successfully made clockmaking because they received several medals: Gold in 1819, 1823, 1827, 1829, 1844, 1849, and 1850; Silver in 1844 and1849; Grande Médaille d’Honneur (Great Medal of Honor) in 1855 and 1867.

Illustrated a movement of Japy et Frères, whose acronym (not visible here) is the medallion of 1889, with the mention Grande Médaille d’Honneur (Great Medal of Honor
(Image ID017mvt: All rights reserved, Bordloub)

LEPAUTE

  • JEAN-ANDRÉ LEPAUTE (1720-1789) – Jean-André’s father was an iron marshal, taillandier, and locksmith. He encouraged his son to work copper as a smelter. Having created a few pieces for country clocks in 1740, he left for Paris to train in clockmaking. After marrying Nicole Reine Étable, an astronomer and mathematician, he moved with her to the Luxembourg Palace in 1748. He then became the king’s clockmaker. However, he lacked space to carry out his projects and moved to Saint Cloud and brought his brother Jean-Baptiste. He signed his clocks as early as 1750 Lepaute, horloger du Roi (The King’s Clockmaker), although the company was not officially established until 1758. His achievements include an equation clock, a single-wheel clock (1751), and an escapement wheel with pegs on each side (1753). In 1755 he published “Traité d’horlogerie contenant tout ce qui est nécessaire pour bien connaître et régler les pendules et les montres” (The Watch Treaty containing all that is necessary to know well and to adjust clocks and watches), a work that was long a reference in clockmaking. There will be an increased reissue in 1767. He also made several clocks, which he listed in 1766 in his “Description de plusieurs ouvrages d’horlogerie” (Description of Several Watchmaking Works) (Tardy, 1972). He and his brother built several tower clocks, among others, for the Louvre Museum, the Luxembourg Palace, Bellevue Castle, and the Military School (1772). He retired in 1774 and left the suite to his younger brother. He died in 1789, a year after his wife’s death. For more details, see Wikipedia.
  • JEAN-BAPTISTE LEPAUTE (1727-1802) – Jean-Baptiste Lepaute is Jean-André’s younger brother. The latter brought him to Paris in 1747. He has to his credit the development of a horizontal clock that would have been exhibited at the Palais-Royal. In 1774, he took over the family business with his two nephews, Pierre Henry and Pierre-Basile Lepaute, who joined their uncles in 1760.
  • PIERRE HENRY (1743-1806) – Nephew of Jean-André and Jean-Baptiste, Pierre Henry, joined their uncles in 1760. He was part of the Lepaute family by his mother, Elizabeth Lepaute (1717-1748), who had married Jean Henry (1705-1765), a farmer.
  • PIERRE-BASILE called SULLY (1750-1843) – Pierre-Henry’s first cousin, Pierre-Basile Lepaute, also came to Paris in 1760 with his cousin Pierre-Henry. “He is the inventor of the equality winding that he adapted to the astronomical clock built for the Bureau des Longitudes and placed at Observatoire de Paris. He also introduced this mechanism into the clock of the Château de Compiègne.” (Wikipedia – my translation)
  • AUGUSTIN MICHEL ADAM HENRY-LEPAUTE (1800-1885) – Son of Pierre Henry, Augustin Henry-Lepaute was a clockmaker and lighthouse builder. He married his cousin Anaïs Lepaute (1816-1881) in 1834. They had two sons, Edouard (1838-1909) and Paul (1842-1897), who took over their father’s business. Augustin Michel Adam and his two sons could bear the dual name Henry-Lepaute with Emperor Napoleon III’s permission, of whom he was the clockmaker. A tower clockmaking mechanism is kept in Aire-sur-la-Lys in the Pas de Calais. But Augustine and his sons’ contribution was mainly in the field of lighthouses. He had apprenticed with Gustave Eiffel. In 1823 he became associated with Fresnel. Both perfect the headlight lenses that bear the name Fresnel.

L’ÉPÉE

Pierre Henri Paur of Geneva bought installations in Sainte-Susanne in Montbéliard in 1833 to produce music boxes. Unfortunately for him, in 1839, he had great financial difficulty and had to partner with a compatriot, Auguste L’Epée (1798-1875), to revive his business. But he died three months later. L’Épée bought its share from the Paur‘s heirs and, in 1839, created in Ste-Suzanne, L’Épée. The factory continued to manufacture music boxes in huge quantities (more than one million a year in 1860) and incorporated them into children’s toys as early as 1857. From 1850, the factory diversified and began to produce escapement carriers, for which it obtained patents in 1857. It also manufactured complete movements and clocks, especially portable precision clocks. The factory was expanded twice, in 1862 and 1871, and was equipped with powerful steam machine tools. When Augustus died in 1875, his son Henry took over and accentuated the manufacture of escapement carriers and movements. In 1889, the factory produced more than 200 000 escapement carriers annually until 1914. The company has won numerous medals at international exhibitions in Paris (1889 and 1900), Vienna (1892), Hanoi (1902), Great Britain, and the United States.
In 1896, Henry’s son, Frédéric, was in charge of manufacturing phonographs, which flourished until 1915. At the dawn of the First World War, the company experienced some financial difficulties. It was not until 1931, when Frédéric’s son, also known as Henry, took over the management of the company, that it began to recover, thanks to the modernization of the means of production, such as the chain assembly, and the addition of new products such as the Anéra barometers. He added two factories in the Upper Rhine in the 1960s.
When Henry died in 1964, his widow, Emilie L’Epée, took over its management. A strike in 1968, which deprived it of its export market 80% of its business, and the arrival of quartz, resulted in Emilie having to sell in 1975 to the Société Manurhin-Matra. It diversified into the manufacturing of officer clocks based on the Japy et Frères officer clocks model, parts of ammunition, and wall clocks for the Concorde plane. In 1986, L’Epée was sold to the Belgian holding company SFPI and again to Laval in 1993, after filing for bankruptcy. Georges Méreau bought it from Laval in 1995 and tried to revive it by significantly reducing the staff. But the liability was too great, and after an attempt to take over by a Swiss industrial and months of turbulence,  L’Épée was closed in 1996. The brand was finally taken over by the Swiss company Swiza, which relaunched it in 2009 under L’Epée 1839.

LÉPINE, Jean-Antoine (1720-1814)

Portrait of Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814)

Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814) was born in Challex, Auvergne in 1720. After an apprenticeship in Saconex, Switzerland, he left for Paris in a county bordering France. He continued his apprenticeship with André-Charles Caron (1697-1775), the King’s watchmaker. He married his daughter in 1756. He was, in turn, the king’s watchmaker from 1765, serving under Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon. In 1766, he created the Caron and Lepine house on St-Denis Street in Paris, and in 1772, Place Dauphine, and in 1778, Quai de l’Horloge and from 1781 to 1787, Rue aux Fossés St-Germain l’Auxerrois. He joined forces with his son-in-law, Claude-Pierre Raguet (1753-1810), in 1789 and established the trade on Place des Victoires. Raguet quickly became the sole owner of what had been called Raguet-Lepine, Raguet dit Lepine, and finally, Lepine, after several changes of owners until 1919. The remaining merchandise balance is then sold to L. Leroy. Several of Lepine’s creations are now in museums. These include extra-flat watches in which the fusee is removed, watches that wind with only one pusher and several others that have been created for kings. In 1763, he also published “Nouvelle quadrature de répétition de montre (New Watch Repetition Quadrature” (Tardy, 1972).
(Public domain image)

LE ROY, Julien

Portrait of Julien Le Roy (1686-1759)

Julien Le Roy (1686-1759) was the son of a master locksmith and master watchmaker of Tours. He moved to Paris in 1699, where he was apprenticed to the watchmaker Alexandre Le Bon until he obtained the title of master watchmaker in 1713. In 1739, he became a watchmaker for Louis XV. He is due to have introduced George Graham’s cylinder exhaust to France. He proposed the first, the oil basin, this small concave circular case around the movement’s pivot. He also developed a horizontal turret movement for tower clocks. He also created a repeat mechanism found in French watches. He had four sons, one of whom would be a watchmaker.
(Public domain image)

LE ROY, Pierre

Portrait of Pierre Le Roy (1717-1785)

Julien Le Roy, Pierre (1717-1785), an astronomer, physicist, and watchmaker, surpassed his father, Julien Le Roy. He succeeded his father as the king’s clockmaker. He also received the Académie des Sciences award for his marine watches. He made the first sea chronometer in 1763. He published several books, including one on the spiral spring’s isochronism. He perfected the duplex escapement invented in 1780 by Dutertre, Tyrer and al., on which the current mechanical chronometers are based.
(Public domain image)

LE ROY, Basil-Charles (1765-1839)

  • LE ROY, Basile-Charles (1765-1839) – Charles-Basile Le Roy was born in Paris from another branch of Le Roy, that of Jean Le Roy, of which he is the grandson. His father, Basile, was a clockmaking worker. He did his apprenticeship with Joseph Quétin, with whom he will sign an 8-year contract. But he never got the title of Master Clockmaker. Basile-Charles, his son, became a Master Clockmaker at 20.
  • LE ROY (Paris, 1785-1828) – Basile-Charles bought a gallery at the Palais Royal owned by the Duke of Orleans. In 1785, he founded the Maison Le Roy at Galerie Pierre. Thanks to the Duke, who needed money, the Palais Royal became the Parisian quarter of clockmakers in the galleries under the Palais Royal arcades. Basile, Basile-Charles’s father, worked there from 1786; he died in 1804. In 1789, Galerie Pierre became Égalité Street, so much so that Basile-Charles signed one of his Leroy Gal. Égalité (Equality) (Tardy, 1972). He disappeared for a time during the revolution and then signed his watch pieces, Elyor. During Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign, he made a name for himself, and in 1805, he became the emperor’s clockmaker and then Madame Mère’s clockmaker. “In 1823, he filed a patent for an atmospheric clock that was itself rewind by the wind by a weather vane.” (Tardy, 1972 – my translation).
  • LE ROY ET FILS (Paris, 1828-1845) – In 1828, Basile-Charles’s son, Charles-Louis (1794-1865), became his partner in Maison Le Roy, changed its name to Le Roy et Fils, and moved to 13 Galerie Montpensier. Charles-Louis eventually succeeded his father, who died in 1839. He showed his works at the Paris Exhibition in 1834. He became the supplier to the King and Duke of Orleans in 1834 and the king and navy watchmaker the following year.  He obtained a patent for wind clocks in 1840.
  • LE ROY ET FILS (Casimir Halley Desfontaines, owner) (Paris 1845-1888) – In 1845, Charles-Louis sold the business to Casimir Halley Desfontaines (1794-1888), his collaborator, on the condition that the latter retain the name Le Roy et Fils. Charles-Louis died at Versailles in 1865.
  • LE ROY & SONS (London, 1854-?) – In the 1850s, Casimir Halley Desfontaines wanted to expand. He opened a branch in London in 1854 on Regent Street, which he retained as Le Roy & Sons. He participated in the London Exhibition in 1861 and received a medal the following year. In 1863 he became the clockmaker of Queen Victoria. The branch is capable of delivering watches and clocks throughout Europe. Many of his works are decorated with diamonds and sapphires. In 1866, he even became the watchmaker of the Emperor of Brazil. In the following years, he received a Silver Medal in Paris (1869) and a Medal of Honor in Vienna (1873), and a Gold Medal in Paris (1878). In 1879, Louis Leroy joined his service. In 1883, his son Georges Desfontaines succeeded him. Finally, when Casimir died in 1888, his brother Jules inherited Le Roy in Paris and London.

LEROY, Louis (1859-1935)

Louis Leroy was born in 1859. He was the eldest son of Theodore-Marie Leroy (1829-1899), a clockmaker, pupil, and employee of Vissière, head of an atelier Breguet, and a naval clockmaker from 1859. He was awarded a Medal at the London Exhibition in 1861. Louis Leroy first apprenticed with his father, from whom he learned the art of chronometers. He then went to London to improve his skills with a Clerkenwell manufacturer. He returned to France after the death of his mother and back to England, this time to work at Le Roy and Sons on Regent Street in London in 1878. He then returned to France to do his military service and worked for Casimir Desfontaines, while the latter owned Le Roy et Fils in a gallery of the Palais Royal.

  • L. LEROY ET CIE successeur, Ancienne Maison Le Roy et Fils (Paris, 1889-1980) – Louis Leroy joined forces with Casimir Desfontaines’ son, Jules, in 1888, under the name Ancienne maison Le Roy & Fils L. Leroy et Cie succ. In 1899, Louis Leroy became the sole master on board. He moved to Boulevard de la Madeleine, where the company produced many chronometers and watches. He was very successful. Louis opened a workshop in Besançon in 1892 and gave the management to Mr. Maillard-Salin, a professor at the city’s watchmaking school. He participated in the works of the Observatoire national de Besançon and registered for its annual competitions. As soon as his workshop opened, he won prizes for his chronometers, year after year.
    In 1895, his brother Leon joined the company. In 1896, Louis was awarded a Grand Prix at the Geneva Observatory competition alongside Vacheron and Constantine. In 1900, he participated in the Universal Exhibition of Paris and presented a major work, the Leroy 01, for which he received the Grand Prix. This gold pocket watch with 975 pieces on a 4-slice mechanic can provide 27 indications, 17 of which are time measurements. At the same time, he published a notice on his ultra-complicated watch. This watch will become an international reference for French watchmaking know-how. Louis will become the official watchmaker of the Navy.
    In 1908 and 1910, he was awarded the Coupe Chronométrique de Besançon. In 1909, he deposited the brands Hippo-Chrono, Auto-Chrono,  Aero-Chrono, and Chrono-Course, witnesses to the variety of chronometers he developed. In 1914, he was appointed a member of the Bureau des Longitudes, succeeding Auguste Fénon (1843-1913), director of the Observatoire de Besançon from 1892 to 1912, and author of several astronomical clocks for the observatories of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Besançon, Marseille, and Nice. In 1922, 1923, and 1924, Louis Leroy again won the Coupe Chronométrique de Besançon. In 1922, he created the first automatic winding watch bracelet.  He was made an Officer of the Légion d’honneur in 1930.
  • LEROY ET CIE, SARL – In 1833, Leroy became a Limited Liability Company. When Louis died in 1835, his brother Leon (?-1961) was in charge of the company, which continued to grow. In 1938, it moved to Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré. Leon died in 1961, and his two sons, Pierre and Philippe, took over. In 1957, Pierre became aware of Lavet’s work (1894-1980) on the step-by-step engine applied to watchmaking and invented the Chronostat, the first electric marine chronometer. It will be a real revolution in the field.
  • L. LEROY (Switzerland, 1980-2004) – In 1980, Leon’s sons sold the company to a group of Swiss investors and entrepreneurs with a Jura factory.
  • L. LEROY (Festina-Lotus Group, S. A.) – In 2004, Festina-Lotus S. A., a Miguel Rodriguez’s group founded in 1984 and headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, acquired L. Leroy. Rodriguez gave Guillaume Tripet, a Swiss designer, the mandate to relocate the Leroy factory in Besançon. Together with the watchmaker Bruno Laville, Tripeyt had the mandate to revive the brand in the field of luxury, taking advantage of the presence of specialized watchmakers and the Besançon Observatory, able to certify the chronometers produced in the region. Unfortunately, the transfer of production and development to the Sentier, Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, under the new direction of Olivier Muller, marks the end of fine watchmaking in France, starting in 2014.
  • MANUFACTURE LEROY S. A., Le Sentier, Switzerland – Since 2014, Leroy has continued its activities in high-end watchmaking, probably with the support of the Festina Group, having a factory in Sentier, Switzerland, and a sales site in Bienne. However,  Leroy does not mention his links with the Festina Group on his website (Montres Leroy). The Festina Group’s website does not mention the Leroy brand among its many watch brands. It seems that the reason is that Festina wants to give Leroy the chance to position itself as a luxury brand, which is not the specialty of the other mid- and low-end brands.

LIPMANN, Emmanuel -> LIP

  • COMPTOIR LIPMANN – Emmanuel Lipmann (1844-1913), a watchmaker from Besançon, founded the Comptoir Lipmann d’Établissage in 1867.
  • SOCIÉTÉ ANONYME D’HORLOGERIE LIPMANN FRÈRES – In 1893, Emmanuel’s two sons, Ernest and Camille, took over the counter and founded the Horlogerie Lipmann et Frères, S. A.. In 1896, they marketed the Lip chronometer. The Lip brand was born and will be on all watches produced in their workshops. In 1902, the two brothers created, this time mechanized and capable of producing nearly 250 movements per day, at least in 1908. The factory is enlarged, and non-magnetic self-compensating spiral watches are produced with stacked rubies. Radium salts are even used to make the needles bright. During the First World War, Lip’s factories produced telemetry watches for French artillery.
  • LIP S.A. D’HORLOGERIE – In 1931, the company took the Lip brand name. Although distributors had shares, the company was still run by members of the Lipmann family, Camille’s son James and Ernest’s two sons, Fred and Lionel. They produced the T18 caliber in 1933. Eastern countries obtained licenses for its manufacture, valid until 1960. Then, with the Swedish company EricssonLip marketed electric clocks. The factory produced all kinds of electromechanical instruments. In 1936,  Lip released a waterproof and dust-proof stainless steel watch called Nautic. It also manufactured watches for the air force and the army.
  • SAPROLIP – The company, owned by Jews, was requisitioned during World War II. Lipmann’s parents were arrested and deported. Lionel was withdrawn from the company, and James fleed to the United States, but Fred managed to transfer production to The Free Zone in Issoudun within the Saprolip subsidiary. At the end of the war, Fred became president of  Lip and relaunched the company, which was very successful in the following years. See Wikipedia for more details.
  • FRED LIP – In 1967, Fred Lipmann sold part of his shares to the Swiss company Ébauches S. A., which became the main shareholder in 1970. The following year, Fred was thanked and replaced by Jacques Saint-Esprit. In 1973, Lip tried hard to market his first quartz watch but did not withstand competition from Japan and the United States. It filed for bankruptcy in 1973. Employees who had gone on strike and occupied the plant tried to revive it as a cooperative, but it was a failure. Claude Neuschwander took over Lip in 1974 and presented a recovery plan that would quickly fail. Its employees again occupied the factory, but it failed once again.
  • LES INDUSTRIES DE PALENTE (LIP) – In 1977, it was liquidated and taken over by an employee cooperative called Palente Industries, which managed to keep it alive until 1984.
  • LIP – SMH-KIPLÉ – In 1984, the Société Mortuacienne d’Horlogerie (SMH – not to be confused with SMH of Switzerland)  acquired the Lip brand. Six years later, the SMH was liquidated, and the remains went for an auction.
  • LIP – GROUPE SENSEMAT – A Gers tooling group led by Jean-Claude Sensemat won the bid at the 1990 Lip auction. Lip was making progress under his leadership through direct mail-order sales and a large distribution network. In 2000, the Sensemat Group, which experienced financial and legal difficulties, disappeared. But its founder still owned the Lip brand.
  • LIP – MANUFACTURE GÉNÉRALE HORLOGÈRE – In 2002, Jean-Claude Sensemat granted an international license to the Manufacture Générale Horlogère (MGH) in Lectoure, created by Jean-Luc Bernerd. Millions of Lip watches were manufactured in the following years. Around 2007, when Sensemat emigrated to Montreal through the Canadian Investor Business People program, LIP watches’ production was entrusted to FIZZ Watches of Hong Kong. However, design and after-sales service remained in France. Bernerd was then looking for partners.
  • LIP – SOCIÉTÉ DES MONTRES BISONTINES – Philippe Bérard, CEO of the Société des montres Bisontine, signed an agreement in 2014 to assemble and market Lip watches in Besançon. It launches two new collections: Lip‘s historical watches and designer watches. In 2016, Sensemat, still the Lip brand owner, finally sold it to Jean-Luc Bernerd. In 2018, the Société des montres Bisontine became the sole owner of the brand. The company now has a large distribution network in France and abroad and sells directly via its website.

MILDÉ, Charles

Charles Mildé (1851-1931) was born in Paris in 1851. He began his career as a clockmaker but soon became interested in electricity. This is how he exhibited an electric clock at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair. In addition, he publishes “Les Horloges Électriques” (Electric Clocks) and “Création à Paris d’une Manufacture Centrale d’Horlogerie” (Creation in Paris of a Central Watchmaking Manufacture). However, Mildé is best known for inventing lightning rods, electric alarm bells, scoreboards, a telephone system, and telephones. Then he became interested in the electrification of cities and created the first power plant in Paris, the “Société d’éclairage de Paris” (Paris Lighting Company), and then in Le Havre. Naturally, Mildé was interested in the electric car, the electric station van, and even the electric boat. But at the time, because of the low range of such vehicles, cars and petrol trucks made it disappear.

MARTI, Samuel (1811-1869)

Little is known about Samuel Marti (1811-1869), the Swiss industrialist and watchmaker who came to Montbéliard in 1830. In 1832, with two partners, he created a clock movement factory, of which he became the sole owner in 1841 under the name of S. Marti et Cie. He had a workshop in Paris on Rue Orléans-Marais in 1850 and rue Charlot in 1860. In 1870 he also had a depot with A. Roux et Cie and Japy et Cie on Rue Vieille-du-Temple. During his lifetime, he won several medals: Honorable Mention in 1841, Gold Medals in 1851 and 1852, and Bronze Medal in 1860. Samuel had a son, Auguste Samuel Marti. Born in 1864 and graduating from École Polytechnique in 1884, he took over from his father. Under his direction, the company was awarded a Médaille d’Argent (Silver Medal) in 1889 and a Médaille d’Or (Gold Medal) in 1900. Auguste Samuel was mayor of Montbéliard in 1896 and 1897.

Movement S. Marti Gold Medal 1900
Movement S. Marti Gold Medal 1900
(Image ID162mvt – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)
Medallion in close-up of the Samuel Marti Paris 1900 Gold Medal
Samuel Marti Paris 1900 Gold Medal
(Image ID162m – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)

MOUGIN (A.D.)

Adolphe Mougin (1848-c.1928) was a clockmaker with a business in Herimoncourt, Montbéliard, from 1890. He also had a workshop on Rue de Tourenne in Paris, then rue des Filles du Calvaire around 1890. His company made timepieces, complete movements, and so-called rolling whites, e.g., movements “in working condition without escapement ready to receive the finishing work (ironing,  adjustment, fitting and finishing (Foundation High Horology). He delivered the parts to companies that completed the movements. His client was Vincenti et Cie and A. Roux et Cie, his successor, and Japy et Fils Cie. It is known that he was present at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889 and that he received a Médaille de Bronze (Bronze Medal) there for his movements in the style of Pendules de Paris. He was also reportedly awarded a Silver Medal in 1900. His trademark was a star with the mention of his name and the inscription Deux médailles (Two medals). Around 1900, Mougin’s company became Société Les Fils de Adolphe Mougin. It seems to have existed until 1928 when Schwob Frères, weavers, took over their factory.

A.D. Mougin Movement Two Medals with Brocot escapement in a case and chandeliers matched by H. Luppens, founder and retailer of Brussels and Paris.

A.D. Mougin Movement Two Medals with Brocot escapement
A.D. Mougin Movement Two Medals with Brocot escapement (Image ID154mvt2 – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)
Movement A.D. Mougin Deux Médailles, rear view without the bell.
A.D. Mougin Movement Deux Médailles
Image ID154mvt – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)

MOULIN, André

André Moulin was born towards the end of the 19th century. He obtained a doctorate in science in 1910. He developed a three-pole clock magnet system in 1912 and applied it in 1914. He developed an electromagnetic clock in parallel with Maurice Favre-Bulle.

ODOBEZ, Léon -> ODO

Leon Odobez founded ODO in 1924 in Morez with two partners, Moret-ès-Jean and Barbaud. His shop was installed from 1927 to 1936 at the Paul Odobey court in Morez. In 1950, he left the premises on Avenue Charles de Gaulle, sold them to Marius Morel, and moved to a new factory, which he expanded in 1964 and 1965 to install movement production. It also made clocks of all kinds, including Westminster chimes. To diversify, it also manufactured reels for fishing, in 1973 and 1974, it was still expanding. In 1984, ODO took over the Dombians factory of the bankrupt company Les fils de F. Romanet. Morez’s Lux eyewear stores bought all the buildings on the site. In 1990, all production of ODO clocks was transferred to the Morbier plant, the Dombians factory used mainly to produce Comtoises clock cases. In Morbier, the annual production was 3 000 Comtoises and 40 000 clocks and electric alarm clocks.

PHILIPPE, Jean Adrien (1815-1894)

Born in Eure-et-Loire in 1815, he invented a mechanism that replaced the key to rewiénd and time a watch. His invention earned him a medal at the French Industrial Exhibition of 1844. He met Antoni Patek, with whom he founded Patek & Co in 1845, in Geneva, which in 1851 became Patek Philippe & Co. He ended his days in Geneva in 1894.

PLANCHON, Mathieu (1842-1921)

Mathieu Planchon (1842-1921) was born in Bourges. He apprenticed with his father Édouard Planchon, Jean E. Robert-Houdin (1865), and Adrien Philippe (1868). After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to Paris in 1870. He acquired the business fund of Adrien Philippe. In 1880, he installed a shop on Rue Vieille du Temple, and in 1890, at the Palais-Royal, Galerie Montpensier. His first creations were Gothic-inspired, but he soon imposed his style, the Planchon Style, inspired by the styles of the great kings of the time, Louis XIV, Louis XV, etc. He contributed to the clockmaking in France by his numerous publications: La Clef de montre (Watch Key),  Les Coqs (The Roosters), L’heure en Chine (The Hour in China) (1895), Curiosités de l’horlogerie (Curiosities of Watchmaking) (1895),  Clepsydres (Clepsydras) (1897), L’horloge. Son histoire. Rétrospective pittoresque et artistique (The Clock. History. Retrospective, picturesque and artistic) (1898), L’horlogerie à l’Expostion universelle de 1900 (Watchmaking at the 1900 World’s Fair), L’évolution du mécanisme de l’horloge (The Evolution of the Clock Mechanism) (1918),  La Pendule de Paris (Paris’ Clock) (1921).

PONS, Honoré

Pons Gold Medal 1827

Honoré Pons (1773-1851) said Pons de Paul was born in Grenoble in 1773. After training with the Jesuits, he apprenticed in clockmaking at Antide Janvier. In 1798, we worked as a cloakmaker at Lepaute. Then, in 1803, he opened a workshop in Paris on Rue de la Huchette, where well-known clockmakers such as Breguet and Berthoud were located. In 1807, under the impetus of a state program, he moved to Saint-Nicolas-d’Aliermont, where watches and clocks had been made by hand for years. Pons introduced machine tools of its creation into clockmaking and revolutionized the work ways in Saint-Nicolas. He produced 100 movements a week that he delivered to his Paris depot and that of Seguy-Maréchaux. He also created a Duplex pendulum escapement (1824) and a helical escapement (1829). It perfected the ringing in movements for the night watchman. During his career, he received several Médailles d’Or (Gold medals) (1827, 1834, 1839, 1844) and d’Argent (Silver) (1819, 1823, 1825), as well as the Légion d’honneur. In 1846, his health was shaky, and he sold his workshops and equipment to the clockmaker Borromé Delépine de Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont.
(Image ID264Med – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)

RAINGO, Zacharie Joseph (1775-1847)

Zacharie Joseph, son of a watchmaker, was born in Mons, Belgium, and apprenticed in Tournai from 1795 to 180. He settled in Ghent around 1810. In 1813, he was established on Rue de Cléry in Paris. There he made clocks that he called “moving spheres,” probably inspired by the work of Aristide Janvier. They were so-called astronomical planetary clocks of which he had become a specialist. In 1810, he filed a patent for a moving-sphere pendulum. In 1823, he published a small treatise on the said spheres, “Description d’une pendule à sphère mouvante” (Description of a moving-sphere pendulum) (Tardy, 1972). In 1823, Zacharie became a clockmaker-mechanic of the future King Louis-Philippe, the Duke of Chartres, and in1824, Garde-meuble de la Couronne (The Crown Furniture Guard). That same year, King George IV of England acquired a Raingo clock that is now said to be at Windsor Castle.

RAINGO FRÈRES

Zacharie Joseph Raingo had four sons, all born in Tournai, Belgium, Adolphe Hubert Joseph (1796-1839), Charles François Victor (1801-1884), Denis Lucien Alphonse (1802-1870) and Dorsant Émile Joseph (1805-1859). They were the ones who created Raingo et Frères in Paris in 1823. They first settled on Rue Vieille du Temple, then rue de Touraine, where they made and sold silver with furniture, fireplace, and murals in the Empire and Restoration style.  According to Tardy (1972), the Raingo brothers filed patents in  1829  for “a ringtone, boxes of clocks, an escapement removal, a free escapement.” They received an Honorable Mention in 1834. Around 1850, they added bronze clocks to their models. They returned to settle on Rue Vieille du Temple. In 1862, they exhibited in London. Their growing reputation made them known to high society, so much so that they had as customers Emperor Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugenie. Then they teamed up with renowned sculptors and founders such as Auguste Moreau (1834-1917) and Albert-Ernest Belleuse (1824-1887) to adorn their clocks. They also partnered with the famous cabinetmaker François Linke  (1855-1946). They participated several times at the World’s Fair in Paris, winning prizes such as a Médaille d’Or (Gold Medal) in 1889. The works of the Raingo Brothers are exhibited in several museums worldwide, including the Musée des arts et métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts) in Paris.

RÉDIER, Joseph Antoine Jean (1817-1892)

Antoine Rédier was born in Perpignan in 1817 and died in Melun in 1892. He did his apprenticeship with the clockmaker Frédéric Louis Perrelet. After his military service, around 1840, he worked at Henri Robert’s shop. In 1842, he bought what was left of the Duchemin clockmaker’s workshop, Place du Chatelet in Paris. Rédier was a clockmaker but, above all, a great inventor of watchmaking. Tardy (1972) provides a list of his inventions most cited in a Wikipedia article.  Around 1883 he partnered with his son and settled in St. Nicholas of Aliermont. They filed a trademark: a bell with two Rs inside, the first of which was vertically inverted.

ROBERT, Henri (1795-1874)

Henri Robert was born in Mâcon in 1795. After training and practicing law, he moved to Paris in 1824 and became apprenticed at Breguet and then Perrelet clockmaking shop. Around 1829, he opened his workshop at the Palais Royal, taking over Henri Laresche’s clockmaking shop. For more details, see Wikipedia.

ROBIN, Robert (1742-1799)

Robert Robin was born in 1742. Little is known about his years of learning. He would have had a workshop in Paris from 1767. He was a watchmaker for King Louis XVI from 1785. Staying at the Louvre. He is best known for being one of the first to use the anchor exhaust for pocket watches, an escapement he perfected. He has designed a relaxing anchor exhaust and spring fork,  another with anchor and relaxation, and a relaxing bike equipped with a furnace. He is also the creator of exceptional clocks, including a famous clock made for Marie-Antoinette, exhibited at the Muséum National d’histoire naturelle in Paris. For more details, see Wikipedia.

RODANET,

  • RODANET, Julien Hilaire (1810-1884) – Julien Hilaire Rodanet was born in Rochefort in 1810. He was the apprentice of the chronometer specialist Merceron of Angoulème. He then came to Paris in 1826 and worked with Joseph Thaddéus Winnerl  (1799-1886) until 1837. The latter was his godfather to the Légion d’Honneur, which he received in 1864. He then returned to Rochefort and created a clock workshop and school where he trained about forty students, mostly abandoned young people. He received a Silver Medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1844 for one of his chronometers and a first-class medal at the exposition of 1864. He retired to Rochefort in 1866, leaving as his legacy a book entitled “Horlogerie astronomique et civile” (Astronomical and Civil Watchmaking), published in 1886. He also left two sons, Auguste Hilaire (1837-1907) and  Alfred (1840-1888), both clockmakers, and a daughter, Augustine (1843-1910).
  • RODANET, Auguste Hilaire  (1837-1907) – Auguste Hilaire Rodanet is one of Julien-Hilaire’s sons, the one of the two who is the best known. Following the footsteps of his father, he founded in 1880 the Paris school of watchmaking at the initiative of the Paris Chamber of Trade Unions of Watchmaking,  he was, in turn, Secretary and President. This private school was recognized as a public utility in 1883. Like his father, Augustus specialized in stopwatches. He had his  boutique  rue Vivienne in Paris. In 1890, he registered his trademark, the initials  AR  surrounded by Paris Watchmaking. He was a chronometer builder for the State Navy. He was also a watchmaker of the kingdom. Like his father, he received the Légion d’honneur, first as a Chevalier (Knight) in 1883, as an Officier (Officer) in 1887, and then as Commandeur (Commander) in 1900.
  • RODANET, Henri (1884-1956) – Henri Rodanet  was the son of Alfred  Rodanet,  youngest son of Julien Hilaire Rodanet. He lived in Santiago, Chile, at the birth of his son. He sadly passed away when Henri was only 4 years old. A few years later, he returned to Paris with his mother and two older sisters. Unlucky, his mother and older sister died, leaving him alone with his older sister, who was only 16 years old. Then, his uncle Auguste Hilaire took the two children under his wing. Henri later became a student at the Paris clockmaking school and came out first for this promotion. He developed the smallest calibre, the 101. At 18, he joined Edmond  Jaeger, where one noticed his great talents. He developed a tachometer that the company would market after the war. This was the beginning of Jaeger’s aeronautical and automotive instrumenting department, whose co-founder was the aviator Edmond Audemars. Henri Rodanet became technical director of operations at Ed Jaeger S. A. in 1918. After the Second World War, Henri became chairman of the board of directors of the Jaeger company. He had more than 500 patents of all kinds to his credit.

ROMANET, Félicien

Les Établissements Romanet et Cie, founded in 1871 by Félicien Romanet. They made clocks and clock chimes from Roma and Jura brands on the family farm. Later, the company, taken over by Romanet’s sons, became Les fils de F. Romanet. In 1948, Romanet’s sons built a new factory near the farm in Morbier, which opened in 1951. Chime clocks capable of playing 4 tunes, an exclusive of this period, were produced. They were called Carillon Romanet F. F. R. Morbier. A second building was added in 1961. In 1974, the company opened a new factory in Dombians, but it had to close its doors in 1981 because it was insolvent. In 1984, ODO created  Productions Romanet, S. A. and took over the factory under that name.

SAP-JAZ WATCH COMPANY

Ivan Benel, a French engineer, and Louis Gustave Brandt, clockmaker, founded in Paris in 1919 the Compagnie Industrielle de Mécanique Horlogère S. A. (C.I.M.H.). They set up a manufacturing plant in the Paris suburbs. In 1921, they launched their first product, an alarm clock, the CLASSIC, under the trademark JAZ. This alarm clock with previously unpublished characteristics was a huge success. It became in the popular vocabulary a Jaz. The rest of the story is widely told on Wikipedia.

THIOUT, Antoine (1692-1767)

Antoine Thiout was born in Joinville in Haute-Marne. At a very young age, he moved to Paris to do his apprenticeship. He was interested in precision clockmaking mechanics. In 1724, he became a master clockmaker and invented clocks with equations and astronomical indications. In the 1740s, he also created fusee cutting machines and a lath that would allow him to manufacture precision timepieces. He held a Rue du Four workshop, then Quai Pelletier from 1741 to 1748 (Tardy, 1972). He was the clockmaker of the Duke of Orleans from 1751. He left behind a book that would long be a reference work in clockmaking, Le Traité de l’horlogerie mécanique et pratique (Treaty of Mechanical and Practical Watchmaking), first published in 1741.
Illustrated, the enhanced 1767 edition. (Public Domain Image)

UTI

UTI Desk Carriage Clock Style

The story of the company UTI is very well told in the anonymous story signed Capitaine 56 in a Forum entitled Chronomania. I summarize the broad outlines.  A watchmaker named Hector Lévy (1847-1907), member of the Fédération des Chambres syndicales des horlogers et des bijoutiers de France (Federation of Trade Union Chambers of Watchmakers and Jewellers of France) took over in 1901 the Fabrique d’horlogerie Ch. Couleru-Meuri de La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. It manufactured watches and measuring instruments. Among other products, Charles Meuri invented the bicycle watch.
(Image ID072 – An UTI Jaccard Carriage Clock – Alle rights reserved, Bordloub)

In 1876, Lévy married Alice Meyer and took up residence on boulevard Sébastopol in Paris from 1880. The following year, the Société horlogère de Paris (Paris Watchmaking Society), then under Auguste-Hilaire Rodanet presidency, accepted Lévy as a member, succeeding Antoine Redier, the inventor of the first alarm clock. He transferred his studio to Rue Blondel in Paris and appointed his brother-in-law, Georges Meyer, head of the company, at the same time as he opened a store on Boulevard Sevastopol. Meyer also became a member of the Société horlogère de Paris in 1898. Lévy sold Redier to Grivolas, a Paris manufacturer that produces the famous 400-day clocks. Lévy continued to announce its Besançon and Paris Watch Factory.  

In 1906, Lévy gave way to Georges Meyer. He announced in 1907, in the Revue Chronométrie, that Georges Mayer et Cie, his successor, was building a factory in Besançon called Fabrique Utinam and that he would take over the interim management of the company until the completion of the plant. It will be a month later. Nevertheless, part of the production and offices will remain in La Chauds-de-Fonds in Switzerland, probably until 1926, when the company will only be French. Soon enough, Utinam‘s products were named UTI, although the names Utinam and Établissements Georges Meyer were known until 1940The company moved towards the high end and received over the years several distinctions for its innovations, including the use of radium to make the hands of the dials bright, a repeat watch for blind with ringtone, etc., including gold, silver, and bronze medals. In 1918, a man named Henri Blum, an Alsacian born in 1882  (Alsace was under the Germanic Empire), took over the company’s technical management. He was the son of Alexandre Blum and Josephine Meyer, a close relative of Georges Meyer, who became a knight of the Légion d’honneur in 1912. After many adventures, the company became UTI S. A. in 1940. It was headed by Georges Meyer’s grandson, Jacques Meyer (1930-2007) since 1956, the latter was a technical director from 1950. The company ceased its activities in 1984 after being sold to Matra, which was not interested in it.

VÉRITÉ, Auguste-Lucien (1806-1887)

Auguste-Lucien Vérité was born in Beauvais, Picardy in 1806. He inherited several public astronomical clocks, including two monumental astronomic clocks, one at the cathedral Saint-Jean of Besançon (1860) and the other at the cathedral Saint-Pierre de Beauvais  (1865-1868), his masterpiece consisting of 90,000 parts, 68 automatons and 52 dials. He left several articles on the use of electricity to synchronize clocks including Rapport sur une pendule à échappement libre, à repos, à force constante (Report on a free escapement pendulum, at resting, constant force (1838), Description d’une pendule dont l’électricité est la seule force motrice (Description of a pendulum whose electricity alone is the driving force) (1853), Note descriptive de l’horloge astronomique de l’église cathédrale de Beauvais (Descriptive note of the astronomical clock of the cathedral church of Beauvais) (1861), Sur un moyen d’obtenir un isochronisme parfait pour un nombre quelconque d’horloges reliées entre elles par fil conducteur de courant électrique (On a way to obtain a perfect isochronism for any number of clocks connected to each other by an electrical current wire) (1863),  Description de l’horloge de la cathédrale de Besançon (Description of the Clock of the Cathedral of Besançon) (1868). For more details, see  Wikipedia.

VILLON, Albert

In 1867, Albert Villon founded a workshop where he made travel clocks and marine watches. He affixes his initials A. V. on its clocks as a trademark, sometimes accompanied by a graph of “Lion Passing.” This graph lasted until the 1940s, long after Villon’s death.

  • A. VILLON ET DESSIAUX: In 1873, he teamed up with Ernest Dessiaux to form  A. Villon and Dessiaux. The association will last ten years.
  • ALBERT VILLON, DUVERDREY ET BLOQUEL: In 1885, Albert Villon created a new 10-year partnership with Paul Duverdrey, an accountant, and Joseph Bloquel, a clockmaker. The following year, the association formed a partnership: Albert Villon, Duverdrey and Bloquel, headquartered and factory in Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont. In 1897, Duverdrey and Bloquel bought the plant.
  • DUVERDREY ET BLOQUEL: In 1902, Villon left the company, and it became Duverdrey and Bloquel, a name kept until 1916. The name Réveils Bayard began to be used in 1907. In 1911, Paul Duverdrey died, and his son Robert succeeded him.
  • SOCIÉTÉ DES ANCIENS ÉTABLISSEMENTS DUVERDREY ET BLOQUEL: In 1916, the company’s name changed to Société des anciens établissements Duverdry et Bloquel (Duverdrey and Bloquel Former Establishments Society). In 1922, Joseph Bloquel died and Louis Guilbert took the place.
  • For the rest, see Bayard.

VINCENTI, Jean (1791-1834)

  • VINCENTI (1823-1828): Jean (Ghjuvanni-Giovanni) Vincenti in Corsica in 1791, moved to Montbéliard in 1791. In 1823, he created a factory of ébauches and clock rollings under the name Vincenti, in a premises of the Château de Montbéliard. It was in operation until 1928.
  • VINCENTI ET CIE (1829-1834): The following year, Vincenti teamed up with Albert Roux, and the ébauches factory took the name Vincenti et Cie. It grew rapidly, capable of producing 8 000 watch movements annually. It also diversified its production by adding mechanisms for music boxes, metronomes, oil lamps, etc. Vincenti won his first Médaille d’Argent (Silver Medal) in 1834.
Vincenti 1855 - Siver Medal
Vincenti & Cie 1855 – Siver Medal
(Image ID151m All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)
Vincenti & Cie - Silver Medal 1834
Vincenti & Cie – Silver Medal 1834
(Image ID285m – All Rights Reserved, Bordloub)
  • VINCENTI ET CIE (Albert Roux: 1834-1890): On Vincenti’s death in 1834, Albert Roux took over from Vincenti et Cie and retained its name. Under his leadership, while continuing the activities of the Montbéliard factory, he opened a store in Paris in 1850 on Rue d’Anjou in the Marais. He won another Médaille d’Argent (Silver Medal) in 1855. He will be rue de Saintonge in 1860. In 1870, he stayed on the Rue de Bretagne and was given a Médaille de Bronze (Bronze Medal). In 1880 it was on Pastourelle Street and in 1890 on Rue des Arquebusiers (Tardy, 1972)

WAGNER, Jean

Born in Pfalzel, Germany, in 1800, Jean Wagner arrived in Paris in 1812, where he remained until 1875. He won Silver Medals in 1819 and 1827.

WINNERL, Joseph-Thadeus (1799-1886)

Joseph-Thadeus Winnerl was born in Styria, Austria. He arrived in Paris in 1829 and opened a chronometers workshop. He made an astronomical clock for the Paris Observatory. He is recognized as the father of the modern chronograph, with his chronograph with a single central trotter (1831) and the one with two hands (1838). He received a Gold Medal in 1839, the Croix in 1844, and the Rosette in 1855  while being the clockmaker of the observatory. He published three important articles (Tardy, 1972): Modification apportée à l’échappemenrt à ancre pour les pendules (Changes to the anchor escapement for clocks) (1844), Réflexions sur les oscillations du pendule conique (Reflections on the oscillations of the conical pendulum) (1847) and Système de balancier compensateur applicable aux montres marines (A countervailing balance system for marine watches) (1876).

Next: 3.08 – Clockmaking in the Netherlands

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