Lot No. 294 (89th Auction)
Jean-Joseph Robin a Paris, Height 510 mm, circa 1805

An important, astronomical Empire table regulator with month-going remontoire (constant force) and half hour / hour self strike
Case: bronze, gilt, rectangular shape, moulded base and top, facet glazed on four sides, 4 bracket feet, the corners decorated with Corinthian columns, domed bevelled glass for the three circular dials, moulded bezels. Dial: enamel, five concentric indications: half-seconds, hours with radial Roman numerals, minutes with a gold dot every five, months of the year and their length. Four concentric steel hands. Signature Robin à Paris; on the reverse signed by the enameller Baudet. Lower subsidiary enamel dials: the days of the week on the left and the phases and the age of the moon on the right. Movm.: square brass full plate movement, gilt, 2 barrels, keywind, 1 hammer / 1 bell, solid movement pillars, 30 days-movement, going train with maintaining power, count wheel, pin wheel escapement, compensation gridiron pendulum with gilt bob.

This regulator is illustrated and described in: "Precision Pendulum Clocks - France, Germany, America and Recent Advancements" by Derek Roberts, Atglen 2004, page 36, fig. 26-10.

Jean-Joseph Robin
Jean-Joseph Robin was the second son of Robert Robin and was established as clockmaker at rue Saint-Honoré in Paris from 1806 to 1812, and then at rue de Richelieu from 1815 to 1825. Jean-Joseph, along with his brother Nicolas-Robert (1775-1816), clockmaker to Louis XVIII, continued their father business into the first third of the nineteenth century. Both were awarded a Second Class Silver Medal at the 1806 Paris Exposition publique des produits de lndustrie française (Public Industrial Exhibition).
The jury report for the above exhibition indicates that MM. Robin frères established at rue Saint-Honoré presented: "1. A thirteen-dial watch that shows the time at the same moment in different cities; 2. A clock that indicates the sunrise and sunset, and the time in various places. The jury remarked that these works were beautifully executed, and displayed great skill." At the 1819 Exhibition, Jean-Joseph Robin was also noted by the jury for having presented "two very finely crafted astronomical clocks thus maintaining the great reputation that his father acquired through his numerous and important works"." Jean-Joseph Robin was awarded the Bronze Medal, and thereby perpetuated his father tradition of excellence acquired under the Ancien Régime.

Robert Robin
A renowned horologist, Robert Robin was one of the major figures of French horology during the reign of Louis XVI, benefitting from many advantages in practising his art as "Privileged Merchant-Watchmaker of the King following the Court and Councils of His Majesty." In 1777 he presented an article on the properties of remontoires entitled Mémoire contenant des réflexions sur les propriétés des remontoirs.

Robert Robin sense of perfection and brilliant craftsmanship rivalled that of the greatest French horologists Bréguet, Lépine, Janvier and Berthoud enabling him to collaborate with the leading artists of his time; one of his mantle clocks, Vestal Virgins carrying the Altar of the Sacred Fire on a Brancard , created in collaboration with the ornament designer Jean-Démosthène Dugourc (1740-1809) and the bronze caster Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) bears witness to this exceptional refinement both in its execution and décor.

After the French Revolution, Robert Robin was one of the first horologists to support decimal time. In 1793 he wrote a paper entitled Description de la pendule décimale à secondes , and in Year II (1793-94) he wrote Mémoire contenant la description d'un échappement libre, ou à détente and Réflexions sur les montres décimales . He made a decimal clock which he gave as a gift to the National Convention, along with a description of the astronomical clock with a centre-sweeping seconds hand, decimal time and strike, and remontoire - an invention he was passionate about. Studies of a number of timepieces have shown that the young Jean-Joseph Robin, who began his career under the Empire, reused or modified dials and movements produced by his father.
For example, the regulator by Robert Robin now housed at the Musée Lambinet in Versailles (Inv. 947), is equipped with a remontoire and a compensated pendulum with enamel dial thermometer inside a mahogany glass case surmounted with a capital. The movement plate bears the engraved inscription: Pendule à seconde décimale par Robin membre de la Société des inventions et découvertes de France. The clock signed: Pendule de compansation (sic) Par Robin aux Galeries du Louvre A PARIS . As the remarkable exhibition catalogue La révolution dans la mesure du temps 2 reveals: "its dial and movement were modified to conform to the duodecimal hour and Gregorian calendar, after 1805, by one of Robin's sons who stamped his name on the existing dial".

This modification by Jean-Joseph Robin, dating from 1805, of the regulator previously designed by his father, suggests that our table regulator, which was executed in the same year, may also have a movement that was made by or under the direction of Robert Robin.
Jean-Joseph Robin was appointed Horloger du Roi et de Madame (Clockmaker to the King and to Madame la duchesse d'Angoulême, daughter of Louis XVI) under the Bourbon Restoration - a mantle clock, Le point du jour (Break of Dawn), made in early 1824, bears witness to the prestige and refinement of his work. Housed at Versailles' Grand Trianon, the mantle clock was executed after a design by Jean-Charles-François Leloy (active from 1816 to 1844); the ornamentation in imitation agate by Riton; the bronze work, comprising the laurel-crowned figure of Apollo and the fluted columns framing the case, by Boquet; the graceful composition painted on Sèvres porcelain by Leguay.
Due to its exceptional quality and practical design, our table regulator illustrates the perfection achieved by Jean-Joseph Robin in the first years of his career, and remains a rare example of the transmission from father to son in the world of early nineteenth-century horology. Just like his celebrated father Robert Robin, Jean-Joseph timepiece demonstrates his virtuosity in combining technical complexity with the beauty and harmony of his time.

- Jean-Dominique Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996
- Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1972
- Tardy, La pendule française de Louis XVI à nos jours, 1967
- Louis Moinet, Nouveau Traité Général Élémentaire, Pratique et Théorique dorlogerie pour les Usages Civils et Astronomiques suivant les principes des meilleurs auteurs et les progrès récents de la science et de lrt, Paris, 1848.
Estimate  60,000 - 75,000 €
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