Henri Motel, Horloger de la Marine, Dépôt de la Marine, Movement No. 276, 165 x 170 x 165 mm, circa 1850
An exquisite French ship's chronometer with pivoted detent escapement according to Berthoud - tested at the Observatory Paris in 1851, sold to the French marine in 1852 Case: mahogany. Dial: silvered. Movm.: brass movement, chain/fusee, malteser-cross winding lock, tripod adjusting device for the balance spring, bimetallic chronometer balance with 4 movable weights and gold and steel screws, blued conical balance spring.
This chronometer is illustrated in Bertele's "Marine- und Taschenchronometer"; whereas it was photographed without case for the book, it was presented in a modern case at auctions later. The chronometer has only recently been reunited with its original gimballed chronometer box.
No one else produced chronometers with such extreme attention to detail, even at a time when other makers had long since moved on to simpler well-tried designs. It is because of this that Motel's chronometers have such a cult following among the collectors who appreciate the perfect quality and the minute details, such as the tiny blued screw in one of the four balance weights or the perforated teeth of the escapement wheel. All these details can be seen in this chronometer, which is one of the last Motel ever produced.
Jean-François Henri Motel (1786-1857) He was born at Margny-Lès-Compiègne on 31 December 1786 and is considered the best known of Berthoud's pupils. His father, Louis Nicolas Motel, was a farmer and tavern-keeper. Motel went in 1794 to Prytanée and then as a boarder to the Ecole des Arts et Métiers at Chalons until 1806, when he obtained the qualification of Aspirant. He was then selected to go to Paris to be trained in the art of horology at the expense of the government; his instructor was to be Louis Berthoud, horloger de la Marine. Motel had barely finished his apprenticeship when Berthoud died suddenly in September 1813. His widow appealed to Motel to continue Berthoud's workshop and complete the training of her two sons. On 14 August 1819 Motel married Louise Elisabeth Herbet. He established himself in 12 Rue de l'Abbaye in 1823 and exhibited for the first time in 1827 when the jury awarded him a Silver Medal for his chronometers and astronomical clocks and the comment '...none produces horology with greater precision than Mr. Motel'. Source: "Longitude at Sea in the time of Louis Berthoud and Henri Motel", Jean-Claude Sabrier, Geneva 1993, p. 593ff.
Estimate 21,000 - 26,000 €
Price Realised 38,900 €
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