Lot No. 55 (92nd Auction)
Louis Berthoud, No. 48, 123 x 88 x 123 mm, circa 1797

An important, very fine, small ship's chronometer with pivoted detent escapement of Louis Berthoud, regulator dial and 30h power reserve - delivered on 1st of December 1800 as first of seven ship's chonometers to the Dutch Navy
Case: mahogany, brass inlays, top lid with slide, brass gimbals and bowl, three-body silver bowl type case, case maker's punch mark "JCL" in a lozenge, two-body. Dial: enamel, reverse side signed by "Lucard", signed, numbered, Roman hours at "12", auxiliary seconds, blued Breguet hands. Movm.: brass movement, 61 mm, frosted, gilt, signed, numbered, conical tiered movement pillars, chain/fusee with Harrisons maintaining power, three-arm bimetallic chronometer balance with 3 movable weights and platinum screws, adjustable balance spring fitting device with 4 screws, blued conical balance spring, chatoned diamond endstone on balance.

Described in: "La Longitude en Mer à l'Heure de Louis Berthoud et Henri Motel" by J.-C. Sabrier, Geneva 1993, pp. 139, 188/189, 527.

Provenance: The Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, USA, Collection Jean-Claude Sabrier

Pierre Louis Berthoud is usually known as Louis Berthoud and was born in 1754 in Plancemont near Couvet in the region of Neuchâtel as the son of Pierre Berthoud. His brothers were Jean Henri and Isaac. Pierre Louis began his apprenticeship with his father at the age of 12. His uncle Ferdinand soon discovered the boy’s outstanding talent and brought him to Paris to expand his training. Afterwards the young Berthoud returned to Couvet because even with his uncle’s support he was not able to find a good position. After the suicide of Jean Henri (who had worked in his uncle’s workshop), Ferdinand brought Louis back to Paris in 1784 and put him in charge of the workshop. When he took the position Louis insisted that the books were kept with the greatest diligence. These books are today held by the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. Pierre Louis Berthoud took over his uncle’s business after Ferdinand died.

He created the famous chronometer no. 9 with a design that was an absolute novelty at the time. This watch is without doubt one of the most important timekeepers in the history of French watchmaking and represents the culmination of Berthoud’s work. Pierre Louis Berthoud produced about 150 chronometers; he worked for the observatory and the navy, and was a member of the "Bureau des Longitudes". After his death Breguet took over the position of "Horloger de la Marine".

Pierre Louis Berthoud died unexpectedly on September 17, 1813 in Argenteuil. His widow Claire Thérèse Berthoud asked Motel to run the business because her sons Henri and Auguste were still too young to take it over; Motel was also their instructor. Motel trained the young Berthoud brothers until 1817 and managed the business until Henri and Auguste were ready to take over. Montel also trained Jean-Aimé Jacob und Jacques Fesche until 1816.
Source:, as of 10/04/2015.
Estimate  65,000 - 80,000 €

Price Realised  70,700 €
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