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Serial No. 51054
Serial No. 51054
Estimate  4,000 - 10,000 €
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Joseph Thaddäus Winnerl

, Movement No. 496, Case No. 65104, 54 mm, 118 g, circa 1850

An early lever chronometer with gold "Rattrapante" hand made for the American market

Case: 18k gold, monogrammed, glazed movement. Dial: enamel. Movm.: bridge movement, large gold screw compensation balance.

In the 1830s Joseph Thaddäus Winnerl invented the "second rattrapante", a mechanism that permitted disconnecting a seconds hand from the movement by the press of a button and resetting it later to the current second. In 1862 – more than two decades later - Adolphe Nicole developed the first timepieces with a zero-resetting function and laid the foundation for the modern split second chronographs we know today.

Joseph Thaddaeus Winnerl was born on January 15, 1799 in Mureck in Styria; he apprenticed with Georg Fidel Schmidt in Graz and was freed in 1816. From 1823 on Winnerl worked in Wroclaw, later with Kessels in Altona and then with Urban Juergensen in Copenhagen. In 1829 he went to Paris, where he worked for Breguet et fils and others, before opening his own workshop in 1832 to produce marine chronometers, precision pocket watches and pendulum clocks. From 1835 to 1841 Ferdinand Adolph Lange worked for Winnerl. Winnerl specialised in marine chronometers and produced several timekeepers of ourstanding quality. In 1844 the Société d'encouragement described and illustrated his pendulum clocks and seconds counters and Winnerl’s publications on isochronism of the pendulum caused by the force of the suspension spring. In 1868 Winnerl created the first pendulum clock with an electric contact which was placed in the basement of the observatory in Paris - it is still there today. He used Thomas Reid’s escapement, which he modified so finely that it produced the most perfect results. Winnerl also worked on improving lever escapements, for example in large clocks; he was honoured with a number of awards for his creations and in 1844 he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, in 1855 an Officier. Winnerl retired from business in 1870 and sold his workshop to the watchmaker Bernard Callier.
Employees and apprentices:
Ferdinand Adolph Lange 1835 to 1840
Victor Gannery around 1838
Simon Vissière around 1840
Moritz Krille around 1845
Julien Hilaire Rodanet 1826 to 1837
Henri Robert Ekegrèn around 1850
Théodore-Marie Leroy
Case: very good
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running

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