Venus am Liebesaltar 
Lot No. 183
Lot No. 183
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An ornamental Parisian gold enamel verge pocket watch with original winding key
Estimate  2,000 - 6,000 €

Price Realised  5,300 €
a lot of the last auction!
Product Details
18 K gold and polychrome enamel.
very good, slightly scratched.
very good.
Full plate movement, chain/fusee, three-arm brass balance.
very good, capable of running, cleaning recommended.
50 mm
79 g
Product Description

The exquisitely painted enamel medallion in the centre of the back cover is of supreme quality. It shows Venus striding towards the altar of love with a bowl and an amphora in her hands. The altar base is decorated with gold paillons. The medallion is framed by a floral border of two-colour gold.

Ferdinand Berthoud Born in 1727 in Plancemont near Gouvet in Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Ferdinand Berthoud was one of the most eminent founders of French chronometer-making, which had developed independently of the English fabrications. France cultivated chronometer-making even earlier than England. Berthoud became an apprentice with Jean Jacques Henri Vauchers and in 1745 went to Paris to work with the celebrated watchmaker Julien Leroy's son Pierre, who was himself renowned as a French chronometer-maker. Berthoud soon started his own business and immersed himself in the determination of longitude. His studies resulted in his theory of the balance's isochronism created by using a balance spring. In 1754 Berthoud created his first marine clock which he turned over to the French government in 1761. The clock was tested on a long sea voyage and lost one minute in ten weeks. From 1768 on Berthoud supplied the French government with several marine clocks. In 1771 King Louis XV equipped a frigate with a number of timekeepers for testing; the ship's commanders de Fleurieu and Borda later published a paper on this voyage (Voyage fait par ordre du roi, en 1768 et 1769, dans diffèrentes parties du monde, pour eprouver en mer les horloges de Monsieur Ferdinand Berthoud. - Voyage by order of the king, in 1768 and 1769 to different parts of the world, conducted to test the watches of Ferdinand Berthoud on different oceans.) The results of their studies were conveyed to the Academy of Sciences. Berthoud was granted a pension and appointed clockmaker and mechanic to the king and the navy ("Horloger méchanicien du Roi et de la Marine"), which gave him an annual salary of 10000 francs. For this he committed himself to train new blood in the production of marine clocks, i.e., to keep a training workshop. Soon the French Academy of Sciences asked for another ship so that the methods known at the time for the determination of longitude could be applied, tested and compared. The sea voyage lasted a full year. The Abbè de Rochon, who took part in the journey as the Academy of Sciences' expert, wrote to Berthoud from Isle de France to let him know that his clock had exceeded all expectations by far. Berthoud produced 75 chronometers in 35 years. His many publications include numerous papers of great significance in the fields of horology. He became a Fellow of the London Royal Society in 1795 and Napoleon I made him a knight of the Légion d'honneur when he established the order in 1802. Despite all these priviledges Berthoud remained a modest and unassuming clockmaker until the end of his life. He died in his small house in Grosley near Montmorenzi (Montmorency??) at the age of 80.
Source: C. Dietzschold: "Der Cornelius Nepos der Uhrmacher", Edition Dietzschold 1911, p. 39-40

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