Lot No. 576 (91st Auction)
Henri Motel, Horloger de la Marine Royale, No. 107, 160 x 135 x 160 mm, circa 1831

A very fine ship's chronometer with original key and original operating instructions. This is probably the best and most original of any surviving Henry Motel marine chronometers.
Case: mahogany box, inlaid brass shield, with slide lid and glass, case key, brass gimbals and bowl. Dial: silvered, signed, numbered, inlaid radial Roman hours, auxiliary seconds, blued Breguet hands. Movm.: brass movement, polished, decorated, signed, conical steel movement pillars, chain/fusee, pivoted detent escapement according to Berthoud, lateral winding, hack feature, bimetallic chronometer balance with 4 movable weights and gold and steel screws, adjustable balance spring fitting device with 4 screws, blued conical balance spring, copper set endstone on balance.

David Penney:
"Jean-Francois Henri Motel, the best pupil of Louis Berthoud and inheritor of his business as official supplier of chronometers to the French Navy. For more information about him see the book by Jean-Claude Sabrier "La Longitude en Mer à l'heure de Louis Berthoud et Henri Motel": N.B. "...many French box chronometers were later converted to Deck Watch type boxes for the French Navy. This is one of the few that escaped the change and has also not suffered removal of the stop/start mechanism which seems to have occurred to most of Motel's machines. Together with the original signed and dated mainspring 'Vincent Juin 1830' and the makers instructions, this must rate as the best and most original of any surviving Motel chronometer".

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" by Jean-Claude Sabrier, Geneva 1993, p. 593ff.
Estimate  28,000 - 35,000 €

Price Realised  48,400 €
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