Important Collectors’ Wristwatches, P...

Geneva, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Du Rhône, May 13, 2007

LOT 692

?Empire Mantel Clock? Antide Janvier, No. 389. Made circa 1805. Very fine flame mahogany and gilt bronze Mantel clock with Réaumur thermometer.

CHF 60,000 - 90,000

EUR 37,000 - 55,000 / USD 50,000 - 75,000

C. Rectangular, clock at the top, thermometer aperture at the lower part, back with sliding panel revealing the movement, extended forward base with two gilt bronze lions, gilt bun feet. D. White enamel, radial Roman numerals, outer minute divisions. Blued steel Breguet hand. Thermometer dial: white enamel with Arabic sector for Réaumur scale from -10 to +35 with dates of record temperatures observed in Paris. Blued steel index hand. M. Circular 105 mm, brass, four circular pillars, going barrel, anchor escapement, brass bob pendulum with steel rod, silk suspension. Réaumur thermometer: bimetallic steel and brass lever acting on a pivoted steel lever to which the hand is fixed. Signed on dial and movement. Dim. 32 x 18 x 15,5 cm.

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Grading System
Case: 3-12



Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-46-01


HANDS Original


This Mantel clock is made in the style and dimensions of an ?Audience? clock. Audience clocks are often fitted with Réaumur Thermometers.

Antide Janvier (1751?1835) Antide Janvier was born on 1 July 1751 at Briva, a hamlet in the commune of Lavans, near Saint Claude. His father, Claude Etienne Janvier, at first a farm labourer, had abandoned the plough to take up clockmaking. When he noticed the exceptional ability of his son in his own new trade, he did his utmost to have him carefully taught by a certain Abbé Tournier, inventor of a method for calculating gears. Antide Janvier became interested in mechanical matters and astronomy at an early age; remarkably precocious, he may be considered as the most extraordinary, and the most learned, of French clockmakers. At the age of 15, he had already made a globe, which represented mechanically the movements of the heavenly bodies. He presented it to the Academy des Arts et Belles-Lettres de Besançon, which, during an extraordinary session dedicated to him, decreed: "The Sieur Antide Janvier, of Saint Claude, having presented to the Academy a globe on which he has executed in movement a system of astron my, this Company believes that it cannot give too much praise and encouragement to a young man of seventeen, whose industriousness would honour a confirmed mechanical expert; it regards it as an act of justice to confer this present certificate upon him. Given at the Palais de Granvelle, in Besançon, on 24 May 1768. Signed: Droz, permanent secretary. Such an exceptional achievement was soon known throughout the city, and the inhabitants were so enthusiastic, that there was no question of Janvier's leaving. So he established himself in Besançon, where he restored the table clock of Cardinal Granvelle, made in Augsburg in 1564. Returning to Saint Claude in 1771, he visited Morez frequently, dividing his activities between these two cities, as an official Memoir for Year IX of the Republic indicates: "A celebrated artist, the Citizen Janvier senior, having established himself in Morez, corrected the methods, made known the right principles, and taught how to join elegance to sturdiness in the work (of clockmaking)". A moving astronomical globe, in gilded wood, now in the Besançon Museum, bearing the inscription: "Exécutée à Saint Claude, par Antide Janvier fils en 1771 A Et. 20 (Made in Saint Claude, by Antide Janvier son, in 1771 A Et. 20) [ the 20th year of his age], bears witness to his activities in Saint Claude, as does the planetary clock of the Gélis collection, now in the Paul Dupuy Museum in Toulouse, signed: Janvier fils à Saint Claude fecit l'an 1773. (Janvier jr at Saint Claude made this in the year 1773). In 1773, a Memoir of the famous astronomer Lalande, read at the Academy of Science, announced that on 18 October a comet would pass near the earth. Janvier seized this opportunity to obtain from his father permission to go to Paris for that day. During this journey he had the honour of presenting one of his moving globes to King Louis XV. On 10 May 1775, on his return to Besançon, he presented to the Academy two new globes "most ingenious and very well made". He then left for Verdun, where he ran a clockmaking school and married Anne-Catherine Guyot, the daughter of a bookseller. He improved the cathedral clock, and the bishop, Monsignor Desnos, arranged for him a long interview with Monsieur, Louis XVI's brother, and the future Louis XVIII, who conferred upon him the title of "Horloger-mécanicien de Monsieur (Clockmaker- mechanical expert to Monsieur)". During a second journey to Paris in 1784, he became friendly with Lalande, professor of astronomy at the Royal College, who presented him to King Louis XVI at Versailles on 24 April. The two little moving globes that he carried with him were acquired by the sovereign for his library desk. On 29 April 1789, he presented to the King a new planetary clock, where for the first time the planet Uranus was represented. This machine, acquired by the King for 24,000 francs, endowed Janvier with a European reputation. However, he exercised his art of mechanical expert-astronomer in unfavourable circumstances, from 1792 onwards. Because of the different governments that succeeded each other rapidly, and the months and even years necessary for making such complicated pieces, he always had great difficulty in having one regime pay for what the previous one had ordered. This was so for the geographical clock without hands, showing the time in all the departmental capitals, their time scheme not yet being attached to that of the Paris meridian. In spite of the favourable opinions of the rapporteurs of the Academy of Science, the opening of a credit of 2,800 livres was only obtained after repeated requests. Then, the project for a clock showing the time and the height of the tides, the price of which had been estimated at 30,000 Francs, and for which he requested a period of two years to build it, was rejected by the Temporary Commission of the Arts, of which he was a member. He was allotted only 6,000 francs compensation for the expenses already incurred. On 31 January 1800, he presented to the National Institute, a moving globe, and at the Exhibition in Year X (1802) a clock with a moving globe and a planisphere, built between 1789 and 1801, which won him the gold medal. He asked 50,000 francs for it. It is described in Ferdinand Berthoud's book Histoire de la Mesure du Temps (History of Measuring Time). [Paris 1802] On 10 Floréal Year X ( 30 April 1802), he opened in Paris a free school of clockmaking, which he ran for 30 years. At the 1806 Exhibition, he presented an equation clock which, "by the causes which produce it" should serve as a model for "equation clocks of an absolutely new kind" as well as a clock with a universal dial, intended to show the time in 52 different places. The Jury awarded him the gold medal, not only for his work, but for his action in favour of clockmaking: "..... By his influence and his unselfish advice, M. Janvier gives signal services daily to his young followers. No-one is more learned than he; in translating from the Latin the writings of the greatest masters, he provides for clockmakers ill versed in ancient languages, the means to study these works; he calculates the teeth of wheels for all those unfamiliar with mathematics; he is the helper and counsellor of all the young artists gifted with some talent, and, what is just as useful, he is their severest critic when they go astray. The Jury thinks that no-one has contributed more than M. Janvier to bringing French clockmaking to the state of prosperity which it has at present reached". In spite of his exceptional body of work, Janvier ended his life in poverty, helped only by a few friends, of whom Bernard Henri Wagner was one. He was permanently invited to Wagner's table.In the second edition of his Collection of Machines, composed and executed by Antide Janvier, which begins with the description of the first globe, presented to the Besançon Academy, we are informed of his moral and material situation in the first paragraph; in 1828 he writes: "I began with this essay, at the age of fifteen, a fruitless career, in which, during the painful course of sixty years' work, after having sacrificed twenty-five thousand francs for my own instruction and to the pleasure of spreading it without being paid, I have known only a little glory, abandonment, poverty, and oblivion. Janvier died at the Cochin Hospital on 28 September 1835, at 8 in the morning.