Signed on the dial, dial plate and pack plate.
DIAM. 80 mm. DIM. 13.5 x 11.5 x 7.5 cm.
CAPITAIN NICOLAS BAUDIN (1754-1803) was a
famous French explorer, naturalist cartographer and
hydrographer. After a long career exploring the world,
he embarqued on his most famous voyage to map the
coast of Australia on one of his two ships, the Geographe
accompanied by his faitfhul Berthoud chronometer. He
arrived in Australia in 1801 and mapped the Western and
Southern coast as well as discovering more than 2500
new species. It was also a chance to meet the Aboriginal
people that were unknown to most back then. After
completing his voyage, he headed to Tasmania and
eventually stopped in Mauritius where he died of tuberculosis.
His legacy remains having 3 animals named after
him and 8 monuments in his name in Australia.
This rare early Marine Chronometer is recorded in his
archives starting from 1798 (for further details see La Longitude
en Mer by Sabrier, p. 515) before being delivered
for the Australian expedition by Capitain Baudin.
The son of Pierre Berthoud, counsellor and master-
clockmaker at Couvet, Pierre-Louis Berthoud
(known as Louis Berthoud) was born in November
1754 in Placemont, Canton of Neuchâtel. At twelve,
he began his apprenticeship in his father's workshop.
He was hardly fifteen when his exceptional
skill was noticed by his uncle, the famous Ferdinand
Berthoud, who invited him to Paris to be initiated
into precision clockmaking.
Ten years later Ferdinand Berthoud retired to his
property in Groslay, leaving his Paris workshop in the
hands of Louis' brother Henry. On several occasions
Ferdinand Berthoud had requested that his nephew
be officially attached to his establishment, but the
response was always negative. Disappointed,
Louis Berthoud returned to Couvet. However, Henry
committed suicide on June 29, 1783, and Ferdinand
asked his nephew Louis to return to Paris to take
over the business.
Louis Berthoud seems to have arrived in Paris in the
spring of 1784. On June 5, 1784, he became Elève
Horloger Méchanicien de la Marine'. That same year
Louis Berthoud married Thérèse Bezout, the niece
and adopted daughter of Etienne Bezout, mathematician
and member of the Académie des Sciences.
It was not without some bitterness that Louis
Berthoud worked in his uncle's shadow. In 1812, he
wrote: "... I lived several years overwhelmed by the
bitterest distaste. It is with a sentiment of the most
profound recognition that I offer here to M. Monge,
then Minister of the Marine, the respect and thanks
that I owe to the goodness of his heart and to his
fine spirit. I owe them also to M. Thevenard... for
having helped me to emerge from the oblivion into
which it seemed I should be for ever plunged."
Berthoud produced a series of lever watches after
examining one such watch produced in England by
Josiah Emery, and also a watch made in France on
the same principles. However, he soon abandoned
the lever escapement in favor of the detent. He
chose a pivoted detent escape-ment for a pocket
longitude watch delivered to Chastenet de Puységur
Finally in 1792, following a proposal by the Bureau
de Consultation, the Minister of the Interior awarded
Berthoud the maximum prize of 6000 livres with
distinction in the first class of national premiums for
this watch. The mechanism of the watch, which is of
an entirely new conception, is described by Louis
Berthoud in a sealed document deposited in the
Académie des Sciences 9 May 1792. It was the sum
awarded by the Minister that allowed Berthoud to
gain his professional independence.
In 1804 the Ecole d'Horlogerie de la Marine was
founded. Seven pupils of the Ecole Impériale des
Arts et Métiers at Chalons were chosen to be
instructed at government expense. Following the
Imperial Decree of 10 March 1806, Louis Berthoud
was charged with the training of four of these pupils,
Motel, Henriot, Saulnier and Laurent. In 1812 Louis
Berthoud published his "Entretiens sur l'horlogerie
à l'usage de la Marine". In this short book, published
a year before his death, Berthoud lavished on his
pupils, in twelve "conversations", his last recommendations
and advice, for exercising with success the
difficult métier that they had chosen.
Louis Berthoud had two sons: Jean Louis Simon
Henri, usually called Louis like his father, (1793-1880),
who on 17 April 17, 1819 married Thérèse Joly,
the daughter of a watch-case maker; and Charles
Auguste, (1798-1876), who married the second
daughter of the same watch-case maker, Henriette
Pauline Joly, on January 26, 1822. Louis Berthoud
died at Chaillot 18 September 1813 at the age of 59.