La- Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland
An exceptional chronometer grande-sonnerie carriage clock.
The glazed gilt-brass case, numbered 118, in the ‘Empire’ style having a dentil top moulding, fluted uprights, foliate cast door frames and a folding handle standing on bun feet. The white enamel dial with centre seconds and Roman numerals, with blued steel moon hands and below two subsidiary dials for alarm and date, set within a finely engraved gilt mask. The silence/sonnerie lever is situated under the base. The eight-day duration spring barrel movement, numbered 118, with grande-sonnerie night striking changing to petite-sonnerie day striking automatically, sounding the hours and quarters on two bells, with strike levers made from the finest Swiss steel mounted on the backplate. The SECONDS BEATING pivoted detent chronometer escapement having a fivearm steel balance with a gilt platform.
Case height 6 ½ inches (16cm).
See ‘Carriage Clocks their History and Development’ by Charles Allix, page 311 and ‘Carriage and other Travelling Clocks’ by Derek Roberts where on page 242 & 243 there is a similar example by Courvoisier.
An important difference present in this clock is the use of a central second hand, beating dead seconds; this may be unique, as all of the other Courvoisier clocks we are aware of with seconds display do so on a subsidiary second’s dial below X11. Although this clock is unsigned, the favourable comparison with the illustrated clocks supports our attribution.
Frederic Alexander Courvoisier, (1799 – 1854), was born at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, into a family of watch and clock makers. He received his horological education from Charles Frederic Klentschi and Henri Maillardet, both of whom had worked for the Courvoisier firm. He eventually took on the commercial aspects of the family business, travelling extensively in Europe and the East in support of existing markets, and to establish new outlets for their products. He was politically active, and is probably best known for his participation in the peaceful revolution of March 1, 1848, as leader of the troops marching on the castle at Neuchatel to overthrow the existing government.