A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839

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Lot 99
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendar
signed Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839

US$ 30,000 - 35,000
£ 23,000 - 27,000

The Art of Time

16 Oct 2019, 13:00 EDT

New York

A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendar
signed Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
The chronometer mechanism is contained within the three patinated "tanks". The tallest conceals the weight. It is raised by a pulley in the middle tank that also contains the great wheel. The winder is a spoked wheel on the top of the tank. The great wheel is linked by a pinion in the right hand tank to the wheel train of the chronometer.

The chronometer movement has partly cut away round plates joined by four pillars. The escapement is mounted in a subplate and three separate cocks it has a spring detent, conical hairspring and regulator, four arm bimetallic balance with adjustable weights. The silvered dial has an outer 60-seconds ring enclosing a subsidiary roman chapter ring and blued hands

To the right of the tall tank is a smaller weight that rises to give the state of wind on a silvered scale as the main weight falls. Above the tanks is a calendar mechanism linked by a cord to the smaller weight and displaying the date on a silvered ring.

In front of the tanks is a spring driven series of automated levers that mimic the action of a pump and is wound by a separate spoked wheel

21 in (53.5cm) high

Footnotes

  • There is only scattered information about the creator of this remarkable clock, Pierre Calmel (1783 - 1849). He held the position of contremaître serrurier (foreman locksmith) at the Arsenal de Rochefort, the French naval base and dockyard. He was clearly a talented machinist and self taught clockmaker as the present example demonstrates.

    In 1825 he constructed an elaborate astronomical clock under the direction of Jean Claude Nicolas Le Huen (1790-1860), a naval officer, marine engineer and hydrographer at the naval base. The clock survives today in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire of Rochefort. Designed as a large mechanical orrery, the clock shows: mean time, the day, week, date, month and season in addition to the daily rotation of the earth and its annual revolution around the sun, the movement of the moon around the earth and its phase. Also, the yearly progression of the Sun through the 12 signs of the Zodiac and the Sun's position relative to the main planets.

    In 1844, Calmel exhibited several of his creations comprising "a so-called pneumatic clock, an astronomical clock, and a striking ship's clock" at an Exposition of Art and Industry in Bordeaux. Sadly, the jury found them overly complex and too expensive to merit an award. That said, the present automaton clock is certainly a monument to the creativity of this all but forgotten inventor.

Contacts
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
A unique French gilt and patinated bronze industrial automaton clock with weight driven Chronometer and calendarsigned Montre Marine No. 4 Fait par Calmel a Rochefort, 1839
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