Maker Julien Gourdin, Mayat,
France, c. 1840's. 6.5"w x 11"h x 4"d net of base and dome.
A miniature based on the Gourdin company's full sized tower
clock designs. Three train with count wheel 'bim-bam' quarter strike and hour on
separate bell. Graham deadbeat escapement with depth adjustment. Equipped with a Wagner
style swinging frame remontoire with 10 second period. One-half second gridiron pendulum
with Elicott compensation system. Five wheels in strike trains, six in going train.
One month duration.
Click on the picture to go to a page for
more detail. Click here
for shots of this movement's restoration.
One can see the strong resemblance to Gourdin's tower clocks, especially the scan from
the company's catalog page from 1826. The train layout,
strike levers as well as style and positioning of the count wheels are the same. The
design, construction and style of the remontoire is identical in every detail to that
described in It's About Time, Paul M. Chamberlain, page 172 as a Gourdin. The
drawing from that citation is below. Gourdin was also the only firm, to my knowledge, that
used the unique frame nuts, seen here, that required a special tool for removal. The
outstanding feature of this clock is the detail paid to the milling of the movement's
super structure. The pillow block bearings are stepped and coved. Pillars are tapered with
detail paid to the capitols and bases. The flat bed frame is deeply milled with many
articulations along it's surface. Frame parts are made from pink bronze with contrasting
yellow brass for the wheel works. The way the bells are nested and hammer arrangement is
very much like those found on smaller full sized tower clocks.
Hands are certainly not original and I have yet to see where any dial might have been
attached to the movement. However, there is a bit of extra screw thread on the top brace
as well as the upper corners of the frame. It's possible a dial was connected with finish
nuts to these three points. The location of the motion works look to be original and
unaltered. Strange, in that one would expect the dial to be positioned upon the top brace
as in their tower clocks. This was never the case here as there would be evidence of a
hole through the brace for the lead off arbor to drive the dial for it to have been
located in such a manner. Compare this with another miniature tower clock by Wagner. That being a full-weight-driven design.
Flat bed style domestic clocks that
roughly resembled the design of a tower clock were quite popular in France in the later
1800's and are known as Portico clocks. However, true miniatures that replicate an actual
tower clock in every detail and function, especially when made by an actual tower clock
company, are very rare. Provenance:
Christie's, London, July 4, 2007 lot# 130.