Hubert Sarton (1748-1828) was Belgium's greatest clockmaker and is renowned for his fine multi-dial skeleton clocks. Born in Liège, he was apprenticed to his uncle, Dieudonne Sarton, in 1762 and by 1768 was working at Pierre Leroy's workshop in Paris. In 1772 Sarton was appointed Court Mechanic to Duke Charles Alexander, Prince of Lorraine. He was commissioned to make several clocks for the Duke, including a superb example with moving dial (sold Christie's London, The Albert Odmark Collection 11 March 2005, lot 375, £114,000).
A world time skeleton clock of very closely related design and signed Sarton was sold Christie's London, 12 July 1995, lot 336 (£78,500) and is also illustrated in Derek Roberts, Continental and American Skeleton Clocks, Schiffer, 1989, p.178.
A similar clock was with René Sarton, a direct descendant, in 1972 (see Edward G. Aghib, 'Hubert Sarton of Liege, A Master Belgian Clockmaker', Antiquarian Horology, December 1972, p.46, figs.4a & 4b). The present clock differs from both these examples in the organisation of the main dial. Interestingly, this example gives the Republican names of the months rather than their number of days and on the calendar ring it gives two sequences of dates. The Republican calendar (established in 1793) was officially repealed by Napoleon I in 1805. Another world time Sarton was recorded in the Haussner restaurant, Baltimore in 1972 (Aghib, p.47, fig.5).
Sarton also enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Archbishop Francois Charles Alexander de Velbrock, whose Court contacts no doubt helped him a good deal and who asked him to start a Science Society (the 'Societe d'Emulation'). By 1783 he had been appointed City Counsellor and Treasurer. The subsequent invasion of Belgium by the French Revolutionary armies in 1794 undoubtedly led to a down-turn in Sarton's business but this must have improved in the early 1800s as a number of clocks date from this period.