Henri Motel, No. 119

the frosted silver dial of regulator format signed Hri Motel hger de la Marine Rlel No. 119 DEPOT DE LA MARINE, eccentric hours dial with Roman numerals (at XII), subsidiary seconds dial (at VI), outer minutes dial with peripheral Arabic five minute intermarkers, blued steel hands, heavy cast-brass main frame assembly numbered and signed on the top face N 119 HRI MOTEL HGER DE LA MARINE and carrying fusee, barrel and centre wheel, the fusee with finger stop-work, Harrison's maintaining power with steel maintaining power wheel, at the top of the fusee a bevelled gear wheel for front winding through the dial plate, two-tier sub-frame assembly with grey-finish steel pillars carrying third wheel, jewelled fourth and escape wheels, the escape wheel teeth drilled through at different heights, and two-arm cut bimetallic balance with a pin projecting through to the underside of one which forms part of a balance locking unit, the impulse roller with steel protection strip over the impulse jewel, blued steel helical balance spring with stud levelling screws, circular heat compensation weights, Motel pivoted spring detent, in brass bowl with front winding mechanism covered by brass escutcheon (at IV) and key-operated balance brake assembly (at VI), gimballed in two-tier plain mahogany box with slide cover to glazed port with brass diamond shaped insert inscribed N 119, the bowl and gimbal locked simultaneously by a bolt assembly mounted under the bottom of the bowl operated by a quarter turn of the locking arm, tipsy key with through-cut square for operating balance brake assembly
82mm. dial diam., 160mm. sq. box

Lot Essay

No. 119 is mentioned in Jean-Claude Sabrier's Longitude at Sea as being "sold on 22 September 1819 to Prince Volkonski, Major General of the Russian Army".

Motel No. 119 is recorded at Royal Greenwich Observatory - Ledger of Receipts and Issues of Chronometers (page 9632). The only entry states "Sold to A. Anderson. See Hydr. letter 11. Oct 1921".

Henri Motel (1786-1859) was one of the foremost French marine chronometer makers. Beginning in 1806 he served a six year apprenticeship with Louis Berthoud. This he completed shortly before Berthoud's death and this resulted in his widow engaging Motel to run Berthoud's workshop which he continued to do until 1817, at which time he is known to have worked for Breguet. In 1823 after the death of Breguet, the then holder of the title Horloger de la Marine, the title was disposed upon Motel. In 1848 his nephew Onesime Dumas, later also to become a chronometer maker, joined Motel. Henri Motel died in 1859 and during his lifetime made over two hundred superior grade marine chronometers. His No. 119 is one such example; one of its features is that it is still gimbal mounted in its box: a number of his chronometers were, during their service, remounted in smaller boxes without gimbal mountings. It is to be noted that No. 119 is not fitted with Motel's four-arm balance and conical balance spring, but has a two-arm balance with helical spring.

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