The main dial of this highly intricate clock shows mean time but solar ('true') time is indicated via the sunburst end of the minute hand, which points to a revolving inner ring. Mean and solar time differ by as much as sixteen minutes, depending on the time of year. The calendar dial below shows the relationship between the sun, moon and earth through the year. Astronomical clocks of this complexity are seen infrequently and this example was most likely made to order for a scientifically-minded client.
Honoré Pons (known as Pons-de-Paul) was born circa 1780 in Grenoble, subsequently moving to rue de la Huchette in Paris. Said to have been very conversant with movements by the famous firm of Lepaute, he may have worked with them. Certainly he must quickly have established a good reputation as in 1806 he was sent by the Minister of the Interior to revive the clockmaking industry of St Nicolas-d'Aliermont, near Dieppe. He formed the clockmakers into a guild (the 'Fabrique d'Horlogerie'), introduced machinery and production line methods and was generally very successful. He was made a member of the Légion d'Honneur for his services to horology. In 1847 when he retired he handed over to Boromé Delépine, who continued to use Pons' name on his work. See C. Allix, Carriage Clocks, Woodbridge, 1974, pp. 89-92.