One of the most celebrated ébénistes of his time, François Linke was born in Pankraz, Bohemia. He moved to Paris in 1875 and six years later established independent ateliers at 170, rue de Faubourg St. Antoine. Linke initially produced furniture derived from styles popular during the 18th century ancien régime and by 1900, his worldwide reputation as a master of high quality furniture was well established. Winning the Médaille d'or at the 1900 Paris exhibition is arguably the pinnacle of Linke's career. His large display showcasing his extravagant pieces in room settings prompted the critic Charles Dambreuse to opine: "L'Exposition de la maison Linke est le gros événement de l'histoire du meuble d'art en l'an de grâce 1900" (see C. Dambreuse, 'L'Art Industriel à l'Exposition de Meuble de Style: M. F. Linke', Revue Artistique & Industrielle, Paris, July-August, 1900).
The financial benefits derived from the international acclaim achieved at the 1900 exhibition allowed Linke to establish a large showroom on the place Vendôme. Furthermore, he was able to pursue new and distant markets by exhibiting at other international exhibitions, including the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was again awarded a gold medal.
Linke's Régulateur Louis XV surmounté du motif le Temps was one of the sensational pieces created specifically for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle and was hailed by Dambreuse as possibly the chef-d'oeuvre on his Gold Medal-winning stand. Although considered to have reached its pinnacle with the completion of the régulateur, the collaboration between Linke and Léon Messagé appears to have actually begun with its conception some ten years earlier. A completed design for the clock appears in the volume published by Messagé in 1890 (see Payne, op. cit., p. 131, pl. 142). Meanwhile, an intriguing photograph taken at about the same time shows the original model undergoing work in Messagé's studio.
The Régulateur Louis XV proved to be very successful, and Payne notes a total of eight as having been made. In addition to the 1900 Paris exhibition, the model was also shown at the 1904 St. Louis exposition (see the photograph of Linke's stand), at the Liège exhibition the following year, and possibly again at the 1908 Anglo-French exhibition in London. Payne notes that Maxant, the clockmaker's name stamped on the present example, supplied or replaced movements for most of the clocks.
Comparison of the veining to the marble plinth of the presently offered Régulateur Louis XV and the marble plinth of the model exhibited in Linke's stand in St. Louis prove that they are the same. Unfortunately, it is uncertain when the Koplar Brown Régulateur Louis XV entered the family's collection. However, in a 1965 interview which notes the clock, Harold Koplar states that he began traveling to Europe in 1953 to seek out art and antiques to add to his collection and display in his hotels.
Another example of the Régulateur Louis XV was sold Etude Piasa, Paris, 26 March 1999, lot 73 (2,550,000 FF).