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c.1895 French Gilt and Silvered Bronze Carriage Clock with Complications.

Maker: A.H.Rodanet, Paris – retailer

Case: The silvered and gilt-bronze case has canted corners with reeded columns, a hinged handle and beveled glasses to 5 sides.

Dial: The dial has bone chapter rings with Arabic numbers for the hours, alarm and date, the days of the week in French, and steel-cut hands including the sweep second hand. The center of the hour chapter has an aperture for the moon-dial and is signed by the retailer, 'A.H. Rodanet, 36 Rue Vivienne, Paris'.

Movement: The time and strike eight-day grand-sonnerie movement is wound and set off the backplate, has all the indications in French, is stamped by the retailer, 'A.H. Rodanet, Paris', is numbered 29398 curved around the lower post and still retains the original damascened high quality platform with a lever escapement. The strike sequences and the moon dial are adjusted by levers out the bottom.

Notes: Rodanet made chronometers and also sold a range of high quality clocks and watches from leading Swiss manufacturers such as Patek. Auguste Hilaire Rodanet (1837-1907) was the son of Julien Hilaire Rodanet and the uncle of Henri Rodanet. Auguste was born on June 5, 1837 in Rochefort Sur Mer and was a watchmaker and retailer as well as Patek Philippe s representative in France. In 1858 he won a silver medal for a chronometer at the age of 21. In 1886/1887 Rodanet wrote the book "L'horlogerie astronomique et civile. Ses usages – ses progrès – son enseignement à Paris", which was published in 1903. In 1890 he founded the brand "Horlogerie Rodanet de Paris". Auguste Hilaire Rodanet was mayor of the 2nd Arrondissement in Paris from 1904 to 1907 and president of the "Ecole d'Horlogerie". Rodanet was also received into the Legion of Honour. He died 70 years old in 1907.

Size: 8 in. handle up.

more info on rodanet:

Auguste Hilaire RODANET - a pillar of watchmaking

Auguste Hilaire Rodanet was the son of Julien Hilaire Rodanet (photo) and the uncle of Henri Rodanet. Born June 5, 1837 in Rochefort, watchmaker and merchant, he lived in particular in Geneva and Paris in 1870, rue Vivienne. Rodanet was very close to Swiss houses all his life; he was, for France, agent of Patek Philippe and more incidentally, mayor of the 2nd arrondissement. The journal of the Swiss Watchmaking Federation presented him as president of the Chambre Syndicale and of the Paris Watchmaking School, vice-president of the 1900 Chronometric Congress, honorary president of the Fédération des Chambers of watchmaking in France, President of the Jury of the 1889-1900 awards, President of the Franco-Swiss Committee and Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Rodanet created the Paris School of Watchmaking to globalize the training of young watchmakers and get them out of specialties that were too narrow to guarantee them a future. He observed that young people who leave apprenticeships and schools have only one specialty, in particular pivoting or finishing, and do not know all the techniques necessary to manufacture a movement. The school had four workshops, three classrooms, an amphitheater for technical demonstrations, an important museum-library, a boarding school and the premises necessary for the various departments of the school's management and administration. Subject to success in the entrance examination, the duration of apprenticeship was four years. Each year, the graduating students took part in general competitions with a Jury made up of watchmakers and scholars. Supported by the greatest personalities of the time with a powerful patronage committee, the Paris School of Watchmaking enjoyed unequaled fame and prestige, forming a breeding ground for first-rate master watchmakers.

A skilful negotiator, Rodanet knew how to frequent ministerial cabinets to bring his battles to promote watchmaking to successful conclusions. Few watchmakers, alongside their profession, have had the ability to develop their passion and their activity by using the political environment to support their objectives. He was an ambitious merchant and talented watchmaker who did not hesitate to sit at the workbench and behind a drawing board, inventing a straight-line lever escapement and a lateral lever escapement without equidistant rests in 1887. In 1890, he registered the trademark "HORLOGERIE RODANET de PARIS " and died at the age of 70 in 1907. Undoubtedly his privileged link with Patek Philippe made it possible in recent years to identify this watchmaker by seeing his surname associated with the name of Patek Philippe.

It must be said that at the time when Rodanet distributed its watches manufactured by Patek Phillippe, the quality of watches simply signed Rodanet easily stood comparison with watches from the Patek factory. Rodanet, in fact, used high-end calibers at LeCoultre in particular and thus sold chronometers with their service report. The parts were expensive, more expensive at Rodanet than at other retailers for a quality always pushed to the maximum; Rodanet finished its movements with the greatest care. It is said that the man could not stand a piece being crooked or poorly highlighted. The simple fact of being sold at Rodanet was to classify it in the top of the range and as such allowed it to benefit from preferential treatment. Long before his competitors, he understood that the better the piece was treated at the time of its sale, the more the customer felt the importance that linked his watch purchase. Rodanet's clientele wanted to be high-flying and nothing was left to chance that could make them angry or uncomfortable. Buying from Rodanet offered the customer a ceremonial that he did not have elsewhere. We see passing through the sales of Rodanet pieces that often only talk about Patek Philippe.

Also passionate about astronomical watchmaking, Auguste Hilaire Rodanet published a book entitled "Astronomical and civil watchmaking, its uses, its progress, its teaching in Paris 1886-1887". A tradesman who decoded the principles of luxury ahead of time, a lover of fine watchmaking, an indisputable culture and an infinite horological knowledge, Auguste Hilaire Rodanet remains a watchmaking figure who, without having widely distributed his own pieces scale had an immense influence on the watchmaking world at the start of the 20th century.

These blancs-roulants consisted of the plates, pillars, spring barrels, wheels and pinions polished and planted to their proper depth. In the more complicated movements they also supplied the striking and repeating works behind the dial. Dials, hands, gongs or bells, and escapements were not included, and the Paris finisher usually had to procure and assemble these parts as well as casing the movement.

The Couaillet Family (1892-1930)
The Couaillet family – Couaillet Frères, Saint Nicholas d’Aliermont entered the carriage clock business late, certainly past the prime-time complicated movements were being made and sold by makers/finishers in Paris.
But cheaper carriage clocks were in great demand, probably because American mass production carriage clocks were available worldwide. Most of the American carriage clocks were little more than time only, and time- alarm. A few were time-strike. Most used pin pallet escapements which were cheaply made. An exception was carriage clocks made by companies associated with Joseph Eastman, which had high quality cases and escapements.
In the early 1890s, Couaillet Frères produced many thousands of blancs-roulants, which were time only, time- strike, or time-alarm to be finished by others. None of these “greys” were serial numbered. If you have one with a serial number, it was put there by its’ finisher. Also, nowhere will you find a trademark or the Couaillet name. But you can find the time set arrow which was used on most of the movements.
As the sales to Paris maker/finishers slowed down drastically about early 1900s, Couaillet Frères began marketing directly to retailers through their London agent, Ernest S. Pitcher, later Maurice Pitcher. These carriage clocks showed up in retailers’ shops with their name stenciled on the porcelain dial, and sometimes engraved on the back plate. But the distinctive arrow mark is still there. This circa dates these carriage clocks to late 1890s and after 1900. Also look for the “Made in France” required on exports to the USA after 1891.

Couaillet’s directional arrow is found on all blancs-roulants sold to other finishers, as well as on the completed carriage clocks they marketed. This is a die punch mark. The brass plate is placed on flat marble stone and the steel die is struck with a hammer, which imprints the arrow on the brass plate. Thus, Couaillet’s directional arrow is always the same on all movements they produced.

some info from the allix book:

m. pitou (rue debelleyme) was born in 1890 and in 1970 was still finishing blancs roulants he had acquired fifty years previous when he had acquired the remaining stock and materials of Jacot, where he had worked. according to pitou, Jacot obtained his best blancs roulants (grande sonniere, for instance) from Baveux in Saint-Nicholas, but also bought more ordinary roulants from Japy. The Baveux roughs were of a superior quality, and they were thus no doubt favoured by Jacot for his best clocks. pitou believed that Baveux never finished their own blancs roulants, and confirmed that Saint-Nicolas makers as a whole did not finish their carriage clocks.... with the notable exceptions of Couaillet, Duverdrey and Bloquel. There would seem to be no doubt that Jacot finished clocks for A.H. Rodanet, Paul Garnier, L. Leroy & Cie, etc. pitou was the last finisher of carriage clocks in paris. for the last thirty years of his business life he worked almost exclusively for the house of breguet.

- by 1867, annual production of blancs roulants had risen to 200,000, worth approx. 3.5m francs (!)

- by 1878 output had increased to around 400,000, with about 18,000 platform escapements made near Montbeliard, many of which woud have found their way to Paris and Saint-Nicolas

- "the four leading Paris producers of carriage clocks towards the end of the 19th century were Jacot, Drocourt, Margaine and L. Leroy & Cie. On the whole, Jacot tended to make superb and fairly complicated clocks of restrained elegance. Grocourt and Margaine favoured florid designs with much use of engraved cases and decorative panels. L. Leroy & Cie regularly used both plain and decorative cases, while mechanically their clocks show wide variation in both design and origin. The best clocks were always finished in Paris, some by m. pitou"

since mine is dated to 1895-ish, i doubt the five-year-old pitou worked on it. 8-)

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