This Louis-Philippe-period month-going longcase regulator clock is an exceptional example of French clockmaking, and its complicated mechanism marks several different aspects of passing time. Crafted by Deshays à Paris, the timepiece displays sleek silvered steel dials that indicate the time, date, month, equation of time and weight descent. The outer chapter ring indicates the time in Roman numerals with three blued steel hands, including two Breguet hands and a seconds hand, and under the main dial sits an engraved silvered wheel that displays the date and month.
This clock features three highly rare complications: a month-going movement, equation of time and weight descent. Within the chapter ring lie two semi-circles. The upper circle is engraved with the French phrases Soleil avance
and Soleil retarde
meaning “Sun in advance” and “Sun behind,” simulating solar time as it would be shown by a sundial. The lower circle is marked “Descente du Poids” or “weight descent” and is engraved with indications of the weeks, showing the changing position of the driving weight. This serves as a countdown to when the weight will need to be raised again to keep the clock running accurately.
The case, neoclassical in style and crafted of striking “bird’s eye” mahogany, is a work of superb artistry. The structure features a dentil frieze, an elegantly sloped cornice and a tall, molded quadrangular base, and the case’s understated, balanced composition highlight the beauty and complexity of the clock’s dial and pendulum. The pendulum itself boasts another interesting trait — a pyrometer device that bears information on the temperature of dilation of metal.
Once primarily found in prominent public and government buildings, regulator clocks have been the most accurate of the weight-driven clocks since their inception. This regulator would have been the master clock by which all other clocks and watches within a building would have been set. Because of the expense to create them and their function keeping time accurate enough to calibrate other clocks by, relatively few regulator clocks were ever made, as evidenced by the small number of antique specimens that exist today.
25 5/8" wide x 14 1/2" deep x 91 1/2" highClick here to view a video of this item.