Original two-tier mahogany box with sliding lid and very well designed gimbal locking system, the removable brass inner drum with its angled gearing for front winding, the bezel complete with the shutter over the winding and the surviving part of its arrêt/marche (stop/start) mechanism, the drum also retaining the original secret locking system that holds the movement securely. Motel’s fully developed double frame movement with steel pillars holding the escapement and a further bridge holding the adjustable top stud for the conical balance-spring. Pivoted-detent escapement, after Louis Berthoud, the brass escape teeth drilled for oil retention, with Motel’s four-arm bimetallic balance. Silvered dial, original blued-steel hands. Box 16 x 16 x 13.5 cm
Jean-Francois Henri Motel, the best pupil of Louis Berthoud and inheritor of his business as official supplier of chronometers to the French Navy. For more information about him see the book by Jean-Claude Sabrier La Longitude en Mer à l’heure de Louis Berthoud et Henri Motel. NB: Many French Navy box chronometers supplied by Motel had their internal arrêt/marche (stop/start) mechanism removed, as here, and were also converted to Deck Watch type boxes. Luckily the truly superb Motel designed box on this instrument has survived, being one of the few that has escaped the later change.
NB: This chronometer has undergone the not uncommon change of name (for working instruments) at one time and a previous owner has reinstated the name of its actual maker Henry Motel, and done it very well too. This is reflected in the lower asking price but, name change apart, this is still a truly wonderful example of Motels’ work, a maker considered to have produced the finest of all French chronometers. Rupert Gould even describing Motel’s work “as a combination of ingenious mechanism and magnificent workmanship it rivals even Mudge’s work”
Later, non-tipsy key and noting the changes already described, this chronometer has just been properly serviced and is ready for use and/or display – it was photographed prior to cleaning.