Rare Twin Barrel Early French Lever


Signed   Blondeau a Paris
Circa   1825
Diameter   51 mm         

Out of stock


A rare early 19th Century French calendar lever with two going barrels in a slim gold and silver open face case.  Keywind gilt bar movement, two suspended going barrels wound independently by a male key.  The barrels both drive the centre pinion, the teeth on one barrel situated above the teeth on the other allowing them to intersect without interference.  Plain cock with blue steel regulator, the sector visible through the cuvette.  Compensation balance with blue steel spiral hairspring.  Unusual form of club foot lever escapement, double roller with triangular jewel impulse pin.  Signed engine turned silver dial, offset chapter of Roman numerals, aperture for the date calendar above, steel lever under the front bezel to set the date.  Gold Breguet hands set with the male key.  Slim engine turned 18 carat open face case with applied engine turned silver band to the middle.  Plain hinged gold cuvette with apertures to wind the twin barrels and sector to reveal the index.  Blue steel dog screw which can be turned to lock the cuvette in place, maker’s mark “AB” in a diamond.

A rare an attractive early French lever watch in excellent overall condition.  Similar in many respects to watches by Breguet.  The watch is regulated through a sector in the gold cuvette which, although it is clipped and hinged, can additionally be secured by a screw to reduce the risk of tampering.  The use of two going barrels was introduced by Breguet in "Garde-Temps" watches and marine chronometers.  Their purpose is not to provide more power to the train but smoother transmission with reduced friction.  Each barrel can have a thinner spring using only the middle portion of its range.  The teeth on the barrels are arranged so as to engage with the pinion alternately, as one barrel is exiting it the other is entering.  The use of a male key to wind and set the watch allows it to be thinner.  Antoine Blondeau, 19 Rue de la Paix - Paris, was appointed Horloger du Roi.  Regarded as a fine maker of complex watches he also took out a number of patents.  In the 1820's he exhibited his individualistic clocks and watches in Paris.