The alleys of Paul Bert Serpette, Stéphane Girardot already knows them, and even perfectly because a large part of his career was here. Back to basics for this expert who invites you to go back in time to discover the poetic-mechanical world of ancient watchmaking.
What is your background ?
I have been a dealer specializing in watches for thirty years now. I studied old watchmaking in Switzerland for 6 years, then I worked at the Antiquorum gallery, an auction house in Geneva. I organized the sales there and I was in charge of the restoration of certain objects. After leaving to do my military service, I came to settle in Serpette where I stayed until 2011. Today I am making my comeback in this market!
Tell us about your specialty
I am an expert specializing in old timepieces. I became one in 2002, after having passed the examination of the National Chamber of Experts. It is an exciting and very complete specialty which touches on the decorative arts of all periods, knowing that mechanical watchmaking appeared around the 14th century. The technical aspect is also very interesting, some clocks are very precise instruments, sometimes with astronomical complications.
We find in watchmaking a multitude of materials, bronze, wood, horn, enamel for the dials, terracotta… It is a very complete specialty.
What is your current crush?
I am currently presenting a magnificent clock from the Louis XVI period, commonly known as Love and Friendship , taken from a composition à la Clodion. It is made of Carrara marble and gilded and chased bronze, as are the very beautiful clocks under Louis XVI.
This one has a technical and aesthetic particularity, you can see the phases of the moon on the dial. A date stamp from 1 to 29, in relation to the number of days of a complete lunar revolution, gives a very interesting decorative aspect. This is an additional technical complication that causes the moon phase wheel to complete a full revolution in 29 days. The disk of the moon is painted on both sides, that is to say from 1 to 12 and from 12 to 1, so as to have the complete revolution of the moon.
This clock is signed by Krelze in Paris, who was a very good watchmaker under Louis XVI and referenced in Tardy's dictionary of watchmakers. It has the particularity of being adorned with fleur-de-lys, and has a date (watchmaking complication displaying the date) from 1 to 31. The republican date from 1 to 30 being established only at the time of the Revolution, one can therefore date this clock between 1780 and 1785.
This clock has retained its period gilding, it is in very good condition. Its delicate theme of Love and Friendship and its phase of the moon make it a piece of great quality.