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Maker, Armand Collin successor to Bernard-Henri Wagner, Paris, France, 1886 serial number 3. Movement 20"h x 8"w x 6"d. Case 21"w x 69.5"h x 15"d. Graham deadbeat escapement; one second wooden rod pendulum with remote, fine adjustment from center dial. Equipped with a 30 second cycle Henri Wagner type, gravity driven train remontoire. Escapement pivots, escape pallets and remontoire cam are all fully jeweled. Stop pins on the rear plate protect the pallets. Fine drop adjustment for the escapement is provided by a front pivot mounted on an excentic chaton. All upper train pivots contained in screwed chatons and all wheels screwed to their individual collets. Every part (excepting screws) stamped with the number 3. This company was awarded several patents in 1854, 1864 and 1866 and was the official public clock maker to the royal court. For an example of one of their tower clocks using the same remontoire and for more information on the purpose and function of remontoire see Wagner, Paris, in the tower clock section. And here for another exhibition style clock, by E. Dent also using this style of remontoire. Click here for an animation of this type of remontoire and here for a stop-action film and audio.

Click on the picture to see further details

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The movement operates as a master clock designed to drive slave clocks and perhaps other functions. There are two separate sets of electrical switching gear. The upper right hand switch contains a pair of four contacts each. These are are connected through a finely counter-balanced armature to the remontoire. When the remontoire cycles, one set is actuated, the next cycle actuates the second set and so on every 30 seconds. This was done to deliver an electrical impulse of direct current of opposite polarity with each cycle. Master clock systems typically used in Germany, Switzerland and France were polarized in that the slave clocks needed alternate positive and negative impulses to drive the slave clocks. Master clock systems using direct current that we are familiar with in the United States and England are not polarized and operate without changing polarity. The second switch is on the left hand side and is actuated by a cam that rotates once per hour. This switch is actuated at the top of the hour and stays closed for precisely three minutes. It's function is unknown; anyone who has an idea, please contact me.

Often the switch used to activate slave clocks is driven directly off the escapement. For example, Warren Telechron master clocks have a small cam mounted on the escape wheel arbor that activates the switch. This is certainly simple and convenient. However, horologically speaking, not very elegant. The escapement should be free as possible of all outside disturbances. One would think this to be especially so in a master clock! Using the remontoire to actuate the switch gear as is done in this clock, leaves the escapement free from all the negative consequences of driving the switch from the escapement.

It's obvious that this movement was made for show as well as functionality. The case it is in is not the original. Most likely this would have been in a fully glazed wall or floor standing case so as to show the beautiful pendulum. If anyone has access to information as to what the original case looked like, please let me know. The weight needed to drive the clock is 25 lb. Currently this compounded to 50 lb. in order to obtain an 8 day duration. The winding key was designed to be operated with both hands. This is not surprising considering the high train count. The remontoire fly fan makes eight turns every thirty seconds while the main wheel turns once per day. This is a ratio of 1 to 23,040. The movement is very complex for a single train. Total parts count for the movement without switch gear is 310, with pendulum and back board support 353, with switch gear 523. Each clock was individually made since all parts are individually marked with the same number "3". Pictures of the movement during cleaning.

Provenance: Ferri, Drouot-Richelieu, Paris; November 17, 2004, Lot #131.

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