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  1. #16
    Registered user. rstl99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: dshumans)

    Well done Juli now you have better certainty about the genuineness of your watch, and a recommendation for a knowledgeable person to re-assemble and-or repair it. Hope all goes well for you to restore this watch to a proper functioning condition. The serial number on yours (311) predates the one on the link I provided in #8 (933) which was dated by hallmarks at 1777. So I would think that yours would be considerably earlier than that, maybe a decade or even two. Thank you for sharing your discoveries with us.
    --Robert

  2. #17

    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: rstl99)

    Thanks to all! I am learning a lot on this journey!! It is clear that I am the novice. I've been a member of NAWCC for more than 30 years but it has always been for the purpose of researching family clocks and watches. The most important lesson I've learned is that I don't have (or ever will have) the knowledge or skills so abundant among the other members. Allowing me to ask questions and gain insight is beyond measure.
    I have an appointment with an expert on hallmarks and hope to have a better idea of "where and when". I'll post whatever I learn.
    Again, thank you.
    Juli

  3. #18
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: JuliW)

    While researching, just remember, if you found a child in this condition, you would call an ambulance. You really should handle it carefully until a skilled watch maker can examine it. At that point, the case and other external parts could be examined further without endangering the mechanism since they would be separated.

    What a wonderful thing to find.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
    If you don't learn to laugh at trouble,
    you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old.
    Will Rogers

  4. #19
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Hi Juli,

    I think you should take Tom's wise advice very seriously. Even opening and closing the case at this stage risks damaging the movement or misplacing critical parts.

    In the nature of French hallmarking, the amount of information you'll be able to glean is limited, especially as regards dating.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  5. #20
    Registered user. rstl99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: gmorse)

    Juli,
    In case you might not know this, when Berthoud came to Paris from Switzerland where he was born, he was most probably apprenticed or at least worked in the shop of Julien Le Roy. Le Roy was one of the most accomplished and influential French watch makers of all time, and is up there in the pantheon of great watch-makers of history anywhere. So Berthoud was very well trained by a master in the trade, and this no doubt was reflected in the quality of his own timepieces when he set up shop on his own.
    --Robert

  6. #21

    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: rstl99)

    I will take this opportunity to share what I've learned from the hallmarks. This is quite a journey of discovery and I, once again, thank all of you for sharing your knowledge with me.
    I have spoken with a man who is very knowledgeable about hallmarks. He further researched these hallmarks and I've gone further yet. There are four hallmarks on the belt clip of the chatelaine. The first Maison Commune or Date Mark puts in a date range of July 1758 - July, 1759.
    The second mark is the Paris Charge Mark and was used by Assay Master Eloy Brichard 1756- 1762.
    The third mark is the Maker's Mark: Jean Formey, whose mark was registered in Paris in the year 1754.
    The fourth mark is the Discharge Mark, again Eloy Brichard, guaranteed the fineness of the metals used.
    The serial number of the watch is 311 and one of the posters here indicated that date would put it, perhaps, in the 1750's. It appears to be so.
    So, I need to go back to the drawing board. According to my genealogy, documentation, and family lore I may be off as much as an entire generation.
    I have written to a museum in Switzerland re: Ferdinand Berthoud, as well as a clock/watch museum in France. I am trying to locate records of manufacture for F. Berthoud. I realize it's a long shot but have been very surprised to find other records even older, in France. Considering he was well known for his work with the chronometer, I am hoping the records have been preserved.
    Again, thank you to each of you for your advise and wisdom.

  7. #22
    Registered user. rstl99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: JuliW)

    Sounds like you've had some very insightful hallmark information that further clarifies possible year(s) of manufacture of your watch. I find it amusing that I wasn't too far off with my rough estimate based on the serial numbers.
    Maybe you will be lucky in your museum inquiries, to get some more information on production numbers etc.
    As you probably know there is a current company manufacturing watches with Berthoud's name on them, but the link between them and Ferdinand are probably extremely tenuous at best. A number of high-end watch manufacturers seem to acquire the rights to use the name of a known historical watchmaker.
    It's good that you're documenting all this for this important family heirloom.

  8. #23

    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: rstl99)

    Greetings, all. While absent from this thread I've been researching elsewhere. First, thank you Google Translate! This allowed me to type a request note in English and produce a version in French. I used that to write to le CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris. This is the museum in Paris of arts and crafts. I thought them the best bet for possibly having information on Ferdinand Berthoud since his workshop was in Paris. I received a reply within a few days with lots of information. A woman in their documents dept sent many links and a note saying that it appears that the shop records start in 1779, not before watch #500, maybe. I estimate 80% of the information pertains to Berthoud's work on the marine chronometer, including very detailed information. So, it appears I will need to date the watch from hallmarks.
    I have also written to MIH - in Switzerland but have not heard from them. Perhaps I'll write again and hope for an answer.
    To gmorse - yes, I'd read about Berthoud working with Julien Le Roy. And, I thank you for reminding me to further research this possibility. Perhaps there are earlier shop records to find.
    I have been in touch with Doug Shuman through a recommendation from this group. He is very knowledgeable and obviously a very skilled craftsman, so I appreciate his comments.
    I will continue my research for the next month or so and will be posting anything I learn.
    Thank you to each of you for your time, knowledge, and expertise!

  9. #24

    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: JuliW)

    I see my last post was dated 6/20/17. I am sending this update so no one thinks I've dropped the ball. My husband and I were boarding a ship in Seattle for Alaska when he fell backward, airborne, down an UP escalator. He landed head first, falling about 12 feet. LOTS of injuries, no cruise, a long time before we could drive home 800 miles. Not the trip we planned.
    I have never heard from MIH in Switzerland, so will try again. I'll write to CNAM about the possibility of F. Berthoud's work records being mixed in with those of Julien Le Roy. And, I'm trying to locate any sort of records that might show who commissioned the watch. Seems so convoluted but it IS the story of the watch.
    Again, thank you all for sharing your knowledge and patience with me.

  10. #25
    Registered user. rstl99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, 1727-1807 (By: JuliW)

    Hi Julie,
    I applaud your diligence and perseverance to find out as much as you can about your family heirloom Berthoud watch. There will no doubt be some experts in Europe who will be able to find out more about it. You may want to try to get a hold of Adolphe Chapiro, who wrote the wonderful book I referred to earlier "La montre française du XVieme siècle jusqu'à 1900". He would know a lot about Berthoud etc.
    Sorry to hear about your husband's unfortunate accident, hopefully he will recover without serious ill effects. Alaska will still be there when you are ready to make the trip again.
    All the best.
    --Robert

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